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Kickstarter darling EcoFlow Delta battery generator is not what it seems – TechCrunch

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The Delta EcoFlow is a new battery generator available on Kickstarter with incredible claimed features. Most are true, some are not.

Device like the Delta offer incredible battery storage capacity. Designed for more than just recharging phones and tablets, these can run refrigerators, pumps, power tools and medical equipment. They’re great for emergencies, camping and general use where power is not available. Similar devices have been on the market for some years so I was eager to verify EcoFlow’s claims.

The EcoFlow Delta can recharge from a wall outlet to 80% in an hour. It’s amazing. The GoalZero Yeti battery of a similar size takes 25 hours. This capability means the Delta can be used and then reused more than competitors.

The device is currently on Kickstarter where it quickly acquired over $2 million from over 2,000 backers. The device’s features listed on the Kickstarter page are clear, but after testing a pre-production unit, I found several of these advertised capabilities and features misleading or false.

The Delta is the latest product from EcoFlow. The company’s founder, Eli Harris, says it’s “The world’s strongest battery generator.” I found the Delta to be a competent battery generator with similar capabilities to competitors but it’s hampered by loud fans.

In short, if you need a battery generator that can recharge much faster than others, the Delta is a great option. Otherwise, the GoalZero Yeti makes more sense for most people.

Battery generators are a safe and more portable option than their gas counterparts. There are no harmful fumes or fuel allowing them to be used indoors, nearer the appliances or tools. Most often (though not with the Delta) they’re silent, too, making them perfect for a camping or hunting companion.

In real-world operation, this quick recharge time could come in handy. Say, on a construction site or in an emergency incident where power is still available, but out of reach of an extension cord — situations where loud gas generators are generally used. While the Delta is louder than other battery generators, it is not as loud as a gas generator.

The Delta battery comes packaged with a warning that the battery must be fully charged before use. I generally ignore warnings, but I followed this one and immediately plugged it in. Instantly, fans whirled to life and the screen popped on displaying the current charge levels and how long it would take to get to 100%. The Delta was at 30% and would take 45 minutes to fully recharge. It worked as advertised and 45 minutes later the battery was at 100%.

Recharging the Delta battery was a noisy affair. The fans are loud and continue to run after the battery is fully charged. Compared to a GoalZero Yeti, this was a shock. The Yeti is silent where the Delta is not. I keep a Yeti 1400 in my basement, plugged in and ready to use. But with the Delta, even when the battery is fully charged, loud fans still run presumably to keep the unit cool. EcoFlow says the shelf life on the Delta is over a year where the GoalZero Yeti is six months. To me, I would rather have the battery constantly plugged into power so I know it’s ready to go when needed.

The Delta recharges without an AC power inverter (a power brick); it uses the same sort of cable as a desktop PC. The company says by passing through the inverter directly, the Delta can increase charging speed to more than 10 times the traditional AC to DC adapter cable. This also means it’s easier to replace a lost charging cable.

The Delta is much lighter than competing products and its design makes it easier to move. EcoFlow says it’s rugged, and it feels the part. Even my pre-production sample feels tough and ready to go to work. Large rubber pads keep the battery in place and the tough plastic feels more durable than competing products.

There are a handful of plugs and outlets around the device, including USB, USB-C and six AC outlets. It’s a lot and similar in capacity to large gas generators. Most battery generators have much fewer AC outlets, though I’ve often supplemented the capability with small power strips.


Kickstarter Beware

The Delta is currently on Kickstarter for pre-order and exceeded its goal. I fear a good amount of backers will be upset to learn several notable advertised features are false or misleading.

The Delta is not silent. Under operation, either recharging a cell phone or running a power tool, loud fans run on both sides of the battery. These fans run when recharging the battery, too — even when the battery is fully charged. The Kickstarter page and video lists throughout that the Delta produces no noise.

ecoflow delta

These fans detract from the appeal of the Delta battery. They’re loud. You have to raise your voice to speak over them. Because of these fans, I wouldn’t take the Delta camping or use it in the backyard for a quiet get-together. During power outage situations, I wouldn’t want to sleep near it. But I would use it for power tools — like EcoFlow does in one of its demo videos.

Only one of the four videos on the Kickstarter page allows potential owners to hear the Delta battery. The third video on the page shows the battery powering a hammer drill. Six seconds into the video, the drill stops running, and the battery’s fans are audible.

