Hands-On With Elgato Smart Power and Mophie Powerstation Plus External Batteries

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    While there are an endless variety of external batteries on the market capable of charging iOS devices while on the go, two recent entrants at the higher end of the market are giving consumers more options as they consider holiday gifts.

    Elgato Smart Power (left) and Mophie Powerstation Plus 2X (right)
    The first is Elgato's Smart Power, a 6,000 mAh external battery priced at $99.95. Housed in a compact plastic enclosure that is slightly smaller than and roughly as thick as an Apple TV, Smart Power's key feature is app integration on iOS that allows users to wirelessly monitor charge level of the battery and initiate pinging sounds by the Smart Power unit to help locate it in the house.

    Notifications are also an important part of the app integration, with users able to receive push notifications when the battery has been recharged or is running low. Users can also set a specific time for automatic daily power level checks and receive reminder notifications if the charge level is below a user-defined threshold. Finally, users can grant the app access to their Calendar apps, allowing Smart Power to automatically remind users to take the device with them on busy days.

    Elgato Smart Power app
    Offering adaptive charging at up to 2.4 amps and 12 watts, Smart Power can quickly deliver charge to high-capacity devices such as iPads. The device includes an integrated USB connector on a short cable for recharging, but requires a separate cable connecting to a USB port to connect to the device, so users will need to make sure they have one with them when traveling with Smart Power. For those who prefer to quickly check battery level without opening the iOS app, Smart Power also includes battery level lights on the unit itself.

    Elgato Smart Power charging an iPhone 6 Plus
    Smart Power worked well in our testing, recharging itself and charging devices at a reasonable rate while the notifications and app integration proved very handy for monitoring battery status. The size and shape of the Smart Power made it easy to slip into a bag for traveling, but carrying it in a pocket is a bit more touch-and-go. While the battery is roughly the same width as an iPhone 6 Plus in a thin case (and substantially shorter obviously), the thickness of the device makes it somewhat uncomfortable unless relatively loose-fitting pants are worn. And with a separate Lightning cable also needed, the Smart Power is undoubtedly best suited for carrying in a bag.

    A second recent addition to the high-end external battery market is Mophie's Powerstation Plus, which was introduced a few weeks ago in a range of capacities. While Powerstation Plus lacks the handy app integration of the Elgato Smart Power, the multiple capacities and high-quality aluminum covers with hideaway cable management may be appealing to some users, although some may be hesitant to put the aluminum edges in close proximity to their devices.

    The smallest Powerstation Plus, known as 2X, is roughly the size of a deck of playing cards and offers 3,000 mAh of charge for $79.95. A thicker 5,000 mAh 3X model is also available for $99.95, and coming soon are even higher capacity models including a 7,000 mAh 4X model for $119.95 and a 12,000 mAh 8X model for $149.95. While substantially larger in size than their smaller siblings, the 4X and 8X models include an additional USB port for charging multiple devices simultaneously.

    Mophie Powerstation Plus 2X opened to show integrated cables
    One significant advantage for the Powerstation Plus over Elgato's Smart Power is an integrated device cable, a short Lightning cable that makes it easy to charge devices on the go without worrying about having a separate cable or getting a longer one tangled. Micro-USB versions will also be available for non-Apple devices, but those do not begin shipping until December 17 and only then with the 2X and 3X variants.

    As with the Elgato Smart Power, Mophie's Powerstation Plus offers 2.4-amp adaptive charging and button-activated lighted charge level indicators. And with pass-through priority charging, users can connect the Powerstation Plus and an iOS device in series to a USB port or charging adapter, with the Powerstation Plus allowing the iOS device to fully charge first before charging its own power pack.

    Mophie Powerstation Plus 2X charging an iPhone 6 Plus
    In our hands-on time with the 2X Powerstation Plus, we found it quite convenient to charge an iPhone while holding both devices in one hand for those times when an extra charge is needed while using the phone on the go. The compact design with hideaway cables is very nice for sticking in a pocket or bag, although at only half the capacity of Elgato's Smart Power, it is unsurprising the Powerstation Plus 2X is less bulky. We do have concerns about the metal covers potentially scratching other items, so it seems best to carry it alone in a pocket or a separate bag compartment unless kept with other non-scratchable items.

    The Elgato Smart Power and Mophie Powerstation Plus do not come cheap, but with some good features and well-known brands behind them, they will undoubtedly be popular options with consumers.

    Article Link: Hands-On With Elgato Smart Power and Mophie Powerstation Plus External Batteries
  2. rmatthewware macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2009
    Or you can get the Poweradd Pilot X5 with 16,000 mAh, two ports than can deliver 2.1A, enough to charge an iPhone and iPad at the same time, for $32.

  3. Shadow Runner macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2010
    These are stupidly overpriced for their mah ratings, don't care what kind of gimmick feature is included.
  4. Dephibio macrumors regular

    Oct 3, 2013
    And I've just bought Xiaomi Power Bank with 5000 mAh for $18. Nice design, good performance and ridiculous price! :D
  5. jcbauerca macrumors member


    Jun 4, 2008
    Just bought an Anker Astro Pro Series with 20,000 mah. It can charge 4 devices at once and weighs 1.2 lbs. Charged my iphone 6 plus from 0% to 100% 6 times with a little charge left over.
  6. Truefan31 macrumors 68040


    Aug 25, 2012
  7. dannyyankou macrumors G3


    Mar 2, 2012
    Scarsdale, NY
  8. mikethebigo macrumors 68000

    May 25, 2009
    Anker 2nd gen astro 3 has served me really well. Twice the capacity of that first battery in the article and 30 bucks instead of 100!
  9. BC2009 macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2009
  10. Koodauw macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2003
    I think these reviews from MR are pointless, but I do love that all the members come in and say 'here is a much better product or deal.' Thanks for the posts everyone!
  11. BillyBobBongo macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2007
    On The Interweb Thingy!
    Indeed, the article itself was of zero use to me. As it happens I was looking for a cheap charger as a 'Stocking Stuffer' so thanks to all those that have commented...I've been checking out the Anker website. :)
  12. imspace2 macrumors member

    Dec 6, 2001
    Yeah not really feeling these products, the app integration and clasy materials are cool but holy crap the price premiums are unacceptable. i've been using a New Trent iCarrier for the last three years that I purchased for $79 (Now $33) 12,000MaH with a 1a and 2.1a port. That is even low capacity/vs price these days. As you can buy their water, dust and drop resistant model for $52. Get with the program Mophie/Elgato.
  13. jimbo1mcm macrumors 68000

    Mar 21, 2010
    Jackery Bar. Well made. 6000mah/2.4 amp charging. Aluminum. Nice. Cheap.
  14. Nightarchaon macrumors 65816


    Sep 1, 2010
    There should be NO NEED to carry these around, apple should add 50-75% more weight to the phones and INCREASE THE BATTERY SIZE....

    I don't want a thin, light, phone if i have to have another heavy powerbrick and cable in my pocket because the phone needs topping up part way through the day. I would rather the phone was a little heavier and lasted.

    I mean seriously, who is it that is so malnourished from their hipster lifestyle that they need a phone as thin as a piece of paper and light as three helium atoms before they can carry it around without becoming exhausted ? I am assuming these are the same people who have the phone as a fashion statement and don't actually use it, because battery life to them is irrelevant.

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13 December 2, 2014