When an accessory’s price seems too good to be true, it often is, and such is the case with Satechi’s Portable Energy Station 10000 ($60). As the latest super-high capacity rechargeable battery pack compatible with Apple’s Dock Connector-equipped devices, it sports what the packaging claims to be a 10,000mAh rechargeable cell, and somewhat better build quality than we might have expected for the price. Unfortunately, our testing revealed a number of issues that prevent us from being able to recommend it, even at what would seem to be an aggressive price for such a capacious battery.
Portable Energy Station 10000’s 5.5” x 2” x 0.75” hard plastic design resembles an elongated iPhone 4 or 4S, black on the top and bottom with a silver band sandwiched between. There are a total of three ports: one Mini-USB input for charging the cell, and a pair of full-sized USB outputs for charging one or two devices at once. One is listed as a 2-Amp port for iPads, with the other charging at iPhone and iPod speeds, though the claimed port speeds didn’t seem to be totally accurate. There’s also a power button that doubles as a battery life indicator control. Satechi includes a USB cable and six interchangeable plug tips, including one with a Dock Connector. A second charging cable must be provided by the user; a soft fabric drawstring bag is included to carry everything.
In early testing, we experienced some charging issues that seemed to be attributable to the included wall adapter. It’s labeled as capable of putting out 2 Amps of power, but the first time we tried to charge the battery, it never showed more than three of its five indicator lights—even after extended periods plugged into a wall. When we switched to Apple’s iPad 10W USB Power Adapter, however, all of the lights turned on, suggesting that the cell was receiving a proper and full charge. When we went back to Satechi’s adapter, none of the lights lit up; it seems the adapter went from not working properly to not working at all.
After allowing Portable Energy Station to receive a full charge from our own adapter—a process that took about four and a half hours—we tested it with a fully drained third-generation iPad that was connected to Wi-Fi and had the screen off with no audio playing. In a little less than four hours, it received a 34% charge, comparable to Monoprice’s 5000mAh External Battery and Charger, which took half the time to deliver a little more power. The charging time suggests that Portable Energy Station isn’t really putting out a full 2 Amps either.
We were optimistic about the possibility of a high-capacity, low-cost battery pack, but Satechi’s offering simply didn’t live up to its promise. From problems with the wall charger to poor battery performance, it simply doesn’t have the features we’d expect from a 10,000mAh battery, or even a $60 battery with half the stated capacity. Budget-conscious users would be better off buying two of Monoprice’s 5,000mAh packs, which may take up more space but will deliver twice the charge; more expensive batteries we’ve tested come much closer to their performance promises. We hope Satechi fixes whatever went wrong with the Portable Energy Station 10,000; it was a nice concept, let down by poor execution.
Company and Price
Model: Portable Energy Station
Compatible: Dock Connecting iPads, iPhones + iPods