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Zendure likes its beefy power banks, like the 100W one I tested back in the summer, but the Zendure SuperBase 500 has got to be the ultimate one. As the name suggests, it offers a huge 500Wh of capacity (518Wh to be precise). It provides both AC and DC power and can cope with up to a massive 600 watts of simultaneous output.
Of course, that kind of capacity requires a huge battery, so this thing isn’t small or light– but it is a fair bit smaller than the competition …Look and feel
The SuperBase 500 is a ribbed plastic unit in dark gray, with sockets, display, and buttons at the front, and a sturdy metal carrying handle on the top.
The display shows you the percentage charge, the number of watts you are currently drawing, and the remaining battery life at that draw. It also has indicators to tell you which ports are in use. The ports are covered in the next section.
It’s somewhere around the size of a motorcycle or scooter battery, measuring around 8 inches tall by 8 inches wide by 5 inches deep. It weighs in at a hefty 11 pounds. This is definitely not something you’re going to carry casually – or far. At the same time, it’s less than half the size of the well-known Jackery Explorer 500, which has total dimensions of 859 cubic inches against Zendure’s 369.
This type of heavy-duty power bank is really designed to be carried short distances and to be used for things like outdoor photoshoots, or the kind of camping trips involving an off-grid van or tent pitched close to your car.Capacity and ports
As mentioned, the total capacity of the unit is 518 Watt-Hours. To put that into perspective, it would recharge a MacBook Air 14 times. But mostly you’d use this when you need a lot of power, either for individual appliances, or to run multiple devices at once – like several MacBooks.
There are two power buttons, one for AC (which also enables the DC ports), the other for DC-only. The reason for two modes is that DC is more efficient, so you’ll only want to use AC mode when needed.
For AC usage, you get two plug sockets, though can of course plug in multiway adapters if desired. You can pull up to 600W in total, which is enough to power really beefy devices like studio lighting and induction cooktops.
On the DC side, you get two 12V sockets, a 12V cigarette lighter socket, two USB-C sockets (one 60W PD, the other a 3A phone one) and two USB-A sockets. Of these, one is a standard 3A phone socket, the other is an 18W one which supports fast charging of most modern smartphones.
Finally, there’s a built-in flashlight.In use
If charging on mains power, you can fully charge the SuperBase 500 in less than four hours. Once charged, you are then all set for a long time with most devices!
For example, I powered my 16-inch MacBook Pro for a 10-hour day without any issue at all. My most extreme test was an electric blanket plugged into one of the AC sockets. This drew 150 watts, and ran for three hours and still had 39% battery left at the end of it. That could make for some pretty comfy cold-weather camping!
Other than that, there’s little to say about usage – it works without any fuss.Optional solar panel
Of course, in England, in December, my opportunity to test this was … limited. The best I saw on a halfway sunny day was 14W; on a rainy day, it struggled to provide 1W. But I can believe that you might get a decent way toward the claimed 100W maximum on a clear summer’s day in the US.Zendure SuperBase 500: pricing and conclusions
Super Early Bird pricing starts at $449. This puts the power bank itself in line with the much larger but identical capacity Jackery Explorer 500, while Zendure’s solar panel option is cheaper. If you need this type of product, the SuperBase 500 is the more attractive option by some margin. You will, however, have to wait until March to take delivery.
Of course, the pricing means it’s not a casual purchase. You’d need a good reason to buy it – though having once lived through a power outage lasting most of a weekend, I would say that it’s a very nice option to have purely as an in-home emergency backup if you can afford to spend that sort of sum on a ‘just in case’ device.
Mostly, though, I see this being bought by photographers and videographers who need to power MacBooks on all-day outdoor shoots, and by ‘glampers’ – those whose idea of camping is a tent pitched close to their car, and with all mod cons.
The SuperBase 500 is available for pre-order from Zendure, with pricing starting from $449. Use discount code SB500 for $50 off.
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A good-value and fast power bank, the Lumsing Grand A2 Plus will be a good buy if you have a USB-C device or a requirement for a fair amount of portable power. We’d like to see features such as passthrough charging, and a more premium, less functional design, but at £25 it’s difficult to fault.
