These days, the portable battery pack is about as commoditized as the phones they top up — more so, in fact, if you've checked Amazon lately. You can find 10,000mAh chargers from reputable companies like Aukey and Anker starting around $35, and they do the job with two ports and plenty of speed.
So how do you make a charger like that interesting? By reducing its size. Zendure, the company behind a host of other battery and charging solutions, is currently selling its 10,000mAh SuperMini on Indiegogo at an early backer price of $34. The diminutive battery is significantly smaller than the average pack, in part because of its use of GaN (gallium nitride) instead of traditional silicon to produce the components, which allows the components to take up far less space, leaving only the battery cells itself. I say cells plural because the capacity is actually achieved through two separate 5,000mAh batteries, which also helps the company save space inside the chassis by stacking them on top of one another.
Other than its size — the SuperMini is 79 x 56 x 26mm, which is significantly stouter than Anker's equivalent 10,000 mAh battery — it has two things going for it. It can output 18 watts through both its USB-C port (using USD Power Delivery) and its USB-A port, through Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 standard; and it can take 18W to charge back up, significantly reducing the time it takes to get back to 100% (Zendure says around three hours in total), compared to battery packs that charge over Micro-USB.
This is definitely one of the nicer-looking chargers I've seen, even without its fancy blue paint job.
The company's also developed a trickle charge solution to allow for smaller products like wearables to receive the right amount of current; because of their small batteries, many smartwatches and other wearables can't be topped up through a typical battery bank.
I used the SuperMini for about a week, taking it everywhere my phone went, even sometimes stuffing it in my pocket. It's not exactly pocketable — depends on the pants — but it's definitely more so than any other I've used with this much capacity. Accounting for overhead and line loss, the 10,000mAh cell should be able to top up most phones at least twice before needing a recharge. It can also charge via the USB-A port while it's being charged itself, which is neat.
Keep in mind that like most of these kinds of chargers, the SuperMini can only do 18 watts output in total, which means that it's going to divide that number between the two ports when two products are plugged in. In my testing, that meant giving 12W to the USB-C port and 6W to the USB-A port, which is par for the course.
Zendure sent me a prototype version of of the SuperMini, and despite the early nature of the hardware it felt well-built and substantial. The company is really pushing its "Blue Horizon" color on its Indiegogo page, which it says took "over 500 hours to optimize," but I got sent the boring (but probably less scratch-prone) black model. It honestly looks like a piece of luggage — and that's probably not an accident.
If you're interested in checking out the SuperMini, the campaign lasts until September 15, where you can pick up one for $34 or two for $69. The product has already been funded nearly 10 times over, and Zendure has done a bunch of these campaigns before — so you don't have to worry about its legitimacy.
Are you going to pick up the GaN-powered SuperMini battery pack? Let us know in the comments below!
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