Which one is better?
Xiaomi’s powerbanks have been a perennial favorite when it first stepped on the scene in the PH market a few months ago. Since then they have been the benchmark of consumers looking for a great powerbank at a low price. Their recently released 10,000mAh powerbank (which isn’t available in the PH as of yet) is another great addition to their lineup, but there’s another challenger in town.
That challenger is ASUS with their Zenpower 10050mAh powerbank. There’s been a large demand for ASUS’ new powerbank, and today we’ll be taking a look at both powerbanks to see how each one stacks up to one another. This is what we’d like to call a definitive head-to-head: we’re not only going to be taking a look at their specs, features and price – we’ll also be stripping both powerbanks down to compare their internals and inner workings.
Before we do that, let’s take a look at both products: Xiaomi’s 10,000 Mi Powerbank was released only recently and has not arrived in the PH market as of yet, though it retails at around 79 RMB in China, which is roughly Php 580.
The ASUS Zenpower is a recent contender in the market, showing up just a few weeks ago in Lazada. Priced at Php 795, it’s slightly more expensive compared to Xiaomi’s offering, although it is offered in the Philippines through Lazada and soon through offline stores everywhere.
Let’s start with the comparo!
The packaging of the Zenpower is colorful and functional – the color of the powerbank that you buy is easily identifiable by the packaging it contains. The Zenpower is wrapped in a protective film to prevent scratches during shipping and handling, and comes with an English manual.
Xiaomi on the other hand has a simple, no nonsense packaging, in line with its other products and the powerbank itself has a protective tape to cover the button and USB ports on top, plus a Chinese manual. It may be difficult to discern which color variant that the package has – the colors can be differentiated by reading the words under the barcode in Chinese.
ASUS has a penchant of designing really quality products that are ergonomic and easy to use, and theZenpower is no exception: it’s small, compact and easy to carry, which is surprising considering the capacity. The shell is made out of aluminum for maximum weight savings, though it still resembles Xiaomi’s offering.
Speaking of Xiaomi, the company has kept the design of their powerbank the same ever since the first one came out a few years ago, which has now become an iconic design that many companies have copied. It has rounded edges on the sides making it easy to grip and carry. Like the Zenpower the Mi Powerbank’s outer shell is made of aluminum to keep the weight down.
Both powerbanks sport a large, easy to press power button on top plus 4 LED indicators to tell you how much juice is left in the tank. A micro USB slot is used to charge the powerbank while the standard USB is used to charge your device.
To really see what differentiates both powerbanks, we need to take a peek in the components inside. To do this, you’ll need to remove the base that’s held on via adhesives, and remove the screws. Once you remove the internals from the aluminum shell for both products, you’ll see that both powerbanks use 3 pcs of SANYO 3350mAh rechargeable batteries, model number NCR18650BE.
ASUS has long been one of the leaders in manufacturing PC products, therefore their mastery of the boards and chipsets are second to none. Here we can see that the main circuit board of the Zenpower is pretty neat given the track record of ASUS.
Taking a peek at the Zenpower’s board, we can clearly see that the grounding cable is covered in a grey jacket while a pink cable is connected to the positive terminal wherein as the black cable is connected the negative terminal. Only 3 transistors (used to regulate the flow of current to the board) can be seen in the Zenpower. One thing we noticed was the cost cutting effort done by ASUS by using electrical wire to connect to the board to the negative terminal of the battery. The black wire is running along the side of the battery which is potentially unsafe – any kind of laceration will expose the metal underneath, and will touch the aluminum casing. If that happens, anybody touching the powerbank might get (mildly) shocked if this happens. ASUS also used clear cellophane textured tape to protect the wires and terminals of the powerbank. As for the bumper of the battery against the aluminum casing, Asus used some sort of a tape with thick black padding which easily gets worn out when you slide the battery in an out of the case a few couple of times.
Xiaomi known for their quality at jaw dropping price, always never fails to amaze their fans with creative new products at very affordable prices. We can see that the main board of the Xiaomi Powerbank 10000 Mah is pretty much full of transistors, primarily used to regulate the current going from the electrical outlet to the powerbank, then from powerbank to your mobile devices. Solid flat metal is used to connect the board and the negative terminal which is placed at the gap in between batteries 2 and 3 to prevent it from touching the aluminum case.
The solid flat metal is also used to connect the main board to the positive terminal, and are covered with yellow thermal insulation tape. The sides of the batteries are attached with rubberized padding to prevent the batteries from rattling inside the case and to provide insulation against short circuit. The padding pretty much resists wear and tear even after we slide it in and out several times during our test. It’s obvious that Xiaomi put a little more effort on the white top and bottom cover as well, as they attached some clips to function as a guide so it will be properly aligned during production or even during repairs.