Amazon’s virtual store shelves are flooded with power banks, and choosing which to buy can be a minefield. This Lumsing Grand A2 Plus is good value – a 13,400mAh model that costs £25.99, but until 20 December PC Advisor/Tech Advisor readers can get an extra 20 percent off with the code LUMXMAS1 – but there’s more to choosing a power bank than how much it costs. Also see: Best power banks
When we review a power bank we take into account several factors besides the price: its build quality and appearance, how fast it can charge your phone, how fast it can refill its own battery (and whether it can charge both your phone and itself at once), how many times it will charge a device and so forth. The Lumsing performs well on most of these things.
Let’s start with why you might choose this power bank. The 13,400mAh capacity is appealing, and should offer around 9,000mAh for charging your mobile devices. That would refill almost any Android phone at least three times, and for iPhones you’re looking at more like five or six full charges. Given that this compact 98x79x22, 263g power bank will fit in your pocket, that’s not at all bad. Also see: How to charge your phone’s battery faster
More interesting to us, though, is its support for Quick Charge 3.0 and USB-C. Although Quick Charge 4.0 has recently been announced, right now Quick Charge 3.0 is the fastest you’ll find in a power bank – but it isn’t supported by all mobile devices. If you have a flagship smartphone running a Snapdragon processor, such as the LG G5, chances are your phone will support Quick Charge 3.0 and can therefore be charged four times faster than via a conventional charger.
In addition to this full-size Quick Charge 3.0 port (which is confusingly labelled as QC 2.0/QC 3.0 when all Quick Charge 3.0 devices are backwards-compatible with Quick Charge 2.0) is a USB-C connection, which can act as both input and output at a fast 5V/3.1A. Using this connection this high-capacity power bank can be recharged in as little as 5.5 hours. That would be even more impressive if it could simultaneously charge your phone to cut down on cable clutter and free up mains power outlets in your home. We like having the option to charge a second device from this power bank, but not that it has to be a USB-C device. See all power bank reviews
The USB-C input/output offers the fastest way to recharge this power bank, but a USB-C cable is not provided in the box and you’re unlikely to have one to hand unless you own a USB-C phone. Fortunately there’s an also fast – albeit not quite as fast – Micro-USB input that accepts 5V/2.5A. Charging the Lumsing over this connection will take longer, but in all honesty at this capacity you’ll likely just leave it plugged in overnight in any case.
Another perk of the Lumsing Grand A2 Plus is auto-on. There is an orange button on the side of this power bank, but you don’t need to press it in order to begin charging – you just plug in a phone or tablet and charging begins. Rather, this button is used to invoke the built-in LED flashlight or to check how much power remains via the four blue LEDs on the device’s front. And here’s where things start to be less exemplary. The LED torch is so small that you wonder why Lumsing bothered to include one – we certainly can’t see anyone making use of it. Also see: How to improve smartphone battery life
The Lumsing isn’t a bad-looking power bank, encased in matt black plastic with a brightly colour orange rim at the top and bottom, but we’re less keen on the high-gloss plastic end caps with idiot-proof legends. We don’t need to be told on the product itself that the ports are inputs or outputs, nor whether they are Type-C or support Quick Charge 2.0 or Quick Charge 3.0, especially when the specifications are also printed on the bottom of the device. To be fair this is a criticism we could level at many a cheap power bank, but it does detract from the overall design.
Read next: Best desktop chargersSpecs Lumsing Grand A2 Plus: Specs
13,400mAh power bank (charges in 5.5 hours)
1x QC 3.0 USB output
1x USB-C 5V/3.1A input/output
1x Micro-USB 5V/2.5A input
four-LED power indicator
no passthrough charging
More than ever, distractions are everywhere. Whether you’re talking about your phone or your computer, something is almost always beeping at you or otherwise demanding your attention. If you’re looking to get some work done, this can be a serious problems.
Reading online, you’ll see stories of novelists disabling the Internet entirely on their computers. Unfortunately, not everyone can do this. If you need to access the Internet for your work, your only option is to selectively block distractions. That’s easier said than done, but Freedom is an app meant to do just that.What Does Freedom Do?
Like most apps meant to block distractions, one of the main features of Freedom is blocking websites. If you want, you can use the app to block the entire Internet for a period of time, but for most people that’s overkill.
Freedom can also help you out by blocking you from running certain apps. If you keep compulsively checking social media on your work computer, this can be a major timesaver.Supported Devices
There is a Freedom desktop app available for both macOS and Windows devices. You’ll also find a browser extension available for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
Mobile devices are a major source of distraction, so Freedom is available for these as well. You’ll find the Freedom app in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.Pricing
When you first see Freedom, whether on the App Store or on its website, you may be under the impression that it’s free. This isn’t the case. The free download is really just a free trial. After seven trial sessions, you’ll need to pay to continue using the app.