There are a handful of competing batteries that operate without noisy fans. I’ve taken GoalZero’s Yeti batteries camping and they’re great despite their heft. They’re truly silent and can still recharge from solar panels and car batteries. I’ve used battery generators from Jackery, too, and those are also silent.

I spoke with Ecoflow CEO and Founder Eli Harris during the run-up of this review. He was clear that Ecoflow’s main competitor is not other large batteries, but rather small gas generators available from Honda and others. And that makes a lot of sense. Those are the best selling generators available and widely used for emergency and convenience. These small generators are loud, and the Ecoflow Delta is quieter than those options while still offering most of the power capabilities.

When asked why the Kickstarter page is misleading, he said “that fallacy has never been called out” and he would check with his team about the use of “superlatives and blanket statements.” Three days later, the Kickstarter page still lists the false claims.

EcoFlow claims the Delta battery can run a variety of power tools, including drills, circular saws, power washers and welders. I found this capability hit or miss. Despite some tools being under the claimed amperage and wattage of the Delta battery, the battery wouldn’t power my small or large circular saw or power washer. EcoFlow also claims the battery can recharge a Tesla; it doesn’t recharge my Chevy Volt.

Many tools require extra power when starting up, and I found most of these surge requirements to exceed the capabilities of the Delta battery. This is the same with other batteries like the GoalZero Yeti. In fact, I couldn’t find one tool in my workshop that the Delta powered and the Yeti did not; they worked the same for me, and I have a lot of tools.

Don’t mistake what I’m saying. The EcoFlow Delta has impressive capabilities mainly around its recharge capabilities. This makes it an attractive option for the right use. It’s compact and solid. It has a lot of outlets and is easy to move. This could be a lifesaver in emergency situations where a person still has access to power.

The Delta has some downsides just like other battery generators. It doesn’t offer a dramatic increase in electrical output over competitors so don’t expect this battery to power larger devices. Don’t expect a silent operation, either. This massive battery is loud though, I admit, that’s a relative term. It’s louder than other battery generators but less loud than a gas generator.

I would rather have a silent battery generator that recharges slowly versus a noisy, fast-recharging battery. I use my battery generators camping and around the house when the power goes out. The Delta makes sense on a construction site or when providing power is priority. I just can’t get over the loud fans.



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Best 5G phones to buy in first half of 2021 – Beyond iPhone 12

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The iPhone 12 series comprising iPhone 12 Pro Max – finest 5G phone yet – is an outright choice for Apple fanboys. The 5G coverage is excellent and paired to the 5nm A14 Bionic chipset, these make a perfect combo of power and performance. The possibility of owning an iPhone 12 is bleak if you don’t fancy the Apple ecosystem and have an inclined preference for Android. What are the best handsets that you can gun for considering there are so many 5G phones cropping up with each passing day?

5G smartphones are expensive at the moment yet they are the way forward. It’s only a matter of time before these become a staple frankly for offering way faster wireless speeds than 4G. Arguably, there is time still before 5G is full-proof and the faster mmWave-based network is well established, but 5G is currently more real than ever before, and it’s fitting then that you future-proof your smartphone by upgrading to 5G device this year.

These currently available – few on the horizon – 5G smartphones, we have listed here, are not just etched with 5G and let other aspects slip. These devices have state-of-the-art processors, mammoth processing memory, and of course cameras to drool over. Price is of course a factor but OEMs are trying to cut some corners – in the non-flagship segment – to offer more affordable phones publicizing 5G support. Here are then the best 5G Android smartphones you should buy within the first half of 2021.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Matching the iPhone 12 Pro Max shoulder to shoulder, and even bettering it in bits, Galaxy S21 Ultra is the best 5G phone for Android users with deeper pockets. Dressed in new colors (from its predecessors) with matte finish for a classier appeal, the phone has Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED display measuring 6.8-inches and offering 120Hz refresh rate. The phone for the first time brings S Pen compatibility to the Galaxy S series, and for the good we are discussing, it supports all 5G bands and also Wi-Fi 6E if you have a router to take care of that.

Meeting its power needs from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor under its hood, the Samsung flagship has stunning cameras – three on the back and a 40MP selfie shooter. The rear camera module comprises 108MP primary camera, 12MP ultra-wide lens, and 10MP telephoto camera. Capable of recording 8K videos, Galaxy S21 Ultra comes in a range of memory configurations topped by 16GB RAM and 512GB UFS 3.1 storage priced at $1,380.

