Amazing design, but inconsistent charging.

Batteries come in all shapes and sizes and I’ve come to truly appreciate the ones that are the most compact. It’s like the old adage, “the best camera is the one you have with you.” Well, I feel the same way about portable chargers and batteries. If you can’t carry it with you easily then what good is it? This is what appealed to me most about the IonGo 5K Duo — it’s compact size. 

DETAILS

The IonGo Duo is a powerful battery that has a capacity of 5,000 mAh. The term ‘duo’ in the name comes from the fact that the battery wields two built-in cables — a Lightning and a USB-C extension. The power bank is covered with vegan leather paired with a magnetic closure. The IonGo Duo is designed to provide approximately 100% more battery life for your iPhone or Android phone, but it can be used to power other items as well. The battery works as a pass-through charger, too. You have the option to charge both the battery and a connected device at the same time with this feature. The IonGo Duo uses the same battery technology that is available in the latest electric vehicles. The cells are optimized for charging, discharging, and low internal resistance. The battery pack is guaranteed to work with your iPhone, iPad, or other devices with a Lightning port thanks to its MFi certification. The USB-C cable supports up to 15W of output power delivery for connected devices.

SPECS

  • 5,000 mAh capacity
  • Built-in Lightning and USB-C cables
  • iOS and Android friendly-battery to charge both devices at the same time
  • Pass-through charging tops up your phone and battery at the same time
  • Advanced cell technology used in electric vehicles
  • Compact and stylish: crafted from soft vegan leather and anodized aluminum
  • MFi-certified by Apple
  • Weight: 4.16oz
  • Dimensions: 3.50″ x 2.01″ x 1.10″
  • DC Output – Lightning: 5 V / 2.4 A USB-C: 5 V / 3 A
  • DC Input – USB-C: 5 V / 3 A

COMPATIBILITY: Made for iPhone , iPad

iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6

iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation), iPad Pro 9.7-inch, iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation), iPad Air (3rd generation), iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad mini (5th generation), iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3, iPad (7th generation), iPad (6th generation), iPad (5th generation)

USER EXPERIENCE

As I mentioned above, the compact nature of the IonGo 5K Duo is what first caught my eye with this battery. It’s a smaller capacity power bank, but with 5,000 mAh, it’s still plenty to keep my iPhone’s battery full. The battery comes in a simple, but an elegantly designed box. It has the Moshi branding included along with images of the product on the front. There are a few details about the product and its functions on the back of the box, but it’s not the full specs. 

When you take the IonGo out of the box, you will also find a quick start guide. Even though the battery is essentially plug-n-play as far as operation goes, I found the QSG pretty handy. For one thing, it describes how to read the LED indicator on the power button. This is actually one thing I would change about the battery. I much prefer being able to see the battery’s charge level by individual LEDs, but Moshi simply added a single LED in the power button that changes colors as the battery level decreases. When I took the battery out of the box, it was green, which means it was between 80-100% full. After I charged my iPhone and iPad for close to an hour, it was showing an orange light, which means it was anywhere between 20-80% full. To me, that’s a pretty big range.

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To recharge the battery, you simply plug the USB-C cable into a power adapter or USB-C port on a computer. I do like this functionality as it eliminates a secondary charging cable/port for the power bank. The only thing I don’t like about this is how the cables fold into the IonGo. It’s designed to have the Lightning cable lay on top of the USB-C cable when the cover is closed and wrapped around the battery. To me, I think the USB-C cable should be on top so that when you are done charging, you can just tuck that cable away and close the cover of the battery without having to jockey the cables around. 

So, how well does the IonGo 5K Duo work as a charger? Honestly, the jury is still out on this one. Over the years, I’ve come to respect Moshi’s products and really like the style at which they bring things to market. Unfortunately, I’ve found the IonGo 5K Duo to be an incredibly inefficient charger. The first test I did was to plug in both my iPhone 11 Pro and my iPad Pro (2nd Gen). Both devices are listed as compatible on Moshi’s website. I expected both devices to charge slower than normal, but I wasn’t expecting a 0.17% per minute charge on the iPhone or a 0.26% per minute charge on the iPad. After charging both those items for almost an hour, I unplugged the iPad to see how quickly the iPhone would charge on its own. As it turns out, it was a slower charge. I got a charging rate of 0.13% per minute. I decided to charge the battery overnight so that it was at 100% before trying to charge the iPhone one more time. After a 15-minute testing charge session, the iPhone had gained 0% battery charge from the IonGo 5K. That said, I plugged the battery pack into an older iPad (5th gen) that was dead and it immediately powered on after being connected to it.

I’m still not 100% sure what happened with that iPhone charging session, but a couple days later, after the IonGo Duo had been fully charged, I tried again. After 30 minutes the phone gained 9% battery for a charging rate of 0.3% per minute, which is much closer to what I’ve seen with other portable batteries.

CONCLUSION

As much as I love the design of the IonGo 5K Duo, I have some doubts at how well it charges iPhones. I don’t know if the issues had to deal with this specific unit and how it was working with my particular iPhone or if it’s a product-wide issue. It’s also entirely possible that the issues I had were a fluke. I do love how well it seemed to work with the two different iPads I charged and it’s incredibly convenient because of its size. Given the issues I had with it, I’m not sure I would recommend the IonGo 5K Duo at its current price ($75 at the time of writing this review), but if it were offered at a discount, I think it would be a great option for mobile device users.

For more information, visit moshi.com, Facebook, and Twitter.