You can pay a few different ways, but it’s all the same service. You can pay a monthly fee of $6.99 per month, or you can save a fair amount of money by paying $29 per year. Finally, you can pay for a lifetime license, which usually costs $129 but will occasionally pop up on sale.Features
Choosing certain websites and apps to block may work for some people, but others may require more extreme measures. In this case, you can choose to block everything by whitelisting sites and apps. This means you can allow access to certain apps you need for work but nothing else.
Depending on the type of person you are, you may be tempted to simply turn Freedom off. In this case, you can enable Locked Mode, which keeps you from disabling restrictions for the period of time you’ve chosen. You can add sites to a blacklist, but you can’t remove any.Limitations
Freedom shares a major pitfall with other distraction-blocking apps: it’s too easy to turn off. This isn’t really a downside, but it’s worth keeping in mind. You can enable Locked Mode all you want, but you can also restart your device or just enable the app.
You can’t rely on the app all the time. If you had the willpower to install it, you have the willpower to keep it installed. You just need to make sure to stick with it when times get tough.Is the Freedom App Right for You?
Not everyone is going to need an app to block distractions. Before you start asking whether this app is for you, you need to ask yourself whether you need this type of app at all. If you never find yourself distracted, you probably don’t need to spend a monthly fee to keep distractions at bay.
Freedom isn’t the only app of its type. There are other options like OFFTIME and Self Control, but neither of these is as full-featured. On the other hand, they’re considerably cheaper.
Distraction blockers aren’t the only way to enhance your focus, either. Everything from listening to the right type of music to working at certain times of the day can help you focus on getting serious work done. If you’re looking for some more tools, take a look at our list of the best mobile apps to help you focus.
Kris Wouk is a writer, musician, and whatever it’s called when someone makes videos for the web.
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The bank of the future prototype has undergone many paradigm shifts in terms of design, services and components. However, indoor digital signage remains a core element that can bridge the brick-and-mortar physical world with the virtual digital world. Vibrant indoor digital signage draws over 400 percent more views than static displays and compels engagement, notes Embed Signage.
On average, U.S. retail bank customers visit their local branch offices twice a month, with an average lobby wait time of 7:06 before being assisted. This presents a recurring window of opportunity to address a de facto captive audience with dynamic indoor digital signage to market products, shape the brand, educate and entertain while reducing perceived wait times.
The Online Migration of Retail Bank Customers
The by-product of the migration to online and mobile banking is the dramatic drop in branch foot traffic resulting in rising branch closures. Retail bank customers now complete basic banking transactions online, while reserving branch visits for more complex issues. Bank of America, JPMorgan and Citigroup have closed 389 branch offices combined since Q3 2024, according to Business Insider.
However, branch closures are actually a testament to the efficiency of mobility; the cost savings enhance the bottom line. Paul Donofrio, CFO of Bank of America, states that 18 percent of deposit transactions are now completed through mobile devices at “one-tenth the cost of walking into a branch.” Wells Fargo plans to close 400 branch offices by 2023, which will produce $2 billion in cost-savings annually.How Retail Banks Can Thrive in Today’s Digital Age
Explore short- and long-term opportunities to transform brick-and-mortar branch experiences. Download Now
Necessity Spurs the Evolution of the Bank of the Future
Surviving bank branches are adapting to the shifting dynamic by forging ahead with the bank of the future, not as an option but as a necessity to remain competitive. The models range from frictionless, fully automated self-serve branches to high-touch, relationship-centric community hubs armed with teams of human specialists aimed at maximizing every single customer engagement. Balancing the digital and physical, the frictionless and high-touch, and the automated and human-assisted are all factors to be considered.
However, a digital signage strategy is also a necessity to both prototypes to usher in a soft landing. While built-from-scratch, high-tech modern bank branches are planned, the majority of existing branches will have to undergo a measured transformation without disrupting the existing daily flow of operations.
Refining the Digital Branch Image
Indoor digital signage can be one of the first augmented components to be outfitted in the upgrade/transformation cycle. The visual impact of digital signage instantly draws attention from customers by connecting with them on a cognitive level with vibrant images that reinforce the brand.
