Hands-On, MWC 2019, Smartphone

Energizer Power Max P18K Pop Hands-On: A Power Bank Running on Android

Okay, so the Energizer Power Max P18K Pop (try saying that five times quickly) isn’t actually a power bank. Rather, it’s an Android smartphone with an absolutely huge 18,000mAh battery. The phone is so thick, it would’ve been more accurate to call it a power bank.

Nonetheless, the Power Max is very much a full-fledged smartphone, and if you want absolutely amazing battery life, this is the right phone for you – if you can even get one, that is.

Despite its brand name, the Energizer Power Max isn’t exactly made by Energizer itself; French company Avenir Telecom holds the license for the Energizer branding. For the most part, the company releases entry-level to mid-range devices.

How about the Power Max? It’s comfortably a mid-range smartphone. It features a 6.2-inch 1080p display, a MediaTek Helio P70 chipset paired with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, and of course, a huge 18,000mAh battery. Yes, that’s the most important hardware here.

Not only is the Power Max extremely thick at 18mm, it’s also a very hefty smartphone. Avenir did not reveal the exact weight of the phone, but you’ll definitely feel it in your pocket. Yes, I tried to put the phone in my jeans pocket, and surprisingly, it actually fit! I don’t think it would be particularly pleasant to have it in my pocket for too long though.

However, a phone this thick presents some…interesting ergonomic challenges. It’s extremely difficult to use with only one hand, and if you’re a leftie, good luck reaching for the power button on the right side of the phone. I tried, and it’s really hard to do.

On the flip side, the metal chassis of the Power Max does feel quite robust. In fact, it feels a lot like a power bank. If you feel like it, you can even treat it like one – the Power Max can be used to charge other devices. How long will it take to charge the phone itself? About eight hours or so with a fast charger.

Despite its bulky chassis, the Power Max has quite a sleek-looking front design. Its 6.2-inch display is free from any notch or hole-punch cutout, and the bottom screen bezel is quite minimal. The display quality itself, on the other hand, isn’t all that bad either.

So where is the front-facing camera? Well, much like the Vivo V15 Pro, the Power Max has a motorised camera module with two sensors: 16MP + 2MP. Unfortunately, the camera mechanism of the demo unit I tested wasn’t working, so it is permanently sticking out of the phone.

Considering the fact that the device was handled by so many people prior to me – I suspect it is the only working unit at the booth – this isn’t all that surprising. This shouldn’t serve as an indication of the module’s durability.

But when it comes to performance, the Power Max isn’t the most refined device. Even though it runs on Android 9 Pie, the phone has some stuttering here and there, and I was only navigating around the home screen. It’s not like the Helio P70 is a bad chipset – it should be powerful enough to provide a decent user experience.

Sporting a 12MP + 5MP + 2MP triple camera system, you shouldn’t expect the Power Max to have great camera performance. The camera interface itself is quite simple, and it’s responsive enough for a decent shooting experience.

The image output, however, isn’t particularly great. It will work in a pinch, but based on a few shots I managed to capture with the phone, you won’t want to do any serious photography with it. This is, after all, a mid-range smartphone.

The Energizer Power Max P18K Pop will be available sometime in June 2019, and for the European market, it will go for a cool 599 euro, which comes up to about RM2,770. That’s a lot of money for a device in this segment, and it’s not particularly polished either in a number of important areas.

Nonetheless, I imagine there will be folks who will be interested to get the Power Max just for its sheer battery life. There are probably no other smartphones with a 18,000mAh cell under the hood, and that in itself is a good selling point.

That being said, if you’re in Malaysia, and you want to get the Power Max, you probably wouldn’t be able to. At least, not by official means. If there’s enough interest, I’m positive parallel importers will bring in the Power Max – just expect to pay a premium price tag for it.