This review sample was purchased from Fasttech and took about 3 weeks to arrive with the USPS shipping. So far I haven't come across a US seller of these.
The last pack I built worked well but it was a little flimsy, and didn't charge my ZTE phone. It also had a bright LED on the front that most of the time I don't want, and the wife complained that she couldn't use it in the dark until I put a small piece of electrical tape over it.
The Ruinovo solves the issues I had with the last power pack, but it costs almost four times more! That's really the only downside, though. Everything else about it is superior. First off, it's made of brushed
For me personally, I wouldn't mind a well designed flashlight built into my power pack. There are several models out there which do that successfully. What I don't like is forcing that light on when I'm charging a device. It's not only annoying but wasteful if all you want to do is charge something. I'm also a "flasholic" so I don't need that superfluous LED.
The build quality on this model really stands out, and almost even feels high end. It uses brushed Aluminum for the entire unit, which is well machined and fairly well anodized. The connectors don't feel cheap and neither does the power button.
The screws are a different story. They are very low quality and will want to strip no matter what you do. Just be really careful and use a high quality screwdriver of the correct size. If I remember, it's a Philips #0. Luckily, they give you a little bag with 4 extra screws. Don't use the included screwdriver as it's basically just for decoration.
Assembling The Power Pack
In the course of playing around with it, I took it apart and reassembled it a few times. I found that putting the rear plate on first made it a little easier, and for whatever reason it seemed to make the rear plate seat a little better.
Testing The Power Pack
I like to hook any new USB charger to my digital multimeter just as a reality check the power pins on the USB port aren't shorted or reversed or anything. For this I use a cheap digital multimeter such as this one and a spliced USB cable to measure the voltage.
Charging The Power Pack
The Ruinovo has two inputs and two outputs. For inputs it has a 1A micro USB, which is nice, and a 2A USB with a special plug, which is included with the unit. I like the 2A input because these 4 x 18650 power packs take forever to charge from USB.
Here's a shot of charging the battery pack from my laptop using the same micro USB cable I use to charge my phone.
Here I'm charging the battery pack with the included 2 Amp cable.
Charging A Device
For outputs, there's a 1A Android and a 2A Apple full size USB connector. I haven't tried it, but I assume that it could use both ports at once, and I thought I read somewhere that this model can charge and be charged at the same time.
To charge a device, plug it in and then press the power button. The blue lights will glow indicating that it is charging something. The great thing about this power pack is that it turns off automatically when the device it's charging stops drawing power.
Let's Charge Some Stuff!
As with every power pack I build, the first thing I want to know is: Does it charge my annoyingly-picky ZTE smartphone? In this case ... YES IT DOES!
Pretty much anything with power and a USB plug will charge the wife's HTC One, so this works as expected.
Charges the original Kindle Fire, again, as expected.
Bluetooth headphones? Check.
Here's where it gets interesting. Below you can see the power pack is charging another power pack.
This is the best power pack I've built so far. At about 15 bucks, it seems expensive compared to some of the other cheap Chinese DIY power packs. It's easy to lose perspective that this thing with 4 of the best batteries money can buy would come in around $50, which would make it superior to almost every commercially available power pack on the market. Not to mention the fact that you can easily replace the batteries. Also, you know what batteries went into it. I wonder what batteries those retail power packs have in them. Probably not the high end Panasonics we normally use.
So, while a little more pricey than some of the other DIY kits, this one is well worth it. I plan to build several more of these and probably give a few away as gifts.