Digital signage imbues a live dynamic and adaptive ambiance that enhances the stature of the conventional branch office. It projects the air of modernization, assuring customers that the bank is indeed on the forefront of digital innovation. Perception is reality, and banks that ignore the relevance of projecting a more digital “appearance” can be perceived as complacent and potentially lose customer loyalty.
In fact, the benefits of the transformation towards the “digital” brand has produced tangible results. According to The Financial Brand, a recent study published by J.D. Power reported that customer satisfaction scores for the six largest U.S. retail banks have surpassed small and medium-sized banks for the first time ever in 2024, largely due to the digital offerings, improved customer interactions and the growing millennial base.
Flexibility Meets Functionality
Naturally, a carefully crafted content strategy needs to be employed to optimize the efficiency of the digital signage. Each campaign can be a clean slate or a continued progression of resonating themes. Perhaps the true beauty of digital signage is the unobtrusive nature of the delivery. Eyeballs are drawn to it, not the other way around.
However, banks must be mindful not to overwhelm viewers with non-stop product pitches, which can be a turnoff. Visible Banking notes the majority of banks utilize a split of 75 percent bank-related content and 25 percent non-bank related content. Bank content can include product promotions, while non-bank content includes stock market quotes and sports scores.
The Future Is Now
Imagine if customers could interact with the digital signage through their mobile devices, perhaps having access to AI-powered personal assistants or chatbots utilizing geolocation beacon technology to greet them by name as they walked into a branch. While many of these ideas seem like mere novelties, the end goal is to ultimately provide a positive, customized banking experience that can manifest into loyalty and recurring sales growth.
The bank of the future is a concept that embodies efficiency. Decision-makers must think about the future now and how their bank’s transformation is being shaped by its components. Digital signage is an indispensable visual communication tool that can softly usher in this era of transformation as the bank of the future materializes into reality.
Stay in tune with the latest digital financial services trends by checking out our complete line of finance technology solutions.
If Apple made a leather backpack for MacBook Pro models, I’m pretty sure it would look and feel a lot like the Harber London Slim Laptop Backpack.
Regular readers will know I’m a sucker for premium leather bags, and I’m an equal opportunity guy when it comes to different leather styles and finishes. But if you look at things like Apple’s leather sleeve for the MacBook Pro, it’s clear that the company favors extremely smooth and soft leather, at a price that reflects the quality – and that’s exactly what we get with this backpack …
It’s available in two sizes, one for 13- to 14-inch laptops, the other for 15- to 16-inch ones. I tested the larger of the two, which comfortably accommodates my 16-inch MacBook Pro, alongside my 12.9-inch iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard in a separate slot.Look and feel
The backpack measures around 16 inches high by 11 inches wide by 2 inches deep. The shallow depth is deliberate: The pack is designed to hold a laptop and a few other bits and pieces, and to do so in as little space as possible.
It’s made from full-grain cowhide leather, in a choice of three colors: tan, black, and deep brown. The quality of the leather is absolutely first-rate. It’s a very smooth-looking leather and is buttery-soft to the touch. This is one aspect to which a review can never do justice, but if you’re familiar with Apple’s leather MacBook or iPad sleeves, it has a very similar finish and feel to those.
The main stitching is internal, and the visible stitching around the zips, exterior compartment, and backpack straps is really neat. Both zips are protected by rubber strips that completely hide the zip when closed.
This is a very expensive bag, but it really looks and feels the part.
Inside, there are two main slots, plus pockets for smartphone, cables, and so on. The smartphone slot is large enough to hold an iPhone 12 Pro Max. There’s a separate compartment on the outside of the bag with room for a power brick and cables.
In addition to the backpack straps, there’s a rear handle, and a slot for using it on a wheeled cabin bag.In use
The backpack straps are comfortable, and the very slim design means you completely avoid the biggest drawback to backpacks: the danger of hitting someone or something when turning around.
There’s no leisure air travel in or out of the UK at present, but having used a similar slim backpack in the past, I’m confident that the bag would fit on top of a cabin bag in an overhead locker.
Of course, the two-inch depth does mean this is strictly a tech bag. A MacBook, an iPad, an iPhone, a few cables, and a power brick. This is not a general-purpose backpack, so you can forget any ideas about throwing in a water bottle and a sweater.Pricing and conclusions
In US dollars, the 13- to 14-inch version costs $390, while the 15- to 16-inch version costs $418. Both come with free worldwide shipping.
