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See also: The best 10,000mAh power banks you can buy
Otterbox Folding Wireless Power Bank (10,000mAh): $59.95
Otterbox Wireless Power Bank (10,000mAh): $39.95 / £35.99 / €39.99
Otterbox Wireless Power Bank (15,000mAh): $49.95 / £45.99 / €49.99
Learn more: Here’s how fast charging really works
As with many power banks, you can keep an eye on the remaining charge thanks to four white LEDs on the side panel. If you’re not currently charging, you’ll have to press the small button to activate the lights. The Otterbox Folding Wireless Power Bank is relatively large, measuring 165 x 70 x 24.7mm, and it weighs 320g.
The folding Qi charging pad hides a pair of coils for vertical and horizontal charging.
All that space allows for a USB-A port and a USB-C port, both with up to 18W charging. The Qi charging pad on top is capable of up to 10W speeds and packs two coils for vertical and horizontal charging. You won’t find too much going on in the box — Otterbox includes a small warranty packet and a USB-A to USB-C cable to get you started.
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
When a power bank sets you back $59, it better cover a solid set of charging standards. Luckily, the Otterbox Folding Wireless Power Bank does just that. It boasts USB Power Delivery 2.0 and 3.0, as well as Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 and 3.0. If you have an older device, you can also tap into Apple Fast Charge and Samsung AFC.
Overall, my testing delivered solid speeds across the board. A Samsung Galaxy S21 reached 14.6W from both the USB-A and USB-C ports — pretty close to the max 15W speeds without USB PD PPS. I saw slightly better results on a iPhone 12 Pro, reaching 17.3W from the USB-C port. It was slower on the USB-A side at 11.9W, though it still ran on Apple 2.4A charging.
Otterbox’s well-built power bank pushes nearly full-speed charging to the iPhone 12 Pro and Galaxy S21 alike.
It’s not always easy to pin down the perfect wireless charging placement on power banks, but the Otterbox Folding Wireless Power Bank gets it right. The gold band around the Otterbox logo indicates where your phone should sit for best results, and it adds a touch of class to the otherwise black power bank.
See also: Just how fast is modern wireless charging?
The Otterbox Folding Wireless Power Bank is as thick as it is heavy — and it’s pretty heavy.
Although the wireless charging pad works very well for games with on-screen controls, it’s not great if you prefer racing games where your phone serves as the wheel. If that’s the case, you’ll have to limit yourself to wired charging. This is also not the power bank to rely on with a full-size laptop. I reached up to 13.8W on a Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, which is a far cry from the 65W max charging speed. However, if you really need a power bank that’ll charge a laptop, you really want to look at portable chargers with a higher capacity than this.
See also: The best USB-C cables you can buy
Otterbox Folding Wireless Power Bank
Otterbox has its sights set on the gaming market with its Folding Wireless Power Bank. It packs a variety of charging standards, and the design feels built to last.
See price at Otterbox
You're reading Otterbox Folding Wireless Power Bank Review: Down With The Thickness
Zendure’s A2 is a brilliant power bank, winner of our Gold award and currently at number one in our best power banks chart. With an extra USB output, smarter power management and larger capacity, this should be a better device, although we’d rather those additions didn’t entail the loss of fast charging (with two devices connected) and the extra weight and bulk. Still a very good deal, even at £47, this is the Zendure for those with multiple devices to charge or longer journeys to take.
Zendure’s A5 power bank is big brother to the best power bank on the market, the Zendure A2. It’s bigger and it’s better – and even more so in its second-generation – but a little more expensive and a tad less portable. The A2 hits the perfect middle ground, but if you’re going on a longer trip or have both a smartphone and tablet to charge you’ll find this power bank better suited to your needs. Also see: Best power banks 2023.
Zendure has once again refreshed its second-generation A-series – for the fourth time (but still in its second-generation). Originally a 15,000mAh power bank, Zendure first upgraded the capacity to 16,000mAh, then again to 16,750mAh, and now it’s added a black colour option. And if you thought the silver A5 looked good, you’ve seen nothing yet. The black Zendure A5 is not only one of the best power banks you can buy in terms of its features, but also in its design.
