Review: Monoprice 3000mAh + 5000mAh External Battery Pack and Charger
Monoprice has long been known for its inexpensive cables and accessories. Now, it's added battery packs to the lineup with External Battery Pack and Charger, available in 3000mAh ($23) and 5000mAh ($29) capacities. At such a low price, these units aren't about flash; instead, they're simple boxes that get the job done. Our testing proved them to be better suited for emergency power ups than full iPad charges.
Both models are exactly the same size—just a bit bigger than an iPhone—differing only in the cell inside and the color of their plastic shells. They have a soft touch finish and feel surprisingly light and hollow; if the larger battery is heavier, it’s an imperceptible difference. Monoprice located all of the I/O on one of the box’s short edges. There is a Micro-USB input as well one each of full-sized 1A and 2.1A outputs. This allows for rapid charging of all Dock Connector-equipped devices. A status indicator switch on the top of the units looks a lot like Apple’s Home button, and doubles as a way to toggle the battery’s power, while four blue LEDs next to it display the remaining power.
Because they support iPad charging, we tested both battery packs with Apple’s third-generation tablet under our standard conditions. The device was connected to Wi-Fi with the screen off and no media playing. Monoprice’s lower capacity cell delivered a 16% charge in just under an hour, while the larger one charged it 27%. These results strike us as somewhat low, but considering the price it’s hard to be disappointed with them. For an iPhone or an iPod, that’s plenty of juice for full recharge and then some for significantly less than we’ve seen from any other company.
For the small difference in the price between the two, the 5000mAh version of External Battery Back and Charger is worthy of our strong general recommendation. The 3000mAh is also quite a good deal, but in comparison doesn’t make as much sense. An almost nominal dollar amount gets you 167% battery capacity, and that translates to better results. As such, it earns our slightly lower general recommendation. Although the batteries didn’t perform as well as we expected on a per mAh basis, if you’re looking for a bargain there’s no reason to shy away from these packs.