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TechnologyTell Review: Limefuel Rugged L150XR battery

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I brought my Limefuel L130X battery to a park (a park! for my kid) this one time, and it came back home looking quite roughed up. It had been knocked down off its perch a bunch of times – the kids thought it was a game after the first few drops. Sure it still works and I still use it, but now I opt for rugged batteries when out and about.

Someone had asked me recently, “why rugged? They work fine so who cares if it looks dirty or used?” You might be surprised at just how many nicks, dents, and scratches a non-rugged device can collect, and how that surface damage can be abrasive enough to rub into other gear when sharing close spaces in bag pockets. Or, even worse, it can pull threads and start holes/runs in that fabric.

Something to think about.

Design

So that’s why having a rugged battery, like the Limefuel Rugged L150XR, is a good idea. Forget about limiting it to extreme outdoor activities or adventure. You want rugged external battery any time when there are no pillows, carpet, hardwood floors, tile, or anything else like that. Heck, I bring the L150XR into the backyard for powering a Bluetooth speaker. You never know who is going to knock stuff over first.

Limefuel L150XR rugged battery box

Battery, cable, strap. Check.

The Limefuel L150XR battery comes two-toned in a flat gray with matte black. Unlike your everyday battery pack with straight and even sides, this one comes with curves, ridges, and ribbing. You’re going to have a better chance at maintaining a grip on the L150XR, especially since the exterior is the smooth-but-not-slippery kind. It’s a hard rubber that resists impact and damage. It’s also proofed against dust, water, and crushing.

So far it’s held up true to its rugged claims by being thrown in dirt, washed off with water, and then used as a wheel chock for my car. It’s not the greatest or most effective at chocking wheels, FYI. But it lives. And that’s the important part.

Water proof? Yup. The business end of the Limefuel L150XR is covered by a lid that snaps firmly shut with a hard ‘click’. Underneath are the duo of USB output ports and the single micro USB input port. And that’s it for openings, since the rest of the construction discourages liquid and dust ingress The lid does double-duty of covering each port but also plugging the opening with rubber. Just in case – for whatever reason – something might sneak between the cracks or hinge holes.

The opposite end of the Limefuel L150XR features a 3mm opening the pass through the velcroed nylon spring clip strap. Both the opening and the strap are thick and durable – no cheapy split rings here. Heck, this strap can be useful even without the battery involved. The spring clip maintains impressive tension, and it also has a bonus hole for added utility. No, don’t ask, just figure it out. Be creative!

Limefuel L150XR rugged battery hand

Nice and grippy on the sides. Muted power LED up front.

I really like the 2-in-1 micro USB/Lightning charge cable that comes included with this rugged battery. The flat-ribbon cable is made of a flexible rubber, and the USB tip is also flat. Nice. The micro USB end with the Lightning adapter connected is done well. It beats out the common choices of separate tips, which either don’t work well or get lost, or multiple cables stemming from one end like a bulky USB octopus. And to top it all off, Limefuel provides a silicone wrap to keep it all neat and tidy when not in use. It saves you from using one of your Nite Ize gear ties.

But the most important thing about the included USB cable is that it supports the top charging speeds of the L150XR battery. Each output port goes up to 2.4A, while the battery’s input port maxes out at 2A; the Limefuel cable’s performance matches that of the best fast-charge ones I own. This is always good news, since it seems to be pretty common (a little too common if you ask me) for high-output external batteries to pack a basic 5V/1A cable in the box.

Limefuel L150XR rugged battery cable

Totally improved USB cable.

Not only does each output port max at 2.4A individually, but they max out at 2.1A combined, for a total 5V/4.2A delivery by the L150XR. Many dual-port battery packs limit one port to 5V/1A and/or limit the combined charging anywhere between 2-3 amps. If you wanted to charge two tablets (or any power-hungry devices) at the same time, this Limefuel battery can make it happen. This is a definite perk, especially since it packs a high capacity.