That’s very expensive. But, given the quality, and the fact that Apple charges $199 just for a sleeve made from similar leather, I don’t think it’s out of line. This is a bag that stands up against some very well-known designer brands in terms of both look and feel. Whether it’s worth the money is a very subjective question, but I don’t think it has any problem justifying its price.
The slim design means that the Harber London backpack is definitely not the thing to buy if you’re a one-backpack person. But if, like me, you have different bags for different functions and occasions, this is a really great option to have when you want a comfortable way to carry a MacBook Pro and little else.
I also suspect it may become my standard second carry-on bag when we can travel again. The slim size means it’s not going to get any argument from airline staff about whether it qualifies as a laptop bag; the slot to fit over a roller-bag handle makes it super-convenient in airports; and a backpack is a more useful thing than a briefcase-style bag when wandering around at the destination.
The Harber London Slim Laptop Backpack is available in two sizes and three colors. It can be ordered from the company’s website, with pricing in a range of currencies, and free worldwide shipping.
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Robert Triggs / Android Authority
Yes, that’s a GameBoy case. A fully functioning GameBoy case, to be precise. Well, of sorts — it’s not an officially licensed Nintendo product.
In fact, I doubt the manufacturer has the rights to market such a close likeness of the iconic handheld game console, let alone use the name or sell the games. But that’s the current state of Chinese manufacturing, and it’s not like Nintendo is ever going to make something this awesome.
Read more: The ultimate guide to buying phone cases
The design perfectly encapsulates the classic GameBoy vibe, which initially lured me in. The kicker is a set of nostalgic games to give those idle thumbs something to do. If you’re after the ultimate retro look for your phone and accompanying time sink, well, this case is absolutely what you’re looking for. At least if you own a recent iPhone or Galaxy handset, as the range of supported models is very limited.
What’s it like to use?
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
This gaming bit is running on a Chinese game emulator, complete with some poorly translated game titles when selecting the English language option. Which you have to do on every restart.
It includes 36 built-in games with classic GameBoy titles like Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and Tetris.
It includes 36 built-in games in total; a handful of GameBoy classics, titles nabbed from other platforms, and some which I doubt ever saw commercial release for their sheer shoddiness. The list includes Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Tetris(a), Ice Climbers, “Boom Man,” and an assortment of more banal titles like Soccer, Pinball, and Chinese Chess. The selection might keep you occupied while waiting for a bus, but it’s hardly a GameBoy highlight reel.
The case features a soft D-pad and A/B buttons (they’re not solid plastic like the original), along with on/off, reset, start/pause, and sound keys. It can be charged up via micro-USB and has a little LED light to let you know when it’s charging.
It functions pretty well as a case too, in the sense that it’s hefty. I’m now more worried about breaking the console than I am about the phone. There are well-placed cutouts for usual things like the camera housing and USB-C port, and you can continue to stow the Galaxy S22 Ultra‘s stylus with the case on. The soft power button and volume rocker keys complete the design. It certainly looks and feels the part of a pretty rugged phone case.
Cheap manufacturing at its finest
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
Alright, with the good stuff out of the way, I do regret spending $37 on this epitome of crass consumerism (actually $74 — I bought two of them!). While the aesthetic draws you in, once it’s in your hand, it’s immediately obvious that it probably costs about $7 to make.
With no battery indicator, figuring out when you need to charge the thing is a game in and of itself.
For starters, the rubber buttons have popped out of their enclosure on numerous occasions. The speaker is crummy and distorted, the display is not centered properly, and it makes the already rather large Galaxy S22 Ultra more than a centimeter thicker. Not to mention that you lose wireless charging capabilities with the case on, and you have to charge it separately via a micro-USB port. It’s clearly too much to ask for a battery level indicator, though. The screen just dims and then goes black when the juice runs low, but the games keep running for a few minutes more. Figuring out when you need to charge the thing is a game in and of itself.
There are at least a couple of other things the manufacturer could have done to make this a better product. It’s wasted the opportunity to leverage reverse wireless charging, or at least a USB-C attachment to draw power from the phone. A microSD card slot to load up other games would have been awesome as well, rather than being stuck with the built-in library that you’ll tire of quite quickly. It’s really not a proper GameBoy experience without Metroid, Pokemon, or Zelda. Serious Nintendo fans would clearly be better off with an Android emulator.
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