DX Power Armor DX0001 10,000mAh
Choosing a power bank can be difficult, given the sheer number of options available, but if you require a rugged power bank your choices are more limited.
We like this 10,000mAh Armor power bank from DXPower, which costs £23. It’s also available in a 6000mAh version for £15.
The Armor is rated IP67, which means it’s shockproof, dustproof, and protected in 1m of water for up to 30 minutes. Note that in order for it to be waterproof the flap that covers the ports must be tightly closed, which means it is protected from the elements only while it’s not in use. This won’t be a difficult feat to achieve, though – you need to give it some muscle just to open the tight-fitting flap.
Protecting the ports from water with a plastic and rubber seal is the same approach as that used by the EasyAcc Rugged Power Bank, which is not only more expensive than this DXPower device but significantly larger and heavier. That’s because it offers double the capacity at 20,000mAh, so more charges for your connected device.
We’ve seen several Amazon vendors listing what appears to be an identical power bank to this DXPower Armor – albeit in different colours – though they all publish a slightly different specification and price. One of those vendors mentions an efficiency rating of 88 percent, though we believe the Panasonic cells inside this bank are closer to the industry standard of around 65- to 70 percent.
This means from a 10,000mAh battery you would receive around 6500- to 7000mAh usable charge. And this falls in line with DXPower’s claims that the Armor can offer 3.5 charges to an iPhone 7 (6860mAh), two charges to the Galaxy S7 (6000mAh) and one full charge to an iPad mini 4 (5124mAh).
The Armor has a cool-looking tough design, with a rugged black and green ABS and PC enclosure that features finger grips all the way around and is said to offer high temperature resistance. Though you’ll need it only to keep together the bank and accessories, such as cables, a carry case is also provided in the box.
This is one of several nice touches: you also get a compass that clips on to a carabiner clip, which itself attaches to a Velcro strap. This fits through a circular protrusion at the top of the bank, though if we’re honest we would prefer the design without this.
Given its tough casing we’re surprised by how compact the Armor is for a 10,000mAh power bank. Weighing in at 200g and measuring 101x64x27mm, it’s really not much larger than some non-rugged 10,000mAh banks we’ve seen. If you want a truly compact power bank, then a rugged model is not it, of course. You can switch down to the 6000mAh model, but you’ll likely get only one full charge for your smartphone (two if it’s an iPhone).
Despite having enough power to charge two phones, the Armor has just the one USB output. This is a fast-charging port, rated at 5V/2.1A (10.5W), though you can find faster ports that support Quick Charge. The Micro-USB
You can connect a phone or tablet to its USB port and charge that device while the power bank itself is charging from a mains power outlet
input is similarly specified at 5V/2A (10W), and with a compatible charger this bank should be full in around five- to six hours.
A plus side when it comes to charging is the DXPower Armor’s support for passthrough charging. This means you can connect a phone or tablet to its USB port and charge that device while the power bank itself is charging from a mains power outlet. The process will clearly take longer, but it means you need only one power outlet to charge both devices, and won’t need to keep an eye on when one is full to swap over to charging the other one.
Charging is automatic, so you simply plug in a phone or tablet and the Armor gets to work. There is a power button on the side of the case, but this is used purely to activate the built-in LEDs to see at-a-glance how much power remains or to turn on the LED flashlight. The latter may be handy if you’re camping.
Once charging is complete, the Armor will automatically stop charging your phone or tablet, which means no unnecessary power is wasted and no damage can be caused to your device’s battery by overcharging it. In that regard, the DXPower Armor battery builds in all the usual safeguards against overcharging, short-circuiting and so forth, though you still shouldn’t leave it plugged in indefinitely.
A good-looking, mid-capacity rugged power bank that will fit neatly into the pockets of campers, hikers and other outdoorsie-types. It’s a shame that the DXPower Armor is waterproof only when it’s not in use, but this is a criticism we could level at most – if not all – ‘waterproof’ power banks.