Given the extra capacity and, as we’ll come to later, extra USB output, the Zendure A5 is understandably more expensive than its little brother. You can buy the Zendure A5 in black or silver from Amazon UK for £47.21. That’s actually reasonably expensive for a power bank of this capacity, but you certainly get what you pay for.
For an extra £25, you get everything the A2 offers but with 2.5 times the capacity – with 80 percent efficiency that’s roughly 13,400mAh usable, and enough to last you several days away from the mains – plus an additional USB output.
Whereas before you’d get one 5W- and one 10.5W USB output, in its second-generation both the A5’s outputs are rated at 10.5W. The total output is still 2.1A (10.5W), which means with two devices you’ll get slower charging (around 5W), but with two 10.5W outputs on offer you don’t need to worry about which one you use to plug in your tablet.
Also new here is Zen+ power-management technology. Rather than a straight 5W/5W split between the two USB outputs, the Zendure can cleverly recognise the devices attached and supply an optimum amount of power for charging them.
The main trade-offs are in the Zendure A5’s larger, heavier (but still portable) design, and in its price. However, it’s worth pointing out that while this power bank is more than twice the price of, for example, the £22 similar-capacity RP-PB13 Deluxe from RavPower, several features add to its worth.
With the Zendure A5 you’ll benefit from passthrough charging (allowing you to use the A5 as a USB hub, simultaneously charging both it and your devices), auto-on (removing the need to fiddle around with buttons, you just plug it in and go) and a rugged design built from crushproof PC/ABS composite material with dual-injection molding and a shock-absorbing central belt.
Zendure also claims that 95 percent of the battery’s capacity will remain after six months, which means you could potentially chuck this power bank in the glovebox and forget about it until you need it.
At this price and capacity, and with these features, the A5’s closest rival is perhaps the how to charge your smartphone or tablet faster.)
This probably isn’t a device you’ll carry in your pocket, at 320g and 127x73x24mm (that’s the same size and weight as the first-gen A5, by the way), but Zendure supplies the A5 with a soft carry case. This isn’t cushioned, yet the A5 is tough enough that it doesn’t need protecting – the case merely keeps together both power bank and the also supplied flat Micro-USB cable, and in that sense it’s very handy.
As with most other power banks a four-LED system is used to show how much power remains. It’s easy enough to understand, although the 4000mAh jump between each LED means it isn’t the most accurate of systems. Using a 1.5A/7.5W charger you can expect to fill this bank in 11 hours, but allow extra time with a phone and/or tablet connected.
Unlike most other power banks we’ve reviewed there’s no LED torch, although we can’t say we miss having one.
Read next: How to improve smartphone battery life.
Follow Marie Brewis on Twitter.Specs Zendure A5: Specs
16750mAh lithium-ion battery
1.5A Micro-USB input
2x 2.1A (10.5W) USB outputs
2.1A (10.5W) maximum total output
LimeFuel’s Blast L240X Pro is an excellent power bank for taking on the road for extended periods, with the highest capacity we’ve seen yet. The tech inside is the best you’ll find, while the LimeFuel is well made and looks good. If only it wasn’t so expensive.
LimeFuel’s Blast L240X Pro is a higher-capacity version of the L180X Pro we reviewed back in October. Like that power bank it supports various high-end features such as passthrough fast-charging and auto-on/-off, but its increased capacity makes it a more useful travel companion on extended trips. Also see:
Indeed, with 24000mAh of power to hand, you can expect around 17000mAh to be available to your devices (some is lost through voltage conversion and heat generated) – that would give an iPhone 6 nine full charges with juice to spare. And its auto-on/-off functionality ensures nothing is wasted: to begin charging you simply plug in your phone or tablet, and when its battery is full the LimeFuel automatically shuts off the power. Also see: how to charge your smartphone or tablet faster
This is the highest-capacity power bank we’ve reviewed at PC Advisor, offering an extra 1600mAh over the EC Tech YN-025 22400mAh power bank. It’s about the same size as that device, a fraction shorter but a little fatter at 79x24x155mm, yet some 50g heavier at 505g.
