EE Power Bar E1-01 full review

Mobile network, EE, has its own devices and now its own power bank with which to charge them (and others). There's a lot to like about this one, so here's our EE Power Bar review. See also: Best power banks 2015 UK: best portable chargers for smartphones and tablets.

Also see: Best Black Friday Gadget Deals

Like you, we love things which are free, and that's exactly how much the EE Power Bar costs. It's hard to believe but you can walk into an EE shop and pick up a freshly charged Power Bar without spending a penny.

Okay, you have to be an EE, Orange or T-Mobile customer in order to pull this off. It's open to customers on a 30-day, 12-, 18- or 24-month plan. Pay As You Go customers can also participate, but will need to have been a customer for at least three months. Broadband customers can also get a free EE Power Bar - find our how to get a free EE Power Bar.

If you're on another network you can still buy an EE Power Bar for £20 and join the EE Power scheme. EE still owns the Power Bar itself as you're buying into the programme. If you're not fussed about the ability to swap then you're best off spending money on a higher-capacity power bank or simply cheaper power bank. For example, the Intocircuit PowerMini 3000 is now just £8.99, while the Anker Astro Mini 3200mAh costs £9.99, and both have a slightly higher capacity and - we think - nicer metal design than the green and yellow plastic EE Power Bar.

Whether you pick up an EE Power Bar for free or buy one there is a major perk – you can swap it in any EE store for a freshly charged one as often as you like. You don't even have to pay for the electricity to recharge it so EE customers are getting a pretty sweet deal.

Note: You will have to swap your Power Bar every 18 months, even if you've been charging it yourself, for a new one. There is a clause stating you may be charged £5 but this is not very likely unless you've trashed the power bank. No carry case is supplied with the EE Power Bar, so be sure to keep it safe. Also see: Best MiFi 2016.

Due to popularity you might find it hard to get a Power Bar but if you do, this little things is quite a handy power bank. Like many others it a short cylinder decked out in EE colours so it might not look the most stylish but it's hard to leave behind.

The EE Power Bar has a 2600mAh capacity and a single 5W (5V, 1A) output, so it's neither particularly huge in capacity, nor will it charge your phone especially fast. Don't assume you'll be able to completely charge a 2600mAh phone battery with this power bank either: with most power banks averaging 65- to 70 percent efficiency you're looking at around 1800mAh of usable power. That might fully charge an iPhone, but it won't offer a complete charge to many Android phones. Still, it's a handy amount of power to get you through the day.

The EE Power Bar has a 5W (5V, 1A) Micro-USB port for topping up its own battery. Whether or not this power bank supports passthrough charging (the ability to charge both itself and an attached phone) is neither here nor there, since the Micro-USB and full-size USB ports are so close together you'd be hard-pushed to squeeze in two cables at once. A short USB cable is included with male versions of these ports, so if you have an iPhone or other device which doesn't have Micro-USB you'll need to use your own cable. Also see: How to charge your smartphone or tablet faster.

The EE Power Bar supports auto-on and auto-off, so to begin charging you simply attach your phone. There is a power button, too, but this is used to check the remaining capacity via a traditional set of four white LEDs, or to activate the built-in LED torch with a double-tap. The flashlight is a standard inclusion on most power banks, although arguably more useful on pocket-sized power banks such as this one than some higher-capacity, bulkier banks.


EE Power Bar E1-01: Specs

  • 2600mAh capacity
  • 1x 5W (1A, 5V) USB output
  • 1x 5W (5V, 1A) Micro-USB input
  • 4-LED status system
  • built-in LED torch
  • auto-on/-off
  • no carry case
  • no passthrough charging
  • 98x25x25mm
  • 68g
  • remains the property of EE

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