Review : Scosche GoBat 12,000mAh Powerbank

Ultra-rugged backup battery is capable of handling whatever you throw at it

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Scosche

Price: $100

The Good

  • IP68 rated (waterproof, dustproof)
  • Large battery capacity can charge most phones up to six times
  • Shockproof to military standards
  • "Smart" charging ensures correct charge rate for multiple devices

The Bad

  • Large and heavy
  • Design is utilitarian
We've covered a few outdoor lifestyle devices before, including speakers, phone cases, and more. We're back with another one, but this time we think this is a product that offers a bit more utility than those we've checked out before. Join us as we examine Scosche's GoBat 12000, a 12,000mAh portable powerbank designed to charge your phones, tablets, and MP3 players wherever you go.

The Problem with portables

So, here's the thing with most portable batteries: they're convenient for when you're on the go, but usually only for a fairly short amount of time. Throw one in your bag, and you've got the ability to charge your phone as you bustle from place to place while you run errands, when you go out on the town on a Friday night, or if you're a college kid who doesn't have time to find an outlet to charge your phone or your tablet. It's useful, but even then, most people usually have enough downtime in their day to either plug their phone into an outlet or into a car's charging port, so while they do provide a service, they're more or less just for extending the amount of time we can spend between having to find outlets, and usually only for a day or so at a time.



But what if you're not going to be near an outlet in several hours? What about several days? That's where GoBat 12000 comes in. It's an ultra-rugged charger that is designed for those times and places where you're not going to to have the conventional methods to charge your phone. Think hiking, camping, long car rides with multiple people, extended traveling -- the sort of situations when you're not always sure when you're going to be able to find the next reliable power source.

Built to take you on

The GoBat 12000 is a lot more rugged than the other portable batteries that we've checked out. It's heavy, and feels substantial in your hand. Like other "life-resistant" products from Scosche, the GoBat 12000 is designed to take a beating. It's got a tough polycarbonate housing that conforms to Military Spec 810G drop/shock requirements, meaning that it can handle being dropped from at least four feet onto plywood and concrete 26 times, and can still continue to work. The GoBat 12000 is also IP68 rated, which translates to it being completely protected from dust, sand, dirt, salt, and whatever particles that may be thrown at it, but also considered watertight indefinitely, provided that the device is not submerged more than 10 feet.



So GoBat 12000 is game for just about whatever you are, including camping, canoeing, a day at the beach, mountain climbing, hiking through the rain forest -- whatever you want to do. While we were inspecting the GoBat 12000, we couldn't see any places where water or debris would be likely to get in. We especially liked how tight the seal around the charging ports were, which made us feel far more comfortable with the idea of taking this battery into the great outdoors.



Power for days

On top of being able to handle getting wet or being buried in sand, the GoBat 12000 contains a 12,000mAh battery that is going to be able to charge your smartphone multiple times. Scosche states that an iPhone 6s will be able to be charged up to six times from a completely drained battery, which is far more than any other powerbank we've tried out. We tested out our iPhone 6s with the GoBat 12000, and were able to get six and a half charges before we had to recharge the GoBat 12000 once, though it should be noted that two of our charges were from "near-dead" and not "completely dead." Still, if you're like us, chances are you're not going to wait until your phone shuts off before you're hooking it up to charge it again.



It's also worth noting that the GoBat 12000 comes with two charging ports, allowing you to charge two devices at once, rather than just one, which is especially helpful if you're trying to cut down on the amount of tech you're traveling with. The USB ports are 12 watts each, though the GoBat 12000 has internalized charging circuitry that is able to calculate the optimal power level for charging devices not meant to be charged at the full rate. This means that you don't have to worry about the dreaded overcharge, which can lead to devices overheating, shorting out, or the battery bulging and eventually exploding.

Design and features

As stated, the design is rugged, though not much to look at. Again, this is a device that is more about function than form. It features a multi-color LED that tells you the current battery charge level. Also included in the box is a micro USB cord that can be used to charge your GoBat 12000, as well as a carabiner clip that can be used to secure it to your belt loop, backpack, bike, or wherever you want to hang it so you'll always have it on hand.



The verdict

While it's certainly not the most attractive portable battery we've seen, it's probably the best that we've tested to date. It's not going to be one that you're going to need to replace just because you got caught in the rain or dropped it as you were getting out of your car. It'll happily go boating, camping, hiking, and on all your adventures without the risk of getting damaged. If you want your own GoBat 12000, you can get one from the Scosche website for $100.

Who the GoBat 12000 is for:
If you find that you're away from power for extended periods of time, or if you need a backup battery that can handle the great outdoors, this is perfect for you.

Who the GoBat 12000 isn't for:
If you don't regularly stray from the great indoors, don't bother with this one, it's not going to do anything that a regular, cheaper portable battery pack won't.

-- Amber Neely (@SurferAmber)

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