The Energizer Power Max P18K Pop, Energizer’s monumental battery beast of a phone, has been added to crowdfunding site IndieGoGo – but hardly anyone is interested.
Energizer’s handset boasts the biggest battery ever in a smartphone at 18,000mAh, and it’s also one of the first ever devices to have a dual-lens front-facing pop-up camera.
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Added to IndieGoGo on March 21, after 24 hours the handset had reached a grand total of two backers, which puts it less than 1% of the way towards its goal of $1.2 million (roughly £910,000, AU$1.7 million).
The Energizer phone is offered from $549 (around £420, AU$775) for early bird backers, with a final retail price at $699 (roughly £530, $990).
The poor backer figures (at the time of writing) are a little surprising given that at MWC 2019 there were significant waits to see the Energizer Power Max P18K Pop, with queues of people waiting to test it out. So why is it that no-one wants to get their hands on the Energizer phone now it’s on sale to the public?
Who is it for?
Something we noted in our hands-on review of the Energizer Power Max P18K Pop is that we couldn’t work out who the phone was actually for – and it seems consumers can’t either.
The Energizer phone’s two strengths are its massive battery and its novel dual-lens pop-up camera – brilliant battery life and camera potential mean it