Portable battery backups are an incredibly useful category many users ignore. In the last 30 days, I have used one a couple of times and was thankful to have it every time. I used it while camping in the woods, while travelling to LA and when a day seemed to be neverending.
Ultimately I test dozens of these portable battery backups everyday and this time around it's the Jackery Bar's time.
I was actually impressed at the weight and size of this device. It is fairly small and compact compared to many other similarly powered devices. The exterior shell is aluminium while the 2 end caps are made of strong plastic.
I'm worried that long term, the aluminium will get dented and scratched. Time will tell.
The device is sleek save one button on the left side to turn the device on or to power the built in LED (more on that later).
The top has 3 charge level indicator lights.
The front has the 2 LED lights, a standard USB 2.0 out port (5V 2.1A) and a micro-USB to charge the device.
Some have complained that these 2 ports are too close but I didn't experience any issues with the setup. there was never a situation where I was charging the battery and a device at the same time.
The Jackery USA website seems to be confused about the battery capacity of the Jackery Bar. Let's assume it is 6000mAh.
The company goes to great lengths to communicate that it is using Grade A Samsung batteries. Which is a good thing.
I compared the charging speed of a completely dead iPhone 5s of charging it to 100% with the Jackery bar and the Apple branded 2.1A wall plug charger. They both charged the device at similar speed. This device was also able to charge a Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Note 3 a Nexus 7 and an iPad.
Most phones use between 2 and 2.1 amps to charge (you can check the power output on the OEM provided wall plug). The only phone that is designed to charge faster is the OPPO Find 7 /7A which can charge at 4.5AMPs. This means that using this battery with that phone will charge it at half the speed of the OPPO wall charger (but that is an exception because the phone is unique) but it does charge.
Once my device was fully charged, the battery seemed to switch itself off (which is a good thing).The device comes with a micro-USB cable to charge the battery (from a computer or wall plug) but you have to provide your device's USB cable.
I cooled the battery to just slightly above freezing and testing it's charging capacity. A room temperature Jackery Bar gives you about 3 charges. A near freezing Jackery Bar gives you just slightly more than 2 iphone 5s charges. You lose a bit with the cold temp but this is similar to other quality external batteries.
The company claims their battery lock technology will keep the device charged for up to 6 months of storage. I tested it for 30 days and was able to get 3 charges out of it.
You can recharge the battery using a wall plug and at the same time charge a device using the Jackery Bar but this isn't recommended as it will shorten the life of the lithium ion battery. so don't do it but it does work.
To charge a device, you plug the USB cable into the battery and press the white button on the side. That's it. You can of course use your smartphone or tablet and charge it at the same time. This is a nice option when taking lots of pictures or using high drain functions like GPS navigation.
I love flashlights and have all kinds from 70 lumen very small pocket sized ones and up. I tested this devices 2 LED flashlight function while camping in a pitch black forest (ideal environment to test a flashlight) and it is only usable to read something up close or to find your car's key hole.
Other than the above, the flashlight is pretty useless.
Charging the Jackery Bar
Charging the Jackery Bar using a high quality 2.1 A wall plug took about 6 hours. Here is my biggest complaint: The Jackery Bar should have a fast charge wall plug adapter (ideally with prongs built in).
Ultimately I think the Jackery bar is a nice little battery that delivers on its promise of fast consistent charging. It is light durable and relatively affordable Buy from Amazon now at $29 (link). At $29, it definetly a good buy.