LeGion 11,000 mAh Intelligent Portable Battery $99.99

LeGion 11,000 mAh Intelligent Portable Battery

Author
  • Design
  • Effeciency
  • Durability
  • Convenience
  • Value

Summary: The LeGion is one of the more intriguing batteries I have tested recently, and it is also one of the top performing. While not the first battery on the market to include a displace to show vitals, this device takes things to a new level delivering stats and information in a way none of its competitors comes close to. PLX Devices launched initially though Kickstarter, doing remarkably well collecting almost 5 times the goal they set out to get. It also has a smaller little brother with a rated capacity of 5,600 mAh. I only have the black 11,000 mAh, so the review will focus on that. The unit comes with a hefty price tag for its capacity, but in this case you are getting what you pay for. While its not perfect, it is a nice battery with a very good efficiency rating, and of course the OLED display that will deliver lots of great info to you.

Product Details
Battery Model: LEGION 11000
Rated Capacity: 11,000 mAh
Output ports: 2 (1A and 2.1A)
Input Port: 1 (1A)

Battery Features: Ports: The battery has 2 USB output ports and both can handle up to 2A output. The battery will automatically determine the output needed based on the device plugged in and deliver the power needed. This is inline with newer batteries on the market, doing away with the old, fixed 1A and 2A ports. On the input side the device has a single micro USB input port. The PLX website only states that the input is 5v and doesn’t have an amp rating listed. On the Kickstarter campaign page, its documented that the input can accept 2A, my preliminary charge testing validates this.

Fig 1. Input/Output Ports

While i haven’t completed “charging” tests for this battery, PLX states you can an 80% charge in about 4 hours, and the remaining 20% will take another 2-3 hours, which is typical for this type of battery. Only 1 issue was found with the ports, and that’s with the input port. As many of you will already know a micro USB cable only connects one way, as such many manufacturers design the casing to match the cable so a user can visually see which end is up. On the Legion device(s) the opening int he casing is squared, which results in it being very difficult to determine which way the plug goes.

Legion Intelligent Display Screen:

Fig 2. Legion Intelligent Display

As noted in the introduction, this battery does away with simple LED indicators and even basic LCDs found in some units. In exchange, PLX includes an advance OLED display, and by advanced I’m speaking more to the brains behind the display than I am of the display itself. This is a nie new piece of tech that PLX is carrying into some of their new products as well, so it shows they are pretty committed to it.

While all power banks that use LiPo (Lithium Polymer) Battery cells require a basic specialized charging circuitry to manage the change/discharge of the LiPo cells, PLX has a much more powerful microprocessor that deliverers a lot of information. The Legion can tell you time to charge/discharge, condition of the battery, input and output specs (volts, watts, amps) and more. I had some high expectations when I received this battery, and the OLED was top on my list of things to test. Almost as soon as I got it out of its packaging and all of my testing hardware hooked up and ready to go. Overall there are only a couple screens that have data I can test or validate, I will summarize the areas and my findings here.

  • The first one is the capacity screen (upper right of the 4 in Fig 2). As with all batteries like thi,s laws prohibit them from being shipped with a full charge, so the first thing I did was fully charge mine, and when I did, the OLED did show that the total capacity was about 11,000 mAh at 100%, but it has since, never again shown that. After that first charge, I move right into my testing, which as outlined in my procedures takes the battery through many full discharge cycles, and at since that first charge the screen only display a capacity of about 9,777 give or take a few when going back and forth from full charge or zero. letting the battery sit a few days or more, it will show over 10,000, but again, i have never seen it go back to 11,000.
  • The second screen I tested was the one that displays the output specs. Once selected it will cycle through automatically between the output Volts, Amps, and Watts, there is no way to hold on a specific one. I wish this was an options, but since there is only one button, I understand the design. In order to keep menu navigation fairly straight forward. Any ways, regarding the rest data. This is one area I found very notable discrepancies.
    The OLED displays a voltage of 4.11V when it’s really 4.52v
    The OLED displays a current of 1.33A when it’s really 0.958A
    The OLED displays a wattage of 5.53w when it’s really 4.40w
    As you can see some of these variances are notable. As the load on the battery increases or decreases, they continue to vary, some pretty dramatically. I reached out to PLX to get a better understanding of this variance, and they said it is by design. The on board brains displays readings as they are measured at the battery, and not what is actually output from the device. I have some personal feedback below in the editorial section, as i want to keep this just based on facts. With regards to this screen during a carge, the readings for Input are a notably more accurate. While not perfect (none ever are), i would consider the input readings to be within acceptable variances. Again, as i have not fully complete “Charge testing” i will state this is a provisional finding.

