Hands on: MiPow Power Tube 3000 Lightning

Time to juice up! This battery pack always knows how much power it has left

It’s impossible to know how much battery is left in most external battery packs, but the Power Tube 3000 shows you exactly how much juice you have with its very own app.

Until smartphone batteries see the revolution we’ve been promised for years, those of us wanting to make sure we’re not caught without power will have to rely on extended battery packs. The market is flooded with external chargers that come in all shapes, sizes, and prices.

One of the newest additions is the MiPow Power Tube 3000. It may not have the best name in the world, but it does boast a cool claim to fame — It’s the world’s first Bluetooth Smart connected battery pack with an app, and it’s a surprisingly handy little feature.

At first, things look all too familiar. The Power Tube 3000 has a set of three LED lights on the front, which indicate how much power is inside the battery. Almost all other packs have the same setup, and it’s not all that helpful when it comes to carefully judging how much energy is left in the battery pack. However, the Power Tube 3000 also has a Bluetooth connection to your phone, which links up to an app.

MiPow Power Tube 3000
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Open the app, and you get an exact percentage of how much life is remaining inside the battery. For example, right now one light appears on the Power Tube 3000, which logically means there’s somewhere between 0 and 33 percent energy remaining. While 33 percent would be adequate for an emergency charge, 3 percent probably won’t. Fire up the app, and it reveals that there’s a mere 9 percent left inside — meaning it’s definitely time to charge it back up.

What’s more, the Bluetooth connection also reminds you if you leave the battery pack behind, warns you if the temperature rises too high, and alerts you when the battery cell reaches a certain capacity during discharge.

The app needs some love

Although knowing exactly how much battery you’ve got left is great, there are a couple of problems with the MiPow Power Tube 3000. First, the Bluetooth range is so long that I had driven my car down the road before the app told me I’d left the Power Tube behind. The delayed reaction isn’t so bad when I’m in control of the vehicle, but it would be more of a pain if I were in a taxi. Second, the alerts don’t override the mute function on an iPhone, so if you keep your phone silenced, they can’t be heard. The app’s design is also a little outdated, which will annoy some users.

The app’s design is a little outdated, which will annoy some users.

As far as charging goes, the device performed well. The 3,000mAh battery took an almost flat iPhone 6 Plus to just under a 70-percent charge in a couple of hours. However, the Tube itself needs about the same time to recharge. Handily, there’s no need for any additional cables with the Tube. It comes with a full-size USB, so it can plug right into an adaptor. Plus, a built-in Lightning or Micro USB connecter allows quick connection to your phone.

Combine this with its small size and low weight — it’s only 85 grams — plus a pleasant little storage bag, and the Power Tube 3000 is very convenient. It disappears in a bag, and there’s no need to carry around (and potentially lose) any cables. The soft-touch casing feels great, and the design is sensible. I’d rather carry this in my pocket than the flat Mophie Juice Pack. If MiPow can give the app an overhaul, and tweak the distance reminder alerts, then we’d have little to complain about.

The Power Tube 3000 smart battery pack is also well priced at $50/£45, and it can be purchased directly through MiPow’s own online store. There are plenty of mobile extended battery packs out there, and while its app and nifty accessories make the Power Tube 3000 stand out, the app needs a little love to bring out the full benefit of that unique Bluetooth Smart connection.


  • Connects using Bluetooth Smart
  • Precise charge measurements
  • Built-in connections
  • Small and lightweight
  • Well priced


  • App isn’t pretty
  • Alerts don’t override phone mute
  • 1A output means it’s only for phones
Product Review

Now that every speaker has Alexa, don't you want the best? Get the Sonos One

To compete in the smart speaker space, Sonos could have just made a better-sounding Alexa speaker. But the company has a reputation to uphold, and went much further. Our Sonos One Review reveals how Sonos does Alexa better than Amazon.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.

Common Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and S10e problems and how to fix them

Samsung's new Galaxy S10 range is gorgeous and extremely powerful. But they're not perfect, and you may discover some issues with your new phone. Here are some of the most common Galaxy S10 problems and how to fix them.

YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. What's changed, and should you subscribe?

Thanks to Google, YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. We explain what exactly a YouTube Premium subscription gets you, how much it costs, and break down if it's a good choice for you.

The latest Apple iPad Pros get steep discounts on Amazon

The iPad Pro is now in its third generation, and the 2018 refresh of this premium tablet is, hands down, Apple’s best one yet. It’s on sale right now, too, for a good discount which can let you score one for as little as $675.
Smart Home

The Houzz app now lets you virtually tile your floor with augmented reality

Augmented reality is starting to be a real bonus to apps like Houzz's View in My Room 3D tool, which recently added the ability to measure how a tiled floor might look in your living space.

Walmart drops a killer deal on the Apple iPad Mini 4 tablet

The Apple iPad still reigns supreme in the tablet market, and the pint-sized 7.9-inch iPad Mini is the perfect everyday carry companion. Now’s the perfect chance to score a deal on the last-gen iPad Mini 4 before it’s gone for good.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Tesla taxis, NYC auto show, and Sony’s 8K TV

On the latest episode of DT Live, we discuss Tesla's autonomous taxi plans, a Face ID lawsuit against Apple,, choosing imperfect produce, the release of Mortal Kombat 11, sustainable fashion, and more.

WWDC 2019 Complete Coverage

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is a key tech event each year, and for Apple fans, it will be one of the two best times of 2019 (along with "new iPhone day," of course). For the last few years, Apple has debuted much of its…

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best affordable phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget…

Which smartphone has the best camera? We found the sharpest shooters

They say that the best camera is always the one you have with you and that makes your smartphone camera very important indeed. Join us for a closer look at the best camera phones available right now.

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.

Leaked memo: If your MacBook keyboard dies, Apple will fix or replace in one day

If your Apple MacBook keyboard is problematic, getting it fixed at a Genius Bar just got a lot easier. Apple has now mandated that its Geniuses repair or replace MacBook keyboards by the next working day.

Step into Childish Gambino’s musical universe with the Pharos AR app

Childish Gambino seems to be on a mission to take over everyone's smartphones. Now you can experience his musical and visual universe through his new Pharos AR app, available on Android now and iOS soon.