The difference in price is more noticable: while the EC Tech currently costs £29 at Amazon, the LimeFuel is available in the UK only via the company’s website, where it costs $149 – around £98 plus shipping. That’s incredibly expensive compared to other power banks we’ve tested, but if you can afford it the LimeFuel ticks every other box going.
It has plenty of other features in its favour, too. While the EC Tech is a reasonably basic power bank, with a no-frills red and black plastic chassis and 12W (2.4A), 10W (2A) and 5W (1A) USB outputs (upgraded since the time of our review), this LimeFuel Blast Pro has four, all rated at 12W (2.4A). It’s important to note that the device’s maximum output is only 21W (4.2A), so with four phones or tablets plugged in each will charge at only 5.25W (1.05A), but it’s nice to have the option of charging an additional device.
It’s better-looking and feels better made, too, with a matt black smudge-resistant rubber finish and rounded edges that feel good in the hand. It never becomes warm in use, and attention to detail is strong. The Blast Pro comes with a two-in-one Micro-USB and Lightning slimline charging cable that will help you cut down on clutter if you have assorted iOS and Android or Windows Phone devices to charge.
High-capacity power banks such as these can take forever to refill their own batteries. Both EC Tech and LimeFuel support 10W (2A) inputs, which means that given the right charger (not supplied) you can expect them to fill up in around 16 hours from empty. In the LimeFuel’s favour is the aforementioned passthrough charging. This allows you to use the Blast Pro as a four-port USB hub, simultaneously charging both it and any connected devices, then when you need to take it on the road it will always be ready to go.
According to LimeFuel, Grade A battery cells and high-quality circuitry protect against such things as short circuits and overcharging and can prevent the battery from exploding. Always a good thing. There’s also a 12-month manufacturer warranty for peace of mind.
We have just two criticisms of this device. Firstly, and most obviously, is the price. Secondly, in common with just about every other power bank you can buy, is the four-LED system that shows you how much power remains. With 24000mAh on offer, each LED represents 6000mAh – the equivalent to two- to three smartphone batteries – which makes for a pretty meaningless reading. At this price we might have hoped for an LCD display that shows the exact percentage remaining.
Read next: How to improve smartphone battery life.
Follow Marie Brewis on Twitter.Specs LimeFuel Blast L240X Pro: Specs
24000mAh lithium-ion power bank
4x 12W (2.4A) USB outputs
1x 10W (2A) Micro-USB input
two-in-one Micro-USB/Lightning cable included
If you have a wireless network at your home or business, it’s important to ward it against opportunistic hackers seeking to steal your data or hijack your Wi-Fi for their own nefarious purposes. We spoke to Steven Andrés, CTO of security consulting firm Special Ops Security, to learn about the best ways to lock down your Wi-Fi.Change Your Passwords
The first step in securing your network is simple: change your passwords! Default router passwords like “admin” are seductively simple to remember, but that means they’re equally simple for a hacker to guess; there’s even a public database containing default login credentials for more than 450 networking equipment vendors.
While no password is foolproof, you can build a better password by combining numbers and letters into a complex and unique string. Remember to change both your Wi-Fi password (the string guests type in to access your network) as well as your router administrator password (the one you enter to log into the administration console–these two may sometimes be the same). Andrés suggests that you change your passwords to something completely unique–no pet names–then write them down on a piece of paper and tape it to your router for safekeeping.Change Your SSID
Every wireless network has a name, known as a Service Set ID (or SSID). The simple act of changing that name discourages serial hackers from targeting you, because wireless networks with default names like “linksys” are more likely to lack custom passwords or encryption, making them a tempting target for opportunistic hackers.
Don’t bother disabling SSID broadcasting; you might be able to ward off casual Wi-Fi leechers that way, but any hacker with a wireless spectrum scanner can still find your SSID by listening in as your devices communicate with your router.Enable WPA2 Encryption
If possible, you should always encrypt your network traffic using WPA2 encryption, which offers better security than the older WEP and WPA technologies. If you have to choose between multiple versions of WPA2– like WPA2 Personal or WPA2 Enterprise–always pick the setting most appropriate for your network. Unless you’re setting up a large-scale business network with a RADIUS server, you’ll want to stick with WPA2 Personal encryption.Enable MAC Filtering
To determine the MAC address of any Windows PC, open a command prompt by selecting Run from the Start Menu, typing cmd and hitting Enter (Windows 7 users can just type cmd in the Start Menu search box). Next, type ipconfig /all at the command prompt and press Enter to bring up your IP settings.
