Top critical review
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Fully comparison tested with other batteries. Dont be fooled by capacity claims & battery gauge. This is an under performer.
on 23 February 2016
The specs on this battery are great. A Lithium Polymer type battery which is a superior type storage to normal Lithium Ion. 21000mAh of storage charge (though specs dont say what voltage this applies to so assume at its lowest output 5V), weighing just 680g. Operates at high voltage for devices such as laptops and other 12-24V devices. Comes with a plethora of adapters including a very welcome cigarette lighter adapter for many camping 12V devices. Has a rugged tough construction. Comes in quite a nice premium packaging.
Well dont be FOOLED. The Powergorilla sadly, turns out to be an underperformer for its high price as I will prove and demonstrate its real world performance and value by pitting it against two other Polymer Lithium batteries that I own under exact same conditions in real world use. Furthermore, you can purchase similar polymer lithium batteries here, on Amazon, that outperforms this Gorilla and costs less than half the price. So why, you might ask, do so many reviewers give this 4 or 5 stars? Now I am not a cynical person and I will assume all reviewers are genuinely sincere users and NOT employed by Powertraveller. The reason I think for the 4/5 star ratings is this...most of them believe in the battery remaining level indicator...and that is so understandable yet most times very misleading because most people expect this to be calibrated out of the box. Powergorilla has a lovely large battery level LCD with a 6 bar indicator...very nice...and very off in a very deceptive way as you'll see shortly.
I know some expert reviews will use voltmeters and stats to make their judgement (which are useful). Well, I did the same initially and all looked good. But that kind of testing never gives the whole story. What matters most to you and me is how much juice will it REALLY give us for our money and how it performs when put to real world practical use when compared to other batteries of similar type under same operating conditions.
So these were my results of each battery testing under the same conditions (ie consistently same laptop CPU usage and room temperature).
11:57pm At room temperature. Power Gorilla fully charged at 6 bars begins charging laptop at 10%
1:00am laptop 42%, Gorilla 5 bars
1:21am laptop 52%, Gorilla 4 bars
1:48am laptop 65%, Gorilla 3 bars
2:03am laptop 62%, Gorilla 0 bars!!! No longer charging, Gorilla depleted
TOTAL: 2 hrs 6mins discharge from full charge to depletion, providing juice to 55% of my Dell Ultrabook XPS 13 laptop battery.
So, as you can see, the gorilla took a whole hour to drop from being 6 bars to 5 bars, which upped my laptop's juice by 32%. Fantastic start!, At that rate, one would expect the Gorilla to provide juice for 6 hours on my laptop and giving nearly two cycles of laptop juice.
But then, shock, notice how the rest of the 5 bars vanish in the next hour! In fact, the last 3 bars vanish in the last 15 minutes. Shocking, huh? The laptop usage is in a consistent use, with just internet open (static pages) and CPU at a recorded 18-22% constant use. So there is absolutely no excuse for this drastic depletion to happen in that second hour. So a very very misleading battery level gauge.
I did the exact same test with two other 12V+ Lithium Polymer batteries that I own.
The Deben Tracer 14ah costs one hundred and sixty quid, thirty quid more than the Power Gorilla as I write.
DEBEN TRACER 14ah:
1:04pm At room temperature. Fully charged Tracer begins charging laptop from 10%.
4:19pm laptop 97%
disconnected battery at this point. laptop drained down to 10% again
6:45pm resume tracer battery discharge, charging laptop at 10%
7:27pm laptop 29% . Tracer Battery depleted, Laptop begins discharging
TOTAL: 3hr 57mins discharge from full charge to depletion, providing 106% charge to my Dell ultrabook XPS 13 laptop on a 18-22 CPU usage.
So look at that, incredible. The Deben tracer DOUBLY outperformed the Gorilla. So that extra thirty quid looks more than justified after all, doesnt it?!
But recently, I discovered here on Amazon, another lithium polymer battery called the Aukey 28000 which has similar charge specs but only costs fifty two quid ! (again at time of writing) That's sounds too good to be true but I bought it anyway and tested it under the exact same conditions as the other batteries.
Results for AUKEY 28000mAh:
Aukey 28000 battery test:
7:52pm laptop 10%
9:22pm laptop 51%
10:13pm laptop 76%
10:17pm laptop 77% Aukey battery depleted, laptop begins discharging
Total: 2hrs 25mins discharge from full charge to near depletion, providing 67% charge to my Dell ultrabook XPS 13 laptop on a 18-22 CPU usage.
And there you have it. The Aukey 28000 lasted 19mins longer to discharge and charged 67% of my laptop battery as opposed to the Power Gorilla's 55%...yet costs nearly eighty quid less!
So lets simply compare the cost per every 1% juice provided to my laptop: (please remember, all costs are as of time of writing, if prices have changed simply divide the percentage charge on my laptop for each battery by the new price...ie Powergorilla: 55%/new price, Tracer: 106%/new price, Aukey: 67%/new price).
