Do we really need bigger Powercore any more?

So actual future is significantly a function of us the consumers, by making Anker act by buying or not buying from Anker, a competitor pulling sales from Anker would be far more powerful than a community forum opinion. Market forces!

To look at the thermal and power conversion efficiency watch these two videos and focus on the size of the battery, the shape of the battery and the costs.

I replaced my Nexus 7 2013 tablet battery, it cost me $10 and took me say 30 mins of carefully watching a video guide.

I replaced my Nexus 10 tablet battery, it cost me $23 and took me say 30 mins via copying this video.

The batteries are very thin and flat, these are 15Wh for the NExus 7 and 34Wh for the Nexus 10 and these devices both have 9 hours battery life. The Nexus 7 is 290g and 0.2L volume, the Nexus 10 is 603g and 0.42L volume.

These devices are old and so slow for multitasking but they allow me to do is store powered off 60% charged my 19 month old $650 Google Pixel C to make it last longer (less exposed to accidents and the battery ages slower if not used at part-discharged) so if I spent $40 and made a $650 device last say a year longer works out net better value.

Observe you could not carry really these batteries around as shown, Anker could not for example make an external battery like these as the Lithium is very exposed, it is soft to touch and easily bent and therefore would be unsafe. If you placed these shaped batteries in cases which adequately protected them due to the thinness which allows a lot of torsion you’d need a thick casing, and end up with a battery not far in size and weight the tablets these batteries are inside. So to minimize packaging weight you end up with a less-flat closer to a cylinder shape, often via a set of 18650 batteries like this

Take the 20000mAh Powercore as an example it is 74Wh and you lose energy in conversion so is say 1.7x recharges of the Nexus 10, so equivalent of 16 hours of us, and you’d pay $40 typically for 20Ah, and is 356g and 0.22L. Or consider it $2.5 / hour.

A similar calculation at the lower end is say a Powercore 10000, often around $20 for the Nexus 7 gets you to $1.8 / hr.

That is logical, it becomes more expensive to make a larger device last longer.

I would argue that makes a lot of sense in these tablet’s situation on a weight, volume and cost basis. This is why I suspect the 20Ah batteries for tablets has been selling really well for Anker, they make a sensible balanced option for long times off-grid.

Where it begins to break down is as you scale up the problem, let’s take a higher end modern laptop like say one of the new Chromebooks like the Asus C302CA which has a 39Wh battery and has a 10 hour battery life. Take the current highest Anker battery you can buy - the 26800 PD costing (if you could buy it by itself) about $75 and would give 20 hours of laptop use. Or consider it $3.75 / hr.

So then a smaller 7" device, to extend its life is $1.8/hr, a 10" is $2.5/hr and a 13" is $3.75/hr. i.e. it becomes progressively worse value.

What I am observing now attempting to keep a large device going longer is not actually happening in the market, what I’m seeing is folks carry a 2nd smaller device, they then drain its battery for uses which fit a smaller device and then combine the total battery life of 2 devices rather than carry a larger battery for the larger device. It works out overall more useful and flexible and gives you a spare device in event of damages.

The Amazon Fire HD 8" for $54.

So overall, the highest end of the external battery pack idea is being squeezed from below via:

  • the battery life of the larger devices is actually often enough, in the 7-10 hours range which is a full day for most people
  • for the longer trips you’re beginning to see folks carry a smaller device with its own 7-10 hours
  • those smaller devices can themselves have their battery extended far cheaper via smaller batteries.

Where I see the biggest market gap at the higher end is in solving the recharging problem, so say you had a larger computer (laptop) a small tablet, a phone and say a smaller battery, and a earbud , that is 4 or 5 devices and the future is USB-PD with a couple of years overlap with MicroB. So a 4 port with 2 USB-C PD and 2 USB Type A, or a 5 port with 2 or 3 USB-PD and the others USB Type A.

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Some good thought provoking points there @nigelhealy . Currently have the 20000 and 26800 both of which are seldom used apart from on long journeys but still like having them as a fallback option over my 10000mAh.

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Thanks. I own a 26800mAh I got for $30 18 months ago and it barely leaves the house with me. I carry the 10000mAh much more often as I more care my mobile works than wanting more than 9 hours on a tablet.

If I had to buy at a high price a larger battery would cause me even more pause than a large battery I already own.

I traveled a lot in June - October period and took “random” collection of devices and chargers and batteries with me, including carrying the 26800 in one trip. The situation my largest device went flat simply never happened because I’d use it for larger device tasks like working on a work document and if i wanted to watch videos then move to a smaller device to which a smaller cheaper battery could keep it going long enough.

I was thinking about this ask that is the sort of laptop I might get next when my current devices fail, and wondering what I’d do, it got me thinking, I’d be already lugging a big device so to lug a big heavier battery to make it last more than 10 hours felt like a lot of weight, I’d probably instead carry a smaller 2nd device.

This isn’t trying to be opinionated, it is trying all approaches and looking back and observing what tends to work better.

The problem I have remaining is still the pending USB-PD of multiple devices all nearly drained and then going to bed to repeat a long time moving. So really, its the USB-PD chargers need to step up more. That problem will arise in 2018, I expect that will be more of a market pull that Anker should address.

Typed on a Chromebook to which I replaced its battery also, did that for free via taking a battery from a broken laptop with non-damaged battery.

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This is the question I ask myself. I don’t worry about the prices I just worry about powering my gear while off grid and keeping it light. Last weekend My friends and I were off grid in the mountains in Hot Springs Arkansas at the off road park. The only power we had were in our Jeeps while on the trail or power packs. I have two 16000 mAh packs and a cpuple of smaller power cores. Those kept my camera gear and my cell phone charged (cell phone charged down every 2 hours) and I didn’t even use the power in the Jeep.

