- Editor Rating
- Rated 1.5 stars
- RAVPower Element 5600mAh External Battery Pack
- Reviewed by:
- Published on:
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- Cosmetic AppealEditor: 60%
- Design & Build QualityEditor: 40%
- FeaturesEditor: 50%
- FunctionEditor: 10%
- Value For The PriceEditor: 10%
The RAVPower Element 5600mAh Battery Pack offers 2-3 charges for most smartphones.
Mobile power packs are the latest trend in the smartphone and tablet industry and these accessories offer great convenience in situations like traveling or camping where you often find yourself away from a dedicated power source. RAVPower has produced a portable 5600mAh battery pack that’s affordably priced under $30 and easily fits within a pocket or purse. They sent us a review sample for testing so this review will be based solely on our hands on experience with the product and no outside influences had any effect on the outcome. I took this battery pack with me during my recent trip to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show and I was able to get some excellent experience using this product in a real-world situation.
Inside the Element 5600 packaging, you’ll find the battery pack, some brief instructions, a Micro-USB charging cable, and a flannel bag for storage. The device features a rather unique design as most competing battery packs with this level of capacity are much larger in size. This one of my favorite components about this product as you can easily slip it in your pocket while on-the-go without becoming bothersome and taking up too much room
The outside build materials consist of a hard glossy black plastic with a chrome plastic along middle edges of the battery pack. These materials are relatively strong and durable although the USB output is cheaply made as our demo unit’s was seated slightly crooked and would wiggle around when a cable is placed within it.
Next to the USB port is a small flashlight that’s enabled by rapidly clicking the main power button twice. It makes sense for RAVPower to include this functionality as it would be ideal for camping or during power outages. There is a Micro-USB port located on the side of the device whose function is to charge the battery pack. Since this model comes packed with a Micro-USB, you can use the same cable to charge the battery pack as you would to charge many modern Android smartphones like the Nexus 5. This is convenient for many, but iOS users would have to have their own lightning or 30-pin cable ready as neither are included.
The four LED indicators on the top of the casing give you a quick look at how much of a charge is left and can be checked at anytime by pressing the power button a single time. There is a built-in power-saving feature which will automatically power off the device after 20 seconds of idle use (aka no charging action). Thankfully this function works well as there is really no real “on/off” switch or way of turning the device off since the power button is solely used to turn on the battery or enable/disable the flashlight.
My experience using this device was disappointing for several reasons. When it did work with my Nexus 5, the charging capabilities were slower than expected and while it says it outputs at 1A, I find this hard to believe. While it did offer plenty of extra juice to my Nexus 5 during CES 2014, the performance didn’t last long.
The first issue I noticed was that the Element 5600 would not charge my iPhone 5 or iPad Air. After testing it with several different lighting cables as well as multiple iOS devices, I discovered that iOS 7 was not compatible. This means the battery pack will not work with any modern iOS devices thus being useless to a huge segment of consumers.
After a few days of consistent use, the Element 5600’s performance with my Nexus 5 started to decline rapidly. There were times that I’d pull it fresh off the charger just to have it act “dead” and not turn on regardless if I pressed the power button. After leaving it alone for a short period, I was able to get the battery pack to turn on (indicated by four lit LEDs), but it wouldn’t output any power to my Nexus 5. This type of scenario has happened multiple times since I have returned from CES and it is clear that consistent performance is not one of its strong points.
In the end, I found the RAVPower Element 5600mAh external battery pack to be a solid concept that suffers greatly from poor execution. The battery pack is small and sleek however the performance is severely lacking in all areas especially in regards to consistency. After my experience using this product for a few weeks, I would not recommend it to any prospective consumers. Instead, I’d recommend taking a look at these competitors as you’ll receive a great deal more value on the dollar: iTorch 5200mAh Battery Charger, ZAGGsparq 3100, Anker Astro 3E.