The one somewhat lackluster aspect of the rugged Limefuel L150XR is the power gauge. Like most all external batteries, it uses a 4-LED battery indicator to show remaining power, but it’s not like your standard set of teeny dots. Instead, the power ‘dimple’ is ringed by dashes that glow a gentle green.

As power ticks down, these dashes disappear by quarter-circles for every 25 percent threshold. It’s a bit more accurate than most other batteries, but not by much.

Those who aren’t fond of bright lights on their external battery packs will like Limefuel’s delivery with the L150XR. You have to be looking at it almost dead-on in order to see the quiet glow. But at least a quick glance lets you know if your device(s) have been charged up all the way.

Battery Performance

Like the other good Limefuel products, the L150XR features top-notch circuitry that auto-detects plugged in devices, prevents overcharging, and allows pass-through charging to power up both the battery and a separate device (or two). If you do choose to pass-through charge, expect slightly under 1A of current to make it to a single connected device. Plugging in a second unit won’t do much good for any of them as a whole.

Limefuel L150XR rugged battery ports cover

Proofing possible by tight seals and hard lid.

Thankfully, the Limefuel L150XR charges in at a rate of 2A. The 15000mAh capacity is a beast, and even at 2A you can expect to wait a little over 12 hours for the battery to go from being empty to fully-charged. It’s definitely a little more than an overnight process.

I like the duo of 2.4A (2.1A max when both are in use) output ports, which is an easy way to future-proof some gadget charging. There are more devices coming out that can power up faster than the standard 5V/1A. The Limefuel L150XR automatically detects the amount of current needed, so you don’t have to worry that your Bluetooth earpiece or little wireless speaker is going to get the max amount. Smart circuitry – it’s better to go with a pair of output USB ports that could recharge a tablet each.

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.

Limefuel L150XR rugged battery outdoor

It’s equally great outside..

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 basic 1000mAh battery would effectively deliver 700mAh of energy.

Right out of the box, the Limefuel L150XR was able to deliver a total of 325 percent charge, or 10465mAh of usable energy, to my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 battery (3220mAh).That’s equivalent to 69.7 percent efficiency. It’s a good start. But unlike the previously-reviewed L240X battery, L130X battery, and L60X battery, the efficiency didn’t increase that much after. Additional charge cycles brought up the values to a peak of 73.2 percent efficiency, with an average right at 72.5 efficiency, which is equivalent to 10883mAh. It’s definitely in the range of standard quality, though it was a little surprising considering previous experiences.

So what can you do with 10883mAh of battery energy? That’s good for 3.4 full charges to a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (3220mAh), or 6.0 full charges to an Apple iPhone 6 (1810mAh), or 2.4 full charges to a 7″ Kindle Fire HDX (4500mAh).

Verdict

If you plan on taking the Limefuel rugged L150XR battery outside under any conditions, expect it to look less pretty as it takes on more life-influenced characteristics. Personally, I like that worn, rugged look like an old pair of trusted jeans. They’ve gone through the ringer with you, yet only look better for it. But that’s the charm – the L150XR is meant to take a beating and shrug it all off.

Limefuel L150XR rugged battery side

.. or inside. Heck, bring it everywhere!

There’s nothing fancy about this external battery pack. You’ve got a pair of USB ports able to charge tablets, a fast-charging 2A input port, tight construction, and a convenient strap with a spring clip.

No dainty cutesy design, no lame little flashlights. Just a solid battery that charges your gear while resisting dust, water, shock, and general rough & tumble action. Although the average efficiency isn’t as high as its brethren, this battery still packs a very effective amount of power.

The sum of everything the Limefuel L150XR has to offer is an experience. If you’re going to be outdoors doing your own thing, you don’t want a piece of tech to make you pause or worry if it can handle it all. All that does is end up as a distraction; the L150XR brings that peace of mind with its durability and performance. And the improved charge cable with silicone strap is a nice touch too. For outdoor adventures, this is the external battery you want.

 

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