Google Pixel 4a 5G

Some may argue in favor of Google Pixel 5 as a better alternative, but we lineup the Pixel 4a 5G for its affordable tag despite having ¾th of the same DNA as its elder sibling and wonderful software experience –backed by Google – which sets the Pixel offering in a league of its own. The phone rests under the $500 price point – making it a must-have budget 5G smartphone. It supports both Sub-6 GHz and the faster mmWave networks like the Pixel 5 with two primary caveats.

Pixel 4a 5G has 60Hz FHD+ 6.2-inch display in comparison to 90Hz on the Pixel 5, and it comes in just black hue, while its sibling touts sorta sage in addition to just black. Everything else from Snapdragon 765G processor to 128GB UFS 2.1 storage is similar on the two devices.

Of course, you get 8GB of RAM on Pixel 5 as opposed to only 6GB on Pixel 4a 5G, the latter is powered by 3,885mAh battery and has 12.2MP primary and 16MP ultra-wide camera on the back. If you’re into music and don’t mind compromising dust, water-proofing on the Pixel 5, the Pixel 4a 5G has headphone jack for your good.

Xiaomi Mi 11

Xiaomi Mi 11, probably the best flagship from the Chinese OEM to date, is directly comparable to the brand’s own Redmi K40 Pro+, but since the latter is available in China for now, we prefer the globally available Mi 11 as the better choice. Redmi K40 Pro+ offers many similar features for a significantly lesser price but international availability – if it happens – may change the ball game, so it’s wiser to consider Xiaomi Mi 11 a full-proof option to invest in.

Xiaomi Mi 11 comes with a very attractive 6.81-inch Quad HD+ AMOLED curved screen that renders a better screen-to-body ratio, and per DisplayMate, provides highest visible screen resolution out there. Powered by Snapdragon 888 paired with up to 12GB RAM, 256GB UFS 3.1 onboard storage; the dual 5G SIM capable Xiaomi Mi 11 supports Sub-6 GHz network.

For the optics, the phone has a triple rear camera setup comprising 108MP main camera with OIS, 13MP ultra-wide lens, and 5MP macro camera. A 20-megapixel lens makes for a selfie shooter. What really turns the flow in Xiaomi Mi 11’s favor is the phone’s 4,600mAh battery that supports 50W wired and wireless charging, and 10W reverse charging to juice up an odd gadget wirelessly.

OnePlus 9

OnePlus is gearing up a new flagship in OnePlus 9, which will lock heads with other competitors – especially the Samsung S21 series – for the top 5G smartphone slot. Rumored to feature a 6.5-inch 120Hz display, the phone, according to company CEO Pete Lau is slated for March 8 release. There is no word on the price, but we can presume it to start at around $900.

The most recent OnePlus 8T was a lost cause for the company, now to make a befitting comeback, the Chinese OEM is expected to stock the 9 series phone with at least Snapdragon 870 5G, though there is a possibility of Snapdragon 888 processor making the final cut. The phone packed with Ultrashot triple camera setup on the back will have a left-aligned punch-hole selfie camera, and a 4,500mAh battery capable of supporting 65W fast charging.

Carrying on from the 8T, the OnePlus 9 could feature 45W wireless charging and reverse charging options as well. The phone is likely to support Sub-6 GHz and mmWave 5G network and should make a flagship to vouch for provided OnePlus can ensure it is not overpriced.

Realme GT 5G

Realme GT 5G is a device-specific to China at this point with the possibility of venturing out to India and select European markets in the near future. That may be a put-off for users stateside but take nothing away from this true-flagship killer. It ventures into that domain with top-tier Snapdragon 888 powering its guts. Priced at roughly $430, it is the cheapest Snapdragon 888 powered 5G smartphone out there.

In addition to the spectacular processing power, Realme GT 5G will feature 120Hz, 6.43-inch Samsung OLED display with 2400×1080 pixel resolution. The phone may slightly fall short in the optics with 64MP Sony IMX682 main shooter, 8MP ultra-wide, and 2MP macro camera; it makes up with 12GB RAM, up to 256GB of UFS 3.1 native storage, and 4,500mAh battery that supports 65W fast charging.

ASUS ROG Phone 5

If a 5G phone can add dedicated gaming prowess, it’s a perfect recipe to sell. ASUS Republic of Gamers’ Phones have cut out a niche for themselves in the gaming arena, and the latest iteration in the series – the ROG Phone 5 – marries this awesome combo to present itself as a 5G smartphone to watch out for. Expected to launch on March 10, the 6.78-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display supporting 1080 x 2340 pixels resolution has 144Hz screen refresh rate.

