It’s inevitable, when you need an electrical outlet to charge your phone one won’t be available, or someone will already be using it. Luckily, external batteries have become extremely common. Not just for phones either, these batteries are typically good for charging all sorts of electronics in your bag.
There are lots—like A LOT—of different types of external batteries made for charging electronic devices, but we’re going with some newer and very specific ones to compare: the Mophie Powerstation Plus and the Fluxmob Bolt.
Both batteries have a 3000mAh capacity, which should be enough to fully recharge most phones. The Powerstation Plus (at 2x) has a dedicated charging cable built in, while the Bolt has an open USB port and built-in electrical prongs to act as a wall charger as well.
Each serves the same broad purpose, but also has a specialty which makes it worth featuring.
The Fluxmob Bolt is about the size of an iPad wall charger, just differently shaped. It’s extremely portable as both a wall charger or battery, but even more so pulling double duty. I was able to stuff it multiple places in my bag, but because of it’s rectangular block shape, it’s not exactly pocketable.
This is the type of backup battery for people with lots of different types of devices. It’s USB port for charging means you’ll still have to carry at least one cable, possibly more if you need lightning and microUSB. But recharging the battery is extremely convenient—as simple as plugging it into an outlet. Compared to other ones which need a microUSB cable plugged into a computer or separate USB wall charger (like the Mohpie Powerstation Plus).
The Bolt performed well overall. It could charge my half empty iPhone 6 Plus over the course of an hour. It did take a few hours to fully recharge the Bolt plugged into the wall, but that’s par-for-the-course compared to other batteries.
The Bolt may not really be a great shape for carrying around in a pocket, but it definitely fits well in the palm of a hand. It’s rubberized exterior and fun design also make it attractive—I doubt you’ll want to hide it away.
I did notice some occasional electric battery hissing, the kind of gargling sound laptop power bricks have been known to make. It was concerning, though only audible every so often. Fluxmob said it wasn’t normal and offered to replace the unit. I didn’t notice any actual issues with charging devices or using it as battery for my phone.
The ability to have one USB wall charger I can carry around that also acts as a full capacity battery is so great. It makes you wonder why all wall chargers don’t have a battery built-in as well.
The Mophie Powerstation Plus is identical to the Bolt in its battery capabilities, but it serves a different type of traveler or user. The Powerstation Plus is really clever about its integrated cable system. The metal top hinges open and two parts fold neatly onto each other. Either one or both sides of the cable can be unfolded and the lid can close flush again. The cable also functions as a syncing cable beyond just charging.
Personally, I really like not having to worry about bringing a cable haphazardly flung in my bag—even if that means the Mophie is a little harder to charge when its out of juice.
It worked as well as it was advertised. I could flip out the lightning cable side and begin charging my phone quickly and efficiently.
The roughly 2-inch cable was also long enough to fold the metal rectangle behind my phone and carry in the palm of my hand. Its brushed aluminum top and bottom match the MacBook computers nicely, but its edges are a little sharp in the hand. Also, if you don’t use a case with your iPhone it may be concerning to hold metal against metal.
The whole package and functional use is very slick, but it definitely comes at a premium for $79. You can find lesser name brand 3000mAh batteries on Amazon for a fraction of the price. The difference is the reliability and warranty that comes with a Mophie and the attention to design and aesthetics.
Mophie has long had different battery packs, but the latest version of the Powerstation Plus integrates either a lightning or microUSB cable, depending on your needs. It also comes in different variants: (2X) 3000 (3X) 5000 (4X) 7000 (8X) 12000mAh. As the capacities get higher, however, the batteries do get larger and less pocketable. The 4X and 8X also come with an extra USB onboard for charging multiple phones or tablets at the same time.
The 2X (3000mAh) unit I tested was thin and could reasonably be carried in a pocket if needed, but its shape and attached cable still made connecting at certain angles slightly harder than using a typical charging cable.
Both backup batteries are wonderful choices, each serving a slightly different type of traveler and need. For those that typically only need one additional charge while on a day trip or other random adventures will probably be best served by the Mophie Powerstation Plus. On the other hand, those that already carry a cable and wall charger around will get lots of extra benefit out of the Fluxmob Bolt in daily use.
For my minimal day-to-day use the Powerstation Plus came in handy with the built in lightning cable. I could grab it and not worry about my phone’s battery level. Plus I hate wrapping up cords and keeping track of them in my bag. Recharging the Powerstation was, of course, still a bit of a hassle.
The question for you though, which type of battery benefits you? Chances are one of these two will fill a specific need you have when leaving your house for the day.