Stu’s Unibank Power Bank Review explores a device designed to offer a true off grid power solution. Please read on to find out more.
Whether on a remote expedition or in everyday life, we have never been more dependant on our power hungry devices. Whether for communication, to entertain us, help us navigate or record our adventures. We are usually packing some tech along with our other equipment. However, this raises the challenge of how to recharge these essential gadgets when we’re away from a reliable mains supply.
Most powerbank chargers have a limited capacity and so, once depleted, they are no longer useable. Solar chargers may be an option but they are weather and time of day dependent. They can also take a long time to recharge a device in less than optimum conditions. The Unibank is a new device designed to solve these problems. I was delighted to be asked to take one for a test ride.
The Unibank is an international award winning device. It’s polymer lithium-ion battery has 5000mAh capacity with a 2 year lifespan. This makes it an ideal choice for charging items like smart phones or other small electronics.
But, the Unibank offers more than being a simple battery charger. The other trick up its sleeve is its innovative pull cord charging system. As well as recharging from mains electricity, Unibank houses an integral self-charging mechanism.
This is activated by pulling a cord to spin the charger with muscle power converting your efforts to battery power. Unibank claim that pulling the cord 90 times can generate enough power for 25 minutes of smart phone talk time. This makes it great as an option for use in emergencies.
Your electronic accessories connect to the Unibank via a micro USB cable, but no other adapters are provided. You’ll need to provide your own charger if, for example, you are an iPhone user.
The Unibank also increases its versatility with a range of accessories (available at additional cost). The unit supplied to us came with an LED torch attachment which costs £24.95. There is also a panic alarm accessory (£24.95) available plus distance measurer (£74.95) and Bluetooth speaker. Finally, there are silicone sleeves, body clips and arm sleeves available.
The other key detail with the Unibank is its capability to link to a smartphone via the Unibank App (iOS10 or newer & Android 5 or newer). This allows the user to check the battery power level in your device or the unit itself. It also allows control of the optional accessories.
The Unibank is a fairly hefty unit. Infact, it weighs 461g with the USB lead and 481g with the ambient light attached. This is probably inevitable given the need to house the power generating mechanism, but it is something to consider. I wouldn’t consider this suitable for a lightweight mission but it would be great for a base camp or use form a vehicle.
The upside of this heftiness is that is built to be extremely durable. The solid plastic construction (and an optional silicone sleeve is available) will keep it working reliably in harsh conditions.
In test, I used the Ambient Light attachment. This simply plugs into connectors at the end of the charger. The App then allows you to choose from a full-spectrum colour pallet. This was bright enough to light up a room with mood lighting and would be perfect for illuminating a tent in the evening.
Connecting the App is easy and the App is free. The App enables you to monitor battery levels in your device or the Unibank itself. There are also 4 LED indicators which give you an idea of how much charge is left in Unibank. You can also get information about how much time remains for various activities such as gaming, browsing, talking or viewing media.
A pull cord is used to induce charge into the powerbank and the plastic toothed cogs which generate the power are visible through a small window in the cover. The instructions recommend pulling the cord for 30 seconds and then resting for 30 seconds. This is then repeated twice more. In our tests this will generate around 10% battery charge and this is enough for about 25 mins of talk time on a typical smartphone.
Overall, I think the Unibank will suit some users more than others due to its size and weight. But, if it does suit your requirements then you will never be without power for your devices. A great feature in emergency situations.
Unibank retails at £89.95, with the accessories priced separately. Full details are available on the Unibank website here.