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TechnologyTell Review: Outdoor Tech 6000mAh Kodiak battery

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Outdoor Tech has been on a roll lately, bringing some great new products to the masses. Turtle Shell. Big Turtle Shell. They’ve got their Chips headphones in production, ready to ship to backers and new consumers fairly soon. If you live an adventurous outdoor lifestyle, Outdoor Tech has got your back. And since you’re likely to be equipped with gadgets, the Kodiak battery makes sure to tag along and charge up what you need.

Design

The Outdoor Tech 6000mAh Kodiak battery features a unique triangle-diamond pattern all over the exterior. And since the material is a soft silicone, the battery has a really cool texture feel to it. Unlike most (boring) rectangular external battery packs, the sides are angled. It’s really a great shape, not unlike your favorite booze flask. And they come in some fun colors.

Outdoor Tech Kodiak battery box

Can’t forget the stickers!

Like most of the products by Outdoor tech, the Kodiak battery is made for the outdoors. Sure, indoors too. But if you ever felt the need to drop-kick this device over a volleyball net at the beach, it’s ready to go!

This Kodiak is waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof. I’ve taken a non-rugged external battery with me camping. Lets just say that it suffered quite the beating and doesn’t look as pretty as it did before (it still works though).

The ‘business end’ of the Kodiak battery has a lip all the way around, which provides a secure lock for the silicone lid. Both input and output USB ports have their own silicone plugs for added protection. Squish it down, run your fingers over the edges, and that’s it. The silicone shrugs off most things that would scuff or scratch up your standard plastic.

The lid is durable enough. I don’t know about you, but I don’t make much a habit of ripping silicone. But if it were ever to separate at the ‘hinge’, the lid will still work as long as it’s intact. The silicone is completely glued to the battery plastic – it’s not a jacket that you can take off. (I tried very briefly).

Outdoor Tech Kodiak battery ports

USB ports get their own firm seals.

ou get the standard set of 4-LED power indicator lights. Nothing fancy about that. What’s fun, however, is the way the LEDs glow through the translucent parts of the silicone lid when you press the power button. It’s different. Like the flat-ribbon USB cable and included stickers. Totally unnecessary, but that’s what makes it cool.

Thankfully, the design team decided to ditch the (stupid) “flashlight” that most other external batteries choose to include. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I need real light I reach for my ThruNite T10S flashlight. Or I use a flashlight app on my smartphone for something less serious. The Outdoor Tech Kodiak battery not waste space with gimmick toys.

The USB output value is printed above the ports, but you’ll notice there is no mention of the input value. You’d have to check the specs to see that the input is only 5V/1A. That also means the flat cable is just a basic one to match.

Battery Performance

Flat cables are always great, but the inability to charge out more than 5W with it is going to be a letdown for those with bigger devices. Tablets and phablets can take 1.5A to 2.1A, easily. Although this cable is way too slow to use with my Samsung Galaxy Note 4, it’s more than enough for all my other little gadgets and accessories.

Outdoor Tech Kodiak battery seal

That lip is what keeps the lid secure.

Just remember that it’ll take less time to empty out the Kodiak battery than to fill it back up. The LEDs continue to blink while charging, staying lit once the Kodiak is full on energy juice.

The Outdoor Tech Kodiak battery does indeed have passthrough charging, although it’s discouraged. Passively. The Micro USB port is only 2mm away from the standard USB port, which creates a very tight fit for a pair of cables. It may not have been intentional as part of the design, and you may not care. I don’t. If I ever find myself in a situation where I seriously need passthrough charging for my smartphone, it means I wasn’t paying attention to my overall usage for the day.

I like how this Kodiak battery has auto-detect for charging devices. As soon as you plug in, the LEDs light up and remain lit while charging out. The circuitry is accurate in terms of choosing an appropriate output rate, too. When the connected device has been charged to full, the Kodiak automatically switches itself off. I find this to be quite helpful, since a cursory glance immediately lets me know the status of it all.

Outdoor Tech Kodiak battery LED

Oooo, pretty.

Note: Most external battery packs I’ve ever purchased and used came only partially charged, so I’ve always made it a habit to fully charge them before use. I tend to fully charge and discharge a new battery a few times, just so I can level out the charge states of the individual cells. It helps to maximize the battery’s manufacturer-listed potential.

The standard efficiency rating of external battery packs currently on the market is 70 percent. This means that 30 percent of the battery’s listed capacity is consumed while charging up devices. So, for example, a standard 1000mAh battery would effectively deliver 700mAh of energy.

Right out of the box, the Kodiak battery was able to deliver a total of 117 percent charge, or 3767mAh of usable energy, to my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 battery (3220mAh). That’s equivalent to 62.8 percent efficiency, which is ok. I’ve seen much worse. However, additional charge cycles brought up the values to a peak of 75.8 percent and an average value of 72.9 percent. That average is equivalent to 4374mAh of usable energy.

So what can you do with 4374mAh of battery energy? That’s good for 1.3 full charges to a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (3220mAh), or 2.4 full charges to an Apple iPhone 6 (1810mAh), or 0.97 full charges (practically full!) to a 7″ Kindle Fire HDX (4500mAh). Not too bad.

Verdict

When you go and buy your own Outdoor Tech 6000mAh Kodiak battery, skip black and go for one of the other colors. I dig the electric blue, but green is also fun. As much as I love the camo (there are not enough gadgets that come in choice of camo), knowing my family, one of them would throw it in a field of dirt and bushes just to watch me hunt for it. And, of course, they’d have enough time to either run far or find a hiding space.

But I always get them in the end.

Outdoor Tech Kodiak battery black blue

Black is good, but blue has pop.

The Kodiak battery has a lot of fun, strong points going for it. For starters, it’s rugged and waterproof. The silicone lid keeps a firm seal, and the LED lights glow through. The battery knows when to start charging and chooses an appropriate rate.

The output of the Outdoor Tech Kodiak battery is enough to satisfy tablets, however you’ll have to supply your own high-speed cable. There is only one USB port, so multiple devices will have to take turns.

Now if the 6000mAh capacity isn’t ‘just right’ for you, have no fear. Outdoor Tech has both a larger and smaller one in the works (I checked them out while at CES 2015). But in the meantime, you probably could still use a staunch battery to tag along with you wherever you go. Don’t siss out. Go rugged.

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