The ROG Phone 5 is likely to feature a triple camera setup on the back and have four microphones and symmetrical dual front-facing speakers. Drawing power from Snapdragon 888 SoC the new gaming phone will re-introduce the 3.5mm jack and have memory configuration of up to 16GB RAM and 512GB UFS 3.1 storage.

The dual-band 5G smartphone is likely to have a secondary LCD or LED matrix display on its back panel, which would possibly display notification and function as a touch controller while gaming. ROG Phone 5 will come with 6,000mAh battery capable of charging at blistering speeds with 65W charger. 10W reverse charging is an added plus.

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Fitbit Ace 3 leaked: A fitness tracker your kid will probably want

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Today the Fitbit Ace 3 leaked in almost all ways, appearing in press photos, with press details, and attached to a reveal date. The Fitbit Ace 3 is (as the name implies) the third version of Fitbit’s kid-aimed fitness tracker, appearing here in black and blue. This device works with a larger OLED display than its predecessors, with features that suggest it’ll be able to remain active and awake for days on end.

The Fitbit Ace 3 was leaked by WinFuture today from almost all angles. This device is reported to roll with a 1.47-inch OLED touchscreen display in gray. It’s quite likely this device will have a simple-as-possible display to make the best use of the battery that sits under the hood. With grayscale only – or JUST black and white – this watch could last for days.

According to leaked specifications, this device has a full charge time of 2 hours, that delivering then a runtime of 192 hours. That’s a full 8 days on a single charge!

The leaked data on this device suggests it’ll track the user’s movements to deliver distance measurements, calorie consumption (somehow, magically?) and sleep monitor data. This device has a built-in pedometer, too.

You’ll connect to this device with Bluetooth and change settings with connected apps on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. The device is “waterproof” to some degree*, and it’ll work with a “family account” as housed on the smartphone of the wearer’s parent.

*As noted by WinFuture, since this device’s predecessor can be submerged in water as deep as 50 meters for a short period of time, we can probably safely assume this new model will be at least as ready to take on the elements.

Per the leak, this Fitbit Ace 3 wearable device will be revealed at an event (or simple press release) on March 15, 2021. This device will likely cost similar to previously released Fitbit Ace devices, and it’ll be released in at least two color combinations. One is black and red, the other is blue and green.

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Samsung Galaxy XCover 5 ready for rugged phone future

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The next Samsung smartphone is the Galaxy XCover 5, revealed for the first time this week. This device works with some of the most modern smartphone features and abilities and has a rugged exterior for protection against the elements and everyday hardcore life. It’s not the most extravagant device in the world – but it doesn’t need to be!

The Samsung Galaxy XCover 5 works with a 5.3” HD+ TFT (Full Front) display with overall phone dimensions at 147.1 x 71.6 x 9.2mm. Inside this device works with a Samsung-designed Exynos 850 (Octa 2.0GHz) chipset with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage.

This device has a very baseline set of cameras, with a 16-megapixel camera on the back with autofocus and an f/1.8 aperture. Up front is a 5-megapixel camera with an f/2.2 aperture. It’ll be able to capture the most basic of photos and videos – but don’t expect anything particularly fantastic!

There’s a removable battery inside – 3,000mAh of battery power inside, with 15W fast charging support. You’ll charge with USB-C*, and you’ll be able to remove and replace the battery at will. Back about a decade ago, this sort of feature was standard with most smartphones. Now it’s shocking and quite appreciated!

*This device also has POGO pins for use with POGO pin charge docks. You’ll want to make certain you have a compatible charger to make use of this POGO pin system, mind you – and there’s no QI-standard wireless charging to speak of, largely because you’ll either get wireless charging OR a removable battery in a phone.

This device is ready to face off against whatever workplace you’re situated in, courtesy of IP68 Water and Dust Resistance. This device is also MIL-STD810H certified (AKA the department of defense test method standard for environmental engineering considerations and laboratory tests.)

Depending on the market in which this device is purchased, you’ll find either single SIM or dual-SIM support. NFC appears in every version of the device, as well as an accelerometer, proximity sensor, geomagnetic sensor, light sensor, and gyroscope.

The Samsung Galaxy XCover 5 was announced with a release date in March 2021 – with a variety of exact dates in each of the markets in which the device is released. Asia, Latin America, and Europe will see this device released first, followed by other regions “at a later date.”

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