Review: Tylt Energi 2K battery pack

Battery offers 2,000 mAh of power with an easy to read LED for capacity levels (June 27th, 2014)

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Product Manufacturer: Tylt

Price: $39.99

The Good

  • LED indicator
    - Pass-through charging
    - Slim design

The Bad

  • Damage resistance
    - Plastic shell
    - Toggle to charge

Backup batteries are gaining ground as one of the devices that, for many users, must be carried around every day. With lives connected to smartphones and entwined with social media, many people end up facing a shortage in battery power from constant use. This means that consumers need to find a battery solution to fit their needs. But with so many options available on the market, which is the right one to choose? One possible solution is the Tylt Energi 2K.

The Energi 2K is the smallest of Tylt's models in the Energi line of backup battery packs. While its siblings range from 3,000mAh to 10,400mAh, the Energi 2K sits lower at 2,000mAh. Utilizing one USB A port for device charging, the battery allows a single device to charge at 1A. The Energi is recharged through a micro USB port that sits next to the USB A port on one of the shorter sides of the battery.

Current model phones may not reach the full charging potential of the Energi 2K, since batteries seem to be getting larger and larger. Apple phones can utilize all the power the Energi 2K offers, considering the iPhone 4s contains a 1,420mAh battery and the iPhone 5s contains a 1,560mAh battery. Each phone can be fully charged by Tylt's battery, with some room to spare. On the other hand, phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One (M8) will tap the unit out before topping off, because of the respective 2,800mAh and 2,600mAh capacity batteries.

Charging times for the unit are varied, depending on how the charge indicator is interpreted by users. Tylt states that the charging time for the Energi 2K is around four or five hours. When plugged into a USB port on a MacBook Pro, the Energi took about 4.5 hours to reach a full charge where the LED turned off. However, the LED turned green at the three hour and five minute mark. Time to charge a device off the battery varies as well, but for an iPhone 4s charging from 4 to 100 percent took three hours and 10 minutes.

Using the battery to charge a device is an easy experience that doesn't require much more than simply connecting a smartphone to the Energi 2K. No over-the-top switches need to be flipped or gimmicks need to be waited on to begin charging. Once a device is connected, there is a button on the side of the battery that a user needs to trigger for the unit discharge power to a device. Users can then stop the transfer, turning the Energi 2K off by holding the button down for about two seconds. This keeps the Energi from constantly discharging or being forced to trickle charge if it remains connected to a device. It also prevents accidental bumps that would turn it off.

However, it does come with a slight drawback. If it's triggered as on, the battery doesn't switch it to an off mode when the USB cable is removed. Until the button is held down again, simply plugging a device in again begins the charging process. Tylt says that the Energi 2K includes load-detection circuity, allowing it to turn on or off depending if something is connected. This means that either way, the battery should stop discharging. The trigger button may not seem like a big deal, but it comes into play with checking capacity levels.

Stashing an LED in the button, the Energi uses a series of colors and flashes to tell users the capacity left in the battery. The trick to it is that pressing the button to check the LED also turns the battery on. Colors indicate the level of the battery, with green meaning a level of 70 to 100 percent, amber being 35 to 70 percent, solid red signifying 15 to 35 percent and a flashing red light means it's at less than 15 percent capacity.

One neat feature is the ability to utilize pass-through charging. If electrical outlets are limited and the battery needs to be charged for the next day, users won't be faced with the decision to charge either the battery or a phone. Instead, the phone can be plugged into the battery and the battery can then be plugged into the electrical source. It isn't a perfect system, as small power draws eventually means the battery sees intermittent charge requests. It also causes the Energi to get a little warm. However, it also generates a little bit of heat when it is charged in normal situations.

The outer case for the battery is made from plastic, black in color, with a band wrapped around the center that comes in red, gray or blue. The plastic as a subtle texture to it, and is about 0.08 inches thick. It makes Energi feel cheap, but only because users can feel differences in the way it's weighted. The balance of the battery puts most of the weight on the side where the USB ports are.

Dimensions for the battery are 3.74 x 2.28 x 0.43 inches, with a weight of 0.16 pounds. The Energi 2K is a thin, lightweight battery that is easy to tuck behind other things in a pocket or bag. However, the casing isn't very damage resistant. When photos were taken of the Energi, it was accidentally dropped on concrete. When retrieved, several small scratches and nicks were discovered on the corner and side where it struck the ground. The battery fell no more than five feet. It doesn't seem like the casing will break, but it isn't as resistant as other backups with aluminum cases or rubberized coatings.

While Tylt's Energi 2K doesn't bring the largest capacity battery to the table, it offers a number of other good features to consider. Pass-through charging and a clear LED indicator give users options to play with to keep the device ready for daily use. However, the same LED indicator can be considered a hindrance, since it's tied to turning the battery on. It isn't a deal-breaker, but it works opposite of the intent of the button.

The small, lightweight design works in its favor, but the plastic doesn't offer much damage resistance. If users are careful with their possessions or don't care if something is in pristine condition, then its surface damage shouldn't be an issue. As long as the 2,000 mAh battery capacity suits the needs of a consumer, then the $40 price for the Energi 2K makes it a good value.

by Jordan Anderson


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