Gadgetry is important. It can be as much a luxury as much as it can a literal lifesaver. Devices that recharge such gadgetry thus ranges from convenient to vital. Today’s guest writer Kevin Martin has been using the hell out of a Powergorilla from Powertraveller. Here’s his input on it. Mad Duo
The Powergorilla – initial overview
We all need our phones, tablets, and other electronic gizmos. Well, need may a bit strong but darned if it is not tough to go without them. I am just as bad, if not worse, than the next person. Whether writing this article on a tablet, checking traffic and weather on my phone or keeping MP3 players going, I have portable power needs that go along with my gadgets. To this I am always looking for new ways to keep my little power-dependent devices fed.
The Powergorilla (seen below buried in the snow) not only has the coolest name out there but also the most capacity that I have come across within a reasonable size. It is slightly larger than my 7″ tablet but at the claimed 20,000 mAh has 5 times the battery capacity. It is certainly not pocket size, but those little ones might fill up a phone once. For an extended power outage or long trip in the woods, pocket friendly sizing will not get you very far.
A metal shell contains the Powergorilla and is held together with screws. Rubber bumpers provide protection and a secure place to grab. The test model is cool-guy mud color with a red display, I suppose that makes it tactical. Though the Powergorilla is not waterproof, evidenced by no plugs for the ports, it does seem tougher than the standard plastic battery packs that I have used in the past.
The Powergorilla comes with more attachments than I could figure out what to do with. Apparently it is possible to charge about any small device (tablet, laptop, netbook, laptop, GPS, etc.) with the supplied plugs. The big exception to this is Apple products. I-users will have to carry their cords and use the USB socket. There are even ways to change the output voltage to match the demands of the device. That is just plain neat and should be a handy feature for large expedition use with varying power needs. A full list of all this is available from the manufacturer, I won’t bother you here with it.
I received the Powergorilla a few days before a snowboarding trip. What better place to test a portable battery than on the side of a mountain? Well, I did have plugs in the cabin, but that is not the point. I gave it a full charge before heading to the hills. While on the mountain my nearly scientific-like testing included burying the Powergorilla in snow for 24 hours followed by charging stuff with it. Guess what. It still worked. Cold is rough on batteries so I was happy to see it kept its juice.
However, further testing and use showed that maybe I did more damage than I thought. After I returned home I gave it another full charge and began using it to do my normal daily charging. Some quick math in my head made me wonder about its actual capacity. So, I set out to track how much power I was getting out of it. The following is an example of one cycle.
The charged device is a Nexus 7, gen 2, with a battery size of 3950 mAh.
Charge 1 – 15% to full = 3357.5
Charge 2 – 27% = 2883.5
Charge 3 – 35% = 2567.5
Charge 4 – 20% to 52% = 1264
Total charged = 10072.5 mAh
If an assumed nightly drain of about 10% (I never turn off WiFi or Bluetooth) over the 4 charges would add 1580 mAh, the total is 11,652.5 mAh, still well below the 20,000 mAh stated capacity.
I have no other way to test the battery other than to use it and I have no clue what is going on to reduce the numbers so much. Maybe I did more damage with the snow burial than I thought. It could be that cables are actually that inefficient. Maybe the overnight use or the display readout takes that much extra power. The first few times I ran through the Powergorilla’s capacity was with various devices of various power needs and not really trackable. It did seem I could charge a lot of stuff with it.
Overall, I really like the Powergorilla, or should I say I really want to like it. I should be able to get 5 full charges of my tablet with it. The construction is good and the potential abilities of it are absolutely the best that I have seen. It’s rugged and solidly constructed and worth the purchase price – just be aware of the limitations I experienced.
More to follow after add’l extended use.
About the Author: Master Outdoorsy-Guy Kevin Martin is not a typical “smelly tree-hugger” but he is definitely the closest thing we have to a granola-loving bark-chewer on staff (that’s including the yoga-loving cat lady warrior princess). After working in the outdoor industry for seven years beginning in the late nineties, from summer camps to university programs, he found a new passion in rescue operations. He served on a county rescue squad in the southern Appalachians as well as a state urban search and rescue task force. He is a certified rescue technician in: swiftwater, high-angle, wilderness search, structural collapse, and vehicle extrication, to name a few. He was deployed to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina over a 14 month period. He has taught various courses for several colleges and universities. Currently, MOG Martin works for a private university in Public Safety while also running the school’s outdoor program.