Most of our complaints about the internals of ASUS and Xiaomi are a moot point to normal users as they probably won’t be opening their powerbanks anytime soon to take a peek inside, though we did feel that Xiaomi put a little more care in making their powerbank compared to ASUS.
We completely drained two Zenpowers and two Mi Powerbanks till the last drop of electricity for this performance test. The Zenpower has an input of 1.0A using the provided USB cable in the box. The first Zenpower managed to get fully charged within 8 ½ hours with an overall capacity of 7625mAh. The second Zenpower’s LED light stopped blinking after 9 hours, with a total capacity of 8185mAh. The Xiaomi Powerbank on the other hand, had an input that varied from 0.65A to 0.8A during the charging process. The first powerbank was completely full in around 12 and 1/2 hours with a fully loaded battery capacity of 9149mAh. The second Mi Powerbank got fully charged after 11 ½ hours, with a total reading of 8729mAh.
Many of you are wondering why both brands of powerbanks did not achieve their full, advertised capacities. It’s simple: physics. It takes energy to transfer energy. All that circuitry that you saw above also controls the amount of power fed into the powerbank and the amount of power that leaves it, which surprise surprise, also needs a little bit of power to function. Without it, there’s a big chance that both your powerbank and phone may get damaged or explode because of the currents involved. Both ambient temperature and the actual temperature of the batteries inside the power banks are also a factor. To put it simply, the mAh ratings on powerbanks aren’t necessarily what you’ll get when you’re actually using them.
Who supplies more juice?
To accurately test how much power each powerbank delivered to mobile devices, we drained the phones completely and charged them using the supplied USB cable of both brands. The Zenpower can supply a stable 1.09A to the ASUS Zenfone 2, 1.16A to the Xiaomi Mi Note and 1.31A to the iPhone 6. On the other hand, the Xiaomi MiPowerbank can supply 1.08A to the Asus Zenfone 2, 1.16A to the Xiaomi Mi Note and 1.45A to the iPhone 6.
Our main goal is to find out how much a powerbank can store and send to your devices, how many times it can actually charge your phone. ASUS claims that the Zenpower can charge the Zenfone 2 around 2.5 times. That’s an odd claim, especially considering that the 10050mAh battery capacity of the Zenpower can (theoretically) charge the Zenfone 2 up to 3.25 times. In retrospect, ASUS factored in the issues of capacity in powerbanks that we explained earlier.
Anyway, the first ASUS Zenpower managed to impart 6530mAh to 3 different mobile devices while the second Zenpower managed 6590mAh, again, to three different devices. On the other hand, the first Xiaomi Mi Powerbank managed to give around 6975mAh of juice, while the second one managed to give around 6672mAh.
There are transistors attached to the circuit board above the batteries of the powerbank in order to regulate the current flowing into the batteries and into your mobile devices. As you can see in Xiaomi Mi Powerbank, it is full of transistors to better regulate the current compared to the ASUS Zenpower has a total of 3 transistors found in their circuit board. We can clearly see that Xiaomi is all about efficiency and quality, not just low cost.
Efficiency can be easily computed by the formula Output divided by Input.
- 1st Asus Zenpower = 6530 Mah / 7625 Mah = 85.63%
- 2nd Asus Zenpower = 6590 Mah / 8185 Mah = 80.51%
- 1stMiPowerbank = 6975 Mah / 9149 Mah = 76.24%
- 2ndMiPowerbank = 6672 Mah / 8729 Mah = 76.43%
We can see here that the Zenpower definitely is more efficient having a efficiency rating of above 80% while Xiaomi is running around 76% efficiency. But in terms of giving more charge to your mobile devices, no doubt it’s the Xiaomi Powerbank.
Conclusion: ASUS Zenpower for better design and efficiency, Xiaomi Mi Powerbank for better overall build quality and more juice
So, after roughly 1,600 words, what do we think of the two products? Well, ASUS’ Zenpower has an overall better, more compact design and better overall efficiency compared to Xiaomi’s Mi Powerbank. That’s not to say that the Mi Powerbank is left out in the cold – Xiaomi has taken more care into making their powerbank compared to ASUS and stores more power. It’s also cheaper than the Zenpower, at RMB 79 or Php 580. The biggest hurdle for people looking for this powerbank will be availability, as it has not yet officially debuted in the Philippines as of yet.