Thankfully, most modern routers will display a list of devices connected to your network along with their MAC address in the administrator console to make it easier to identify your devices. If in doubt, refer to your router’s documentation for specific instructions.Limit DHCP Leases To Your Devices
Tally how many WiFi-capable devices you have in your home, then find the DHCP settings page in your router administrator console and update the number of “client leases” available to the number of devices you own, plus one for guests.Block WAN Requests
Finally, make sure to enable the “Block WAN Requests” option to conceal your network from other Internet users. With this feature enabled your router will not respond to IP requests by remote users, preventing them from gleaning potentially useful information about your network. As Andres puts it, “the ‘WAN’ is basically the Internet at large, and you want to block random people out there from initiating a conversation with your router.”
Once you’ve taken these steps to secure your wireless network, lock it down for good by disabling remote administration privileges through the administrator console. That forces anyone looking to modify your network settings to plug a PC directly into the wireless router, making it nearly impossible for hackers to mess with your settings and hijack your network. Update your passwords every six months or so, use intrusion software like NetStumbler to periodically test your networks for fresh vulnerabilities and enjoy your new-found peace of mind.
“Observations made by appointment of the Royal Society at King George’s Island in the South Sea by Mr. Charles Green, formerly assistant at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, and Lieutenant James Cook of His Majesty’s ship the Endeavour.”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Vol. 61, p. 410, 1771.
Modern science moves so fast that it’s easy to reflect on the changes of the past week, let alone the past decade or century. But astronomy is one notable exception to this rule. Arguably no other scientific endeavor is so full of history.
For this reason, astronomical events like the transit of Venus present a rare chance to compare what we can see today with what our forebears saw hundreds of years ago, both literally and in their world views. This is something you can’t really do with genetics, for instance.
On the occasion of this last transit, several authors have undertaken the retelling of the previous Venus transits, heralded in their day as a means to determine our place in the solar system and the rest of the cosmos. The 18th and 19th century transits of Venus are also surprisingly rich tales of swashbuckling explorers, politics, bitter competition and international cooperation. Here are two books we recommend.
The Day the World Discovered the SunThe Day the World Discovered the Sun
The aroma of rotting corpses may not be the first thing that comes to mind in a book about astronomy, but this is how Mark Anderson sets the stage for his tale of the June 3, 1769 transit of Venus. From the beginning, you are alongside the famous explorers, including James Cook, and the under-appreciated astronomers, including Jean-Baptiste Chappe d’Auteroche, as they risk life and limb to watch this event.
Anderson draws on his background in physics as well as a career writing about Elizabethan England to tell the story in occasionally overwrought yet sharp and stinking detail. (Fun Fact: One of the most important observers for the Holy Roman Empire was the Hungarian Jesuit priest Maximilian Höll, who Latinized his name to Hell — Father Hell. Fitting name for a guy observing a planet often compared to that devil’s bastion.)
James Cook’s View
The view from Point Venus, Tahiti, where Capt. James Cook and his men observed the transit of Venus. Oil on canvas, William Hodges, 1744-1797.
This transit was key to determining the dimensions of the solar system. Kepler and others had already provided the geometry, but without a measuring stick like the Venus transit, no one had yet determined the exact size of the sun and the planets and the distances among them. By observing the transit from several locations, and timing Venus’ solar crossing with exacting precision, scientists around the globe could combine their notes and derive a precise solar system measurement.
But this required a new spirit of international cooperation, not an easy concept for superpowers like Spain and France. And it required far-flung observers hunkered down in the Arctic, sailing the waters of South Africa and Tahiti, and even dispatched to the New World. Together, the expeditions yielded a number that we now simply call the AU — 93 million miles, the distance between the Earth and the sun. Who knew it took suffering in Siberia and dying of distemper to figure it out?