Auto-on: As expected with a battery of this caliber, it does contain an ‘auto’on fucntion, so when a device is plugged it, it will start charging right away. As I have noted in other articles, this can be a personal preference, but I find it nice on large capacity batteries. It allows you to have it burried in brief case, backpack, or purse allowing you charge your device without having to hunt for a button on the battery.
Pass-thru Charging: This is a nice feature that allows the battery itself to be charged while also delivering a charge out to another device that is connected, Again, as expected with a battery of this caliber this feature is present, and much appreciated.

Device Casing and Finish:

LeGion in black and white

LeGion in black and white

The is made with a solid Magnesium framing along the outside perimeter providing not only a solid core structure, but a surface that is pretty scratch resistant. The top and bottom panels are plastic and have a black and white finish. While I know the black unit has a matte finish, I believe the white also does but i am unable to confirm from the PLX website. The black matte is a nice finish, but is susceptible to oily fingerprints and markings. You can usually clean these up but they are rather hard to avoid. My device has not incurred any scratches, but i would advise to use caution, these panels are far from scratch resistant. That said, overall the casing and finish is very nice, with a high quality look and feel. The wide shape is a tad awkward, most batteries of this capacity are not as wide, but they are much thicker. I think even though its a bit wide, its slim design makes up for it. Legion1100CaseThe LeGion also has an available case that can be purchased through the PLX Website. The case came as a gift for many of the Kickstarter backers, so I can provide feedback on it as well. But its just a case right? Well to be honest, its actually a really nice case. Its made of a rigid plastic exterior, and a soft felt interior. An elastic band holds the LeGion in place and with the addtional headroom, the top of the case can hold a couple charging cables to ensure that you can charge a couple devices while on the go, There is no gap on the end of the battery, so you will not be able to leave the battery in the case and charge it, like you can do with the case Limeade has for their batteries. Overall the case is pretty durable and well crafted, and unlike the Limefuel case, this one is weather resistant. With the waterproof plastic and an exterior plastic seal over the zipper making it water resistant (do not submerge), when you close your LeGion up in the PLX LeGion case you can be sure it will be safe from most hazards.

Testing details and efficiency.

Fig3. Legion 11,000 mAh Test Results

Fig3. Legion 11,000 mAh Test Results

Overall this battery rates better than average. Not only in the 8,000-13,000 mAh range similar batteries, but in all ranges. Overall this one of the top performing batteries I have tested. At the time of the writing its the second highest scoring battery on average and it has the highest single test score of all the batteries i have tested. In a series of 10 controlled tests, using my standard procedures the battery has an average output rating of 69%. As you can see this average was brought slightly down by one low test. This means that you can, on average, expect to get about 7,590 mAh of actual juice from this 11,000 mAh battery. In its best test, 71%, You would get 7,810 mAh, and it’s lowest about 68% you can expect about 7,370 mAh. Now lets put this into terms that many end users can relate to. This means that you can expect this battery to give your iPad (gen 2/3/4) almost a full charge if it’s totally dead. You Galaxy S3 will get about 3.6 charges, Galaxy S4 will get about 3 charges. If you are an iPhone user your iPhone 5 can expect to get about 5.2 charges, and for the newer iPhone 5s/5c you can expect a about 4.8 full charges.

Issues Discovered
One main issues I discovered during my testing is that when my battery is drained to 0%, you have to manually reset the device by pulling the jumper and resetting it, without doing this, the battery will not accept a charge. At first I thought it was just a fluke, but I have had to manually reset my unit after every single test. As I have redone some of the tests as it is, that is over 10 full test cycles, and on each one, when i drain to 0% a manual reset is required, I find this to be a notable design flaw, or maybe a buggy unit i have.

Editorial Section: Depending on how familiar you are with the writing we do here, you may or may not know that we try to keep the articles fact based and keep the personal opinions to a minimum unless totally relevant, as such i want to keep this section separate.

When doing my review of this battery, I found how the OLED output data was fairly inconsistent with actual output data. When I wrote into PLX, they explain it was by design, however I feel that the way the output data is being displayed really misrepresents the facts. At the end of the day the OLED display has to display information that is valuable to the end user and right now its inaccurate. Showing values that represent data from the battery is nice and all, but the end user wants to know what the output values are so they know what they are using and working with. If I’m charging my phone and I see that the battery is outputting 1.33A, I would expect that my phone is charging well and will be done fast. In reality the USB port on the battery is only putting out 0.95A, at the very least this is very misleading since it is not called out clearly in the product documentation. In fact its advertised that the OLED will show you what the LeGion itself is outputting. I am sure its not an easy task for PLX to change this, but at the very least it should be made clear to the consumers.

 

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