Most tablets can last a long time on a single charge, usually going a full day with moderate-to-heavy use, or a long weekend when used only occasionally. But there are times when it’s handy to get a recharge from an external battery, such as the Samsung Animal Edition 11,300mAh Battery Pack.
Build and Design
This accessory is a 2.9 x 4.6 x 0.9 inch (74.5 x 116.9 x 22.9 mm) rectangle with rounded corners. It weighs 0.6 pounds or 9.35 ounces (265 g). That makes it relatively small and lightweight for a battery with this much capacity, but it’s still large enough that it needs to be carried in a gear bag or purse.
There are plenty of smaller external batteries on the market, but these are meant for phones and can’t fully recharge a tablet.
A micro-USB plug on a 2-inch retractable cord comes out of an upper corner of this battery pack, allowing it to be plugged directly into a wide variety of Android and Windows tablets. On the top is a full-size USB port, so that charging cables for any type of devices – like iPads — can be plugged in. Two devices can be charged simultaneously, as long as one of them uses micro-USB.
Also on the top is a micro-USB port that used to charge this battery pack.
On one side is a button that lights up a set of four white LEDs to indicate how much charge is available: 100%, 75%, etc.
What makes it an “Animal Edition” is the image of an endangered species that’s printed on the front, either a giant panda or a golden monkey. This doesn’t mean that Samsung is donating any of its proceeds from these sale of this product to save these species, however. The company says this is just hoping to “raise awareness about endangered animals”.
To extend this “Animal Edition” theme, Samsung created a companion Android app for this accessory that displays the external battery’s percentage of power remaining with cute pictures of the endangered animals. However it couldn’t be loaded on our Nexus 9 test tablet.
Having a cartoon panda or monkey printed on the battery somewhat limits its business use: it’s not the sort of accessory most people would want to pull out during a board meeting.
Possibly the best feature of this accessory is that it is never necessary to turn it on. Simply plugging it into a tablet or phone that needs a re-charge is all that it takes to begin the charging process. This avoids a hassle that affects all external batteries that have to be manually activated: when they are charging a mobile device that’s in use, once that device hits 100% the charger will shut down, allowing the computer’s charge to start dropping again. The Samsung charger, on the other hand, is able to keep the tablet’s battery at 100% by turning itself back on when necessary.
Because this external battery is rated at 11,300 mAh, one would think that it can recharge the 8827 mAH battery in an Apple iPad Air about 1.3 times. In reality, it doesn’t work out exactly that way because the energy transfer process isn’t perfectly efficient. In our tests, Samsung’s product was able to give an iPad Air a 110% charge – one session was a 60% charge and the second a 50% charge.
This battery can put out 5 volts of power, the maximum allowable with the USB standard.
Recharging the battery pack itself took 5 hours.
We don’t always have access to electrical sockets: long plane flights and hiking trips are just two examples of when an external battery comes in handy. The Samsung Animal Edition 11,300mAh Battery Pack is a good option to fully recharge most tablets in these situations… as long as the user doesn’t mind that there’s a cartoon animal printed on it.
This product is available online for under just under $100. There are 10,000mAh battery packs available online for less, but none of these are from companies with the brand recognition of Samsung.