Emie Power Note 5200mAh power bank review

We've seen many, many power banks come into the PC Advisor lab and, with a few exceptions, all are boring slabs with very little to differentiate between them. The Emie Power Note stands out for its excellent product design. Also see: Best power banks 2015.  

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If you're a student or you carry a ringbinder for work, its built-in binder holes and Micro-USB cable make the Power Note an ideal device for easy charging on the go. This 5200mAh Power Note is also slim and lightweight, with an aluminium chassis that is not only reassuringly tough but does a great job of dissipating heat. Tucked securely away in a ringbinder, you won't even know the Emie is there.  Also see: Best MiFi 2016.

Emie's even got the packaging right. The Power Note ships in its own little ringbinder, and its user manual is held in place by the clipped-in power bank. This thing is really cute.

Emie Power Note 5200mAh power bank review: A unique design makes this the ideal portable charger for students 

Emie's official outlet is Nathan Rd, where the Power Blade costs $54.99 (£35.44). If you've not heard of Nathan Rd, it specialises in bringing you the best, most unique, and passionately designed products to suit an urban lifestyle. Each stylish piece is hand-picked by the Nathan Rd team.  

The Power Note ships with a six-month warranty, which is shorter than that to which we are accustomed, but there is nothing in the Emie's design that gives us cause for concern. 

Wherever you buy the Power Note, at between £35 and £40 the Emie is expensive for a 5200mAh power bank. Don't write it off just yet, though: there are several things that may make you think it's worth the additional expense other rival cheaper models. 

We've already talked a little about the design, but this thing looks good. Even if you don't use a ringbinder, the ultra-slim (7mm) Power Note will slip easily into a laptop bag or handbag, and it's tough enough that no carry case is required to protect it. 

Our review sample came in black with orange accents; the Power Note is also available in blue and orange or white and orange. Better suited to Android- and Windows Phone users than iOS fans, an orange built-in Micro-USB cable runs neatly up the right edge and clips securely into the side, so you don't need the hassle of carrying additional cables.  

Emie Power Note 5200mAh power bank review: A unique design makes this the ideal portable charger for students

If you are using an iPad or iPhone, a USB output lets you attach your own Lightning cable. Note, however, that the Power Note's max output is 12W, so with both outputs engaged neither will run at full power.  

Unlike many power banks we've reviewed no LED flashlight is built into the Emie Power Note but, given its design, adding one here really wouldn't make sense. We're far more interested in how quickly and easily it can charge both your devices and itself, and on this front it does a good job. 

Whether you use the USB output or built-in cable, the Emie can output 12W to charge your attached phone or tablet. That's plenty for even the fussiest tablets, and will ensure as quick a charge as the device can handle. Also see: How to charge your phone or tablet faster. 

Don't expect to have 5200mAh of power to charge your devices, mind. Most power banks average around 70 percent efficiency, with some power lost through voltage conversion and heat generated. In such a circumstance you may find only around 3640mAh available, which for most Android phones is a little over one full charge. Still, how many times do you actually need to recharge your phone when you're meant to be working? Also see: How to improve smartphone battery life. 

When the Emie runs out of juice a USB cable is included in the box for refilling it. You simply attach one end to your phone or tablet charger, and the other to the Micro-USB input on the device's bottom. How quick the Emie charges depends on your adaptor, but with a 10W input it should be reasonably fast. 

So how do you know when the battery is empty? We've expressed our dislike of LED status indicators in high-capacity power banks before, much preferring an LCD for an exact readout, but at 5200mAh four LEDs are more than sufficient for telling you at a glance how much power remains. These will activate when you push the small button beside them, which is also used to begin charging - the Emie does not support auto-on or -off. 

Interestingly, though, it does appear to support passthrough charging (allowing you to simultaneously charge the Power Note and an attached phone or tablet). We found we didn't need to push the button to start charging here either, since the Emie was automatically activated when plugged into mains power. Also see: Best desktop chargers 2015.

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Emie Power Note 5200mAh: Specs

  • 5200mAh lithium-polymer power bank
  • 10W (5V, 2A) Micro-USB input
  • 12W (5V, 2.4A) USB output, plus built-in Micro-USB cable with 12W (5V, 2.4A) output
  • max total output 12W (5V, 2.4A)
  • passthrough charging
  • four LEDs denote power status
  • no auto-on/-off
  • no carry case
  • 170x95x7mm
  • 200g
  • six-month warranty
  • 5200mAh lithium-polymer power bank
  • 10W (5V, 2A) Micro-USB input
  • 12W (5V, 2.4A) USB output, plus built-in Micro-USB cable with 12W (5V, 2.4A) output
  • max total output 12W (5V, 2.4A)
  • passthrough charging
  • four LEDs denote power status
  • no auto-on/-off
  • no carry case
  • 170x95x7mm
  • 200g
  • six-month warranty

OUR VERDICT

We love the Emie Power Note. It's a little expensive compared to some rival power banks, but its unique design goes a long way to make up for that. It offers fast charging and a handy built-in Micro-USB cable, too, meaning you can leave the cable clutter at home.