Review: OLALA 7500mAh Slide Power Bank

2017-04-16 - Power bank.jpeg

A few weeks ago I was contacted by OLALA about testing out and reviewing the OLALA Power Bank here on 1Wayswim. As someone who relies mostly on iOS devices to stay productive and am always on the go, keeping my devices powered is extremely of course I was interested!

The image on the right shows the 2 cables stored within the Power Bank once you slide the front cover over

The image on the right shows the 2 cables stored within the Power Bank once you slide the front cover over

What is the Power Bank?

The OLALA Slide Power Bank is a 7500 mAh portable battery pack that is MFi certified, which means it is certified to meet Apple performance standards to work with iPod, iPhone and iPad devices. A 7500 mAh battery is pretty significant battery capacity, enough to fully charge an iPhone 7 three times and an iPhone 7 Plus twice. The unique aspect of the Slide Power Bank is the "slide." Built right into the Power Bank under a sliding front cover are two charging cables. The first cable is a lightning cable you can use to charge any iOS device with a lightning port. The 2nd cable is a USB cable, which is used as an input cable to charge the device. Plug this USB cable into a computer port or a charge brick and you can quickly and simply recharge your Power Bank. But the Power Bank can also charge other devices as well. On the outside of the Power Bank there is a USB port. Simply plug in any USB charging cable to this port and the Power Bank will charge any device you connect to it (it provides 5 V 2.4 A of power). The Power Bank also comes with a micro USB charging cable that can either be used to charge devices that accept micro USB or be used to charge the Power Bank using the micro USB input port on the side of the device.

The Power Bank charging up my iPad Pro and iPhone at the same time

The Power Bank charging up my iPad Pro and iPhone at the same time

Why is the Power Bank so special?

Cables are a pain. They are difficult to properly store and carry and tend to tangle and wear out over time. It also seems that despite how many cables you carry with you, the cable you need at the time is the one cable that you don't have. So the biggest design feature of the Power Bank is that it has all the cables you need built right in. Simply slide off the front cover and you have cables that will let you charge all of you iOS devices and allow you to recharge the Power Bank itself. With the sliding cover in place, the Power Bank can be stored and carried as a very compact and sturdy unit without having to worry about carrying additional cables. In my case, I carry the Power Bank in my GRID-IT! sleeve in the back of my Tom Bihn messenger bag.

My GRID-IT keeps the Power Bank secure and slides right into the back pouch of my Tom Bihn Messenger bag

My GRID-IT keeps the Power Bank secure and slides right into the back pouch of my Tom Bihn Messenger bag

After using the Power Bank for a week I can say that it charges my devices just as quickly as a computer or a wall charging brick. The operation of the sliding front cover is smooth and easy to operate and the integrated cables have just enough length to be useful but not so much to make re-stowing them difficult. Overall I have been very impressed.

This summer I will be taking my son on a 500 mile bike ride across Kansas. We cycle for about 75-100 miles each day and then camp at local schools across the state each night. As you can imagine, keeping your devices powered when there are 850 other riders scrambling for power outlets is very challenging. Now, when I do find an available power outlet, I can charge up the OLALA Slide Power Bank and it in turn will top off all of our iOS devices...a much more efficient way for us to handle our charging needs that week. Plus, you tend to be a lot less nervous about leaving a $40-$50 external battery plugged in and charging for a few hours unattended than you do a $1000 iOS device. So if you find yourself running out of power on a regular basis, the OLALA Slide Power Bank is an all-in-one option you should definitely check out.

A special thanks to OLALA for providing me with an OLALA Slide Power Bank for the purposes of this review...

Yes, the Apple Watch Can Be Used to Monitor Sleep

All the big tech sites have published their reviews of the Apple Watch and I am still seeing some of these reviews complain that the Apple Watch can't be used to track your sleep because of lack of battery. This is simply not true.

I think the reason that people are saying you can't wear the Apple Watch to bed at night to track your sleep is becasue they are assuming you must charge your Apple Watch all night in order to get through the next day without running out of battery. But the Apple Watch is not an iPhone or an iPad. The battery is much much smaller. You don't have to charge the Apple Watch all night long (or even a significant portion of the night) like you do an iPhone or an iPad in order to go from near zero battery level to full. On the Apple website they explain that it takes about 90 minutes to charge the watch from 0% to 80% and 2 1/2 hours to go from completely empty to completely full (these numers are based on the 38 mm Apple Watch). However, the reviewers so far have actully been getting about a day and a half out of the Apple Watch battery. That means that every day and half you are going to need to spend a total of 2 1/2 charging your Apple Watch (or a little more than 1.5 hours a day). Let's just round it up to 2 hours of charge time needed per day. After all, if you are going to use the watch to monitor your sleep it is going to take some additional battery power.

So if you need to charge your Apple Watch about 2 hours a day and you would like to wear it night while you sleep, how can you make this work? Below are several opportunities for you to charge your Apple Watch:

  1. Take your Apple Watch off as soon as you wake up in the morning and charge it while you are getting ready for work (30-60 minutes)
  2. If you are like me and eat lunch at your desk most day, take it off and charge it during lunch (you are in front of your computer and you have your iPhone on your desk next to you, do you really need to be wearing your Apple Watch while you eat?) (30 minutes)
  3. Charge your Apple Watch why you reading in bed (or watching TV) before you go to sleep. I'm generally reading on my iPad so I'm already getting notifications. (30-60 minutes)
  4. I get a few periods at work every day in between meetings where I get to catch up on work at my desk. I will also use this time (if needed) to charge up my Apple Watch.
  5. I tend to shower at night, so I will be charging my Apple Watch while I am getting cleaned up at night (I know Tim Cook said he showered with his watch, but I don't plan on showering with mine)

The first 3 potential opportunities to charge your Apple Watch throughout the day that I listed above will give me between 1 1/2 hours and 2 1/2 hours which should be enough to keep my Apple Watch from ever completely going empty during a 24 hour period. But that doesn't take into account my daily shower time and time between meetings at work. Bottom line, I will have plenty of convienent times during the day to charge my Apple Watch so I can wear it all night to monitor my sleep.

The Apple Watch is not an iPhone or an iPad, so don't assume that charging it all night every night is the best solution. Honestly, I think having an Apple Watch with 2-3 times the current battery capacity would be a mistake. If you don't have to get on a charging routine with it then you risk forgetting every other day or two to charge it and end up with a dead watch. I am finding this with my iPhone 6 Plus. I can go 2 or more days between charges but I charge it every night so it has battery when I need it. Do the same thing with your Apple Watch. Get in a charging routine that works well with your normal routine and stick with it.

Do the math and think outside the iPhone and iPad box and I think you will find that the Apple Watch will work quite well as a sleep monitor for those that want to use it for that purpose. If you do sleep with your Apple Watch, I suggest wearing it on your other wrist at night. Wearing something metal against your skin nearly 24/7 isn't good. Give the skin on your wrist a chance to breathe a little at night.

FaceBook Battery Drain on iOS

 I'm sure at some point FaceBook will fix this issue with their App. In the mean time I am actually enjoying NOT having FaceBook on my iPhone, afterall I do still have it on my iPad. Checking in on FaceBook once or twice a day only using my iPad is more than enough and the iPad battery is much "tougher" and can therefore take the extra battery drain punishment the FaceBook app seems be dishing out right now.

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