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APC M5 Power Pack

7
£24.99

VERDICT:

7
10
Useful piece of kit that performs strongly, despite unprotected USB sockets
Weight: 
139g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The APC M5 is a good example of a small, but durable power pack that allows you to charge anything that is powered through a USB cable. It is about the size of a cigarette packet with rounded edges, and sits well in a jersey pocket or if you are touring, would take up little room in either panniers or a saddle bag.

When you are touring or going on a particularly long ride, it is always a worry that your electronics may run out of juice, so your cycle computer may not record your full ride or you may get stuck in the middle of nowhere with no battery on your phone. A power pack that fits in your jersey pocket and allows you to charge on-the-go is certainly a good piece of technology to invest in.

The APC M5 power pack can fully charge my iPhone twice from one charge and performed similarly for the cycle computer that I tested it on, a Garmin Edge 810. It has two outputs, one at 1A for charging of mobiles and one at 2.4A for larger electronic devices. I also charged my iPad from the pack which gave it around 50% power from a full charge of the pack, so if you are taking a tablet or larger USB powered device, it won't charge it fully, but will give it a good boost.

Charging my phone from dead to 100% took around 2 hours from the 1A and about 1.5 hours from the 2.4A socket. This is roughly comparable to plugging it into a regular USB slot on a computer.

It has a battery icon on the front that shows how much battery power is left in the power pack, so that you can see how much charge you have left before you leave the house. To charge gadgets, you simply use the USB cable specific to that device then plug it in. It is then turned on by a green button on the side of the unit.

The pack itself is certainly not designed specifically for cycling. It's small and relatively light weight, but all the USB ports are uncovered, so you certainly would not want this in your jersey pocket during a shower.

Apart from this, it is an effective portable charger for cycling. It retains its power for extended periods. I filled the battery on a phone around a week after fully replenishing the unit and it still retained the same charge as if it had just been unplugged. It can also be recharged itself in around 4 hours from a mains socket. This means that if you are touring with it, simply plugging it in overnight when you are staying in a room would mean that you would wake up to a fully charged unit.

Overall, this is a useful piece of technology to have for longer rides, just in case you run out of juice on a phone or cycle computer at a vital moment.

Verdict

Useful piece of kit that performs strongly, despite unprotected USB sockets

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road.cc test report

Make and model: APC M5 Power Pack

Size tested: 5000mAh Mobile Power Pack

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

This product is for recharging USB powered gadgets such as cycle computers, smartphones or tablets, whilst on the go. I think that it achieves this and I could easily charge my phone whilst still cycling by just plugging it in and leaving it in my pocket.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

- 5000mAh lithium-ion power bank

- 1x 2.4A (12W) USB output

- 1x 1A (5W) USB output

- max total output 2.4A (12W)

- 1x 1.5A (7.5W) Micro-USB input

- over-charging, -discharge, -temperature protection

- 64.4x14.4x107.5mm

- 142g

- 2-year warranty

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

The power pack seems to be well made, but I would be comfortable dropping it from any significant height.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

It charges phones, cycle computers and tablets relatively quickly. It also holds its own charge for a long time, I tested it after one week and it still seemed to have 100% power.

Rate the product for durability:
 
6/10

The lack of covers of the USB ports means that I would be worried about having it a jersey pocket for particularly sweaty or rainy rides, aside from that it seems that it would sit in a bag or pocket without being shaken to pieces.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

£24 is a small price to pay compared to running out of juice when your rear derailleur snaps 40 miles from the nearest town. It is also comparable to other packs with similar outputs and size.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It works well when charging gadgets, allowing for relatively quick and charging even after being idle for an extended period.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The size is great and means that unlike other portable chargers it could easily sit in a jersey pocket without the need to sacrifice anything else in there.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The lack of cycling specific features such as the USB port covers, this could be a problem with extended use as these could become either damaged through water or clogged up with dirt in your pocket.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 27  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,

 

George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects. 

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