External Battery Roundup: Stay Away From The Wall Socket

PowerTraveller PowerGorilla And MiniGorilla

Straight out of the UK, we have PowerTraveler’s PowerGorilla and MiniGorilla. I’m not sure about the motivation behind this company’s fascination with primates, as most of its products are named after gorillas or monkeys, but PowerTraveler is trying to aim its products toward folks living an active lifestyle.

Both batteries employ a rugged design, similar to those from Bruton. There are some differences, though. We'd argue that the PowerGorilla was built with less impact resistance in mind.

PowerTraveller saddled rubber bumpers on the sides of both batteries, but only the MiniGorilla is encased in rubberized plastic. Meanwhile, the PowerGorilla is housed in an aluminium shell.

Besides Electryovaya’s PowerPads, the PowerGorilla and MiniGorilla are the only other batteries in this roundup to use an LCD. But disappointingly, this battery gauge is a bar meter. The LCD clearly wasn’t designed with the meter in mind. Instead, it provides a way for you to select the correct voltage. If your notebook is already connected, simply hit the On/Off button to cycle through the options. Once you get to a compatible voltage, the battery detects the current drain and blinks to indicate its locked selection.

I discovered this can be a faulty process. Some notebooks trickle drain off of a 16 V charge. If this happens, the battery mistakenly locks into a voltage that doesn’t charge or power your notebook. You need to unplug the external battery pack and cycle manually through to the correct voltage before you plug it in.

Both batteries charge at 16 V with the included chargers, but only the PowerGorilla comes with a set of right-angled input tips, which allows you to charge using your notebook’s stock adapter. With that said, both batteries feature the most complete set of accessories seen in this roundup. The US plug is compatible in Japan and Canada by default, but PowerTraveller also includes the UK and Australia/Europe adapters as well.

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  • sylvain
    Interesting read. Would it be possible to do a similar test for pure USB external batteries. Used for adding that extra bit of juice to an iPad, iPhone or similar devices?
  • Anonymous

    I am interested in using the battery for a DSLR video rig, i want to use the 12v to power the camera, then split the 5v to power both an asus wicast and a SDI to HDMI down convertor. both these last two devices take a 5v feed. would this be possible do you think?
  • Spanamana
    I purchased one of these batteries from a UK supplier and have to say I have never encountered such poor customer service in a long time. They claim that they supply one free tip a year. Rubbish! When you try to get one for a iPad 3 or later, they charge you $10 because they changed the name of it from "tip".

    After 8 months the battery started not keeping its charge. I tried to use the 2 year warranty to get it replaced and found out that although the unit is guaranteed for two years, the battery is only guaranteed for 6 months. Then I was told that it would cost too much to get it repaired as there is no UK repair centre and therefore there is a charge of $30 for a replacement.

    Having delivered the replacement battery, I have not received a VAT order for £21 for import duty from TNT. So a battery that cost me £50 has now cost me £95.

    Shonky product, useless service. Don't waste your money.