Transit of Venus: 1631 to the PresentTransit of Venus: 1631 to Present
Nick Lomb, former curator of astronomy at Australia’s Sydney Observatory, presents a gorgeous coffee-table-worthy color tome that works more as an introductory science lesson than a historical account. Scores of photographs, sketches, artists’ renderings and diagrams explain how astronomers of old were able to chart this transit, and why it was important then — and now. He also includes some interesting information about the hellish planet.
Lomb starts with the transit of 1639 — the first to be observed by humans, with modest telescopes projecting the solar disk onto darkened European walls. Kepler’s third law of planetary motion was barely older than a decade, and finally astronomers were beginning to use telescopes to answer some pressing questions about the solar system. Kepler’s third law: The square of a planet’s orbital period is directly proportional to the cube of its distance from the sun. This meant that once you could detect one planet’s distance to the sun, you could detect them all. And Kepler figured out that Mercury and Venus were likely to cross in front of the sun. He predicted a transit in 1631, and exhorted astronomers to watch it carefully. Kepler himself died in 1630.
Throughout the book, the story of each observed transit is interspersed with little biographies of the key astronomers, maps detailing the routes traveled by explorers like Mason and Dixon (for those of you who know the Civil War, yes, they’re the same guys), and interesting physics behind the observations. He even includes Jay Pasachoff’s groundbreaking finding about the frustrating Black Drop, a dark thread that connects the shape of Venus to the sun and makes it difficult to determine the exact point of transit. The Black Drop is an artifact of atmospheric blurring, telescope effects and the solar disk itself.
You can find both books on Amazon and in most booksellers.
IDG / Hayden Dingman
The only light on this entire mousepad. You okay, Corsair?Charging made (sort-of) simple
And that’s fine, because you’re buying the MM1000 for other reasons. Namely: It promises wireless charging without the need for wires. Does it deliver? Yes, absolutely—but with quite a few more caveats than Logitech’s Powerplay setup.
IDG / Hayden Dingman
Powerplay is the name of a proprietary charging system devised by Logitech. Powerplay projects a charging field across the entire 13 x 14-inch mousepad, so no matter where you place the mouse it’s always powered—and not just powered, but trickle-charging too. When the mouse isn’t in use, Powerplay charges at a rate of 7 or 8 percent per hour, but even while moving around you’ll still accrue 1 to 2 percent per hour. As long as the mouse is on the mousepad, it should never dip below 85 percent ever.
Corsair’s MM1000 is…not quite as refined. Sure, you’ll never need to worry about plugging a cord into the Corsair Dark Core mouse—but you’ll still need to think about charging it every night or two, and therein lies the difference.
See, Corsair uses the open-source Qi charging standard. You might’ve come into contact with Qi if, for instance, you’ve ever wirelessly charged your phone. It’s the same technology. The problem: Qi has a very limited range. That part should also be familiar to anyone who’s wirelessly charged their phone before. It’s not going to cover an entire mousepad, or even half a mousepad.
IDG / Hayden Dingman
Instead, Qi covers a tiny zone in the top-right corner of the MM1000. Corsair’s helpfully highlighted this zone with a circle. That’s the only place where your mouse charges, and it only charges as long as it’s sitting still.
At the end of the day you need to consciously think about charging though—taking the mouse, putting it in the top-right corner, aligning it properly, and checking to make sure the green indicator light is flashing. Qi is so slow that it basically requires an overnight charge. If you don’t remember to start it then the Dark Core mouse is liable to die on you the next day.
And if you do run out of battery? Well, your Dark Core mouse is back to the dark ages. Time to grab the included MicroUSB cable and plug the mouse into your computer, the same way you would’ve done with any number of wireless mice before. So much for your fancy mousepad.
IDG / Hayden Dingman
An adapter, for those who want to charge their phone.
There is one interesting side effect from the use of the Qi standard, which is of course that you can charge your phone from the same hotspot. Corsair also includes an adapter, so phones without built-in wireless charging can still plug in and charge that way. That’s cool I guess, if you want to leave your phone trickle-charging wirelessly while using your mouse.Bottom line
It’s a bit frustrating. On paper, the MM1000 and Logitech’s Powerplay system sound identical. In practice though the two are anything but. Powerplay is a completely new way to think about wireless mice. The MM1000 is just a new way to charge one.
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