Power Gorilla 21000mah (one hundred and thirty quid) pounds per 1% juice: 2.36
Deben Tracer 14000mah (one hundred and sixty quid) pounds per 1% juice: 1.50
Aukey 28000mah (Fifty-two quid) pounds per 1% juice: 0.78
So clearly, Aukey is the winner for best value for money, getting more charge for your buck (3 times better value than the Power Gorilla). Even though your laptop or devices will have different charging rates, the relative comparisons of each battery would be the same.
The Deben Tracer wins for delivering by far the most juice...but not at the best value. The Tracer only operates at 12V by the way so is not as versatile as the other two batteries but are renowned for robustness and highest charge capacities (they go up to 22ah@12v) which is worth considering if you need as large a capacity as possible in one unit. But most laptops have a 12V cigarette lighter charger available. You can also buy a usb hub for charging USB devices from it.
A couple of other important reasons for my giving the Gorilla battery a very low rating is that this battery was temperamental operating in cold temperatures from 1 degrees below. As an amateur astronomer/astrophotographer, I need it to work for me mostly at nights. The Power Gorilla marketing shows pictures of skiers and mountaineers all dressed in thermal wear suggesting sub zero temperatures. Nowhere on the Amazon product page does it state the temperature operating range. After my field trip test disappointment with the Gorilla, I looked in the manual for any mention of temperature ranges and it does actually state in the specifications at the back of the manual, operating temperatures to be 0-40 degrees. Clearly the skiing pictures (not to mention those cute penguins) are another marketing deception. Also, temperature in London on the night I used it was 1 degree. So quality control is clearly amiss here and does not meet the claimed operating spec. By the way, know that ALL lithium batteries drain faster in colder temperatures, that is simply their nature.
Of course, this battery has enough charge to give your laptop a little extra juice (in my case 2hrs on a modern laptop) or give your mobile phones a few cycles of power which for some of you, is all that is needed. But why buy this when there are other far far cheaper and better alternative powerbanks for mobile phones which are lighter too? If its because you are attracted to that optional solar panel...well, know that solar panels are available that can connect to many other powerbanks. Unless you also want to be giving your 12V+ devices such as your laptop, extra juice, you are better off buying much lighter and cheaper USB portable chargers giving several cycles of power for your mobiles.
Having said all of the above, the Power Gorilla doesnt deserve complete knocking. It does have juice to deliver to your devices. It has more voltage settings than other batteries. It feels very robust and I actually like its slimline form factor. The numerous adapters provided is incredible and I especially like that it comes with a cigarette lighter adapter so I can run some 12v devices such as a dew heater, 12v hair dryer and computerised telescope mounts. I can even run them simultaneously with a cigarette lighter hub.
There are other lithium polymer batteries available on Amazon (such as the MAXOAK 50000) which I wish I can also test and compare but I simply cant buy them all, sorry!
Now one final piece of advice in looking for the right powerbank for you. Dont be fooled by the capacity specs in mah or Ah (milli-amp hours or Amp hours). Powergorilla claims 21000mah but dont state at what voltage. So always assume its at the its lowest voltage output setting which in this case is 5V. But other batteries state their amp hour charge at different voltage. So you need to convert them to amps hours of a specific voltage. So I am going to compare the above 3 batteries capacity claims at 12V.
Simple formula to use is: amp hours @12V = stated amp hours * at stated voltage/12V (if you want to compare using your laptop voltage, than just change 12V to your required voltage but it doesnt matter, we just want to compare battery specs at any same voltage...12V is usually the best to use as that is always one of the voltage output settings used for large capacity batteries)
So PowerGorilla states 21000mah (or 21Ah) but doesnt state voltage so we assume it lowest at 5V. So at 12V, it would provide (ignoring conversion energy losses):
21000mah * 5V/12V = apprx 8750mah.
Deben Tracer states 14Ah which is 14000mah at 12V. No calculation needed there as we have our answer at 12V
Aukey states 28000mah at 3.7V. So at 12V, it would provide:
28000mah*3.7V/12V = apprx 8633mah (so pretty much same spec as PowerGorilla)
So when comparing the claimed specs to the results of my comparison tests, they nearly correlate except Powergorilla clearly underperforms for its claimed specs when compared to the very similar (actually slightly lower) spec of the Aukey.
I hope this serves as a useful analysis for you. I just hate seeing companies ripping off customers KNOWING that customers wont know they are being ripped off because innocently, customers trusts the claimed figures and what the battery level remaining meter shows.
Now if Powertraveller offer this battery at either same price or even a tenner more than the Aukey....I might actually recommend this as the one to get and up rating to 4 stars, given it comes with a cigarette lighter charger and much more adapters...but not for very cold weather as it fails at even 1 deg. So operating at low temperatures, I would recommend Aukey or Deben Tracer.
Otherwise, Powertraveller, should be ashamed of themselves for its huge overpricing, false advertising that it can operate at lower temperatures as its pictures show and underperforming for its specs. What a pity.