Honestly, I think anything heavier than the 16000 mAh would be to heavy for me to take on a hike/camping trip. Now if I can drive right up to the campsite, I would want one of the big chargers to charge my gear and other toys I would have at the camp.

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That kind of confirms what I’m saying, the devices you most care about not going flat are small and so they pair up with smaller powerbanks. The bigger devices you care less about them going flat and their internal batteries give enough life for their purpose.

Agree about not so caring about cost. I already own a 26800 battery so its cost is free for me, but I don’t carry it, I have tried and it seems to solve a problem which never arises, chiefly of a large device going flat and that being a problem needed to solve. My biggest device a Chromebook has its proprietary 19V charger, the successor to the laptop all appear to be the 30W-45W USB-PD type. I don’t think I’d want to add a battery to recharge it, but I’d want one charger for all my devices as my real next problem.

Curious what are Anker volume of sales of the larger batteries? I’m thinking its the lipstick 3Ah to 15Ah sell more?

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Many other factors play into the cost than just the capacity.

So what do you think the sweet spot is? 10000? Right bowman my go to is PowerCore II 20000.

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10000Ah is a little too tight for my worst days. I carry (because I own them) the Mini and 10000 to give me 14Ah and 2 ports. If I owned nothing and knew what I know now probably a dual-port 13A-15Ah. I own 26.8Ah and its struggle to justify it being carried. Worth having though for the $30 I paid for say a long power outage (winter is coming!)

When my Nexus 7 dies probably get this when my Pixel C dies probably get this or this. The battery life is so good it exceeds the amount of time I’d ever use the device but creates the need for better USB-PD chargers, basically the USB-PD versions of the Powerport2, 4, 5.

If you travel via car, I think the best solution is easily a fast car charger. Then you do don’t have to lug around a power bank. I also think the PowerCore Turbo (8 minute charge via car adapter = one iPhone 7 charge) was a really smart product, but unfortunately now discontinued.

Overall, though, I think the market for power banks in general is slowly declining. Not only are batteries lasting longer (though slow improvement), but charging can be so fast.

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Do you not own Windows laptop?

In one of the sales I got the 5 port car charger for the situation of a lot of people on a long car journey. None of us own Quick Charge so currently its upto 5V 3A max, or we use a car inverter for laptops. Eventually the 19V laptops die away and its USB-C PD everywhere and where is the Anker technology for that…

I think I agree, phones are more commonly lasting all day, and chargers getting so fast you can recharge in short wall socket times, but you can still get the corner cases where a small battery gets you out of the worst days. In Android world it would be a bad app draining your battery and you reboot and then what…

So the lipstick 3Ah to say 15Ah range to keep your most important devices working in your worse situations.

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I was given one for free (work laptop) but for many reasons I learned the best most stable situation is to format a Windows harddrive, install Ubuntu and then install Windows 10 in a VM. Plenty of fundamentally flawed Microsoft approaches, too many to list before bedtime. Then when Windows has one of its hissy fits I can still operate the laptop.

If i must run Windows applications, from a Linux laptop it is inside a VM, or I RDP to a Windows VM (from my mobile, tablet, etc) and run it remote. That means I can run Windows apps from my phone.

You can always hear Windows coming, via the noisy fan.

Had laptops since 1995.

I thought about running a similar solution since Windows has been acting up lately. But I worry about resource management. I run photo/video software on my laptop (on the road) and desktop (at home) and those programs use a lot of resources. Have you noticed any issues running VM and resource hogging software/apps?

So I do not pair windows with portability. So the battery life issue of Windows is moot.

Windows running on a server with a big PSU you access remote works well. When you RDP you lose the video res and refresh so its not for consuming video, but you mouse/keyboard remote operate it. In my case the it is just two apps, Visio, and certain type of Cisco Webex functions only work on Windows.

The other advantage of remote is over dodgy network (cellular, poor Wifi) as then your connection can drop but that just halts your ability to operate mouse/keyboard, the app is still running remotely waiting for you to reconnect.

It comes back to I don’t need both computing power and electrical power when moving, I keep the computing power remote, so the big power draining causes are gone and so therefore is gone the need for a big heavy device and associated battery.

I use ffmpeg on a Linux server to recode videos and then ftp / http them to my device off of which then I get good battery life. Even older slow devices like say the Nexus 7, mine has only 16GB of storage but this linux command inside a script:

ffmpeg -nostdin -y -i "$input" -preset medium -crf 27 -c:a copy -c:v libx264 "$output"

That command on an old laptop (bust keyboard so I use it as a server) runs about real-time.

Then recodes HD video down to about 500MB/hour you cannot detect drop of video quality, so I can keep a long journey’s videos on an aircraft seat table on a device which if destroyed cost me $100 total over years.

You can then get the same end outcome regardless of your priorities. Say a $2000 laptop was not a cost issue, then its not device cost you worry about but the productivity and time lost of a bust device, if it broke on you what is your fallback? So then you carry a spare something (2 devices). If cost was an issue, then same end result from a different cause.

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I always carry a backpack with me @nigelhealy so carrying a 21000 USB-C is no big deal, even if I am not using a backpack I usually keep it in my jacket pocket or front jeans pocket. I never know when I need to charge my iphone 10 times!

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USB-C/Thunderbolt charging for laptops–like my Dell XPS–makes a big battery pack very appealing. I’d definitely be in the market for a large powerbank, especially if it had a high output rating (45 watts or better). That’d be super handy.

i sold my 26800 and got myself and gf a 10000mah one because it’s easier to carry and use with smartphone

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What model did you get?

I think the reason large power packs are gaining popularity is because usb-c powered laptops are becoming more common. My current laptop isn’t, so all I need is a 10,000 mah pack. But I will eventually need one of these larger packs.

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