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Scosche MagicMount PowerBank review: Magnetically attached Lightning connector

Glenn Fleishman | June 22, 2016
An excellent, well-designed middle ground between an external USB battery pack and an iPhone battery case.

Power up

The PowerBank can produce up to 2.1 amps (A) of current, which takes it to the maximum rate that the newest iPhones can accept. I ran several recharging tests, and in all of them, the 4,000 mAh internal battery seems to be able to pass through only about 60 percent of that, where I’d expect closer to 80 percent. The PowerBank’s 2.1 A connection is fast, though. I was able to change an iPhone 6s from zero to 80 percent in just 90 minutes. The last 20 percent is always slowest, to prevent overcharging a battery, and it took well over an hour. (I contacted Scosche twice to discuss capacity and asked for a second unit to test, but didn’t receive further follow-up.)

Recharging the PowerBank itself is far slower, as the battery only accepts a 1 A input, which requires a Micro-USB cable (supplied) and a charger (not). Depending on the model of Mac or charger you have, the battery might also take power more slowly than 1 A. I used a RAVPower Turbo+ Wall Charger, which can supply up to 2.4 A, and the Scosche unit recharged in about three hours. You can’t recharge a phone and charge the PowerBank at the same time, however.

The PowerBank compares favorably to the $100 iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case in price, capacity, and flexibility. It’s not a case, so you can remove it without a hassle. And while the tested battery capacity was less than I’d hoped, the PowerBank does offer about 50 percent more charge than the available charge several testing sites have found with Apple’s case.

Issues

The only issues are around the Lightning connection. The PowerBank has a robust looking flat cable, but it could be damaged if you don’t store it well or if you compress the cable while it’s plugged into an iPhone. I wouldn’t put it into a back pocket cable side down, nor sit down with it in a pocket with the cable side up. And Apple’s case has pass-through Lightning for charging and accessing the phone.

Apple also passes through battery status to iOS for its smart case; with the Scosche, you need to look at the back and press its battery-status/on-off button to see it light up one to four tiny blue LEDs—or flash just one to indicate it’s almost out of juice.

Looking at standalone batteries, a battery with a single 2.4 A Type-A USB port, an integral Micro-USB cable, and twice the tested capacity is just $20—the EasyAcc 6,000mAh Ultra-Slim. However, that requires carrying a separate Lightning-to-USB cable, and a battery that isn’t designed to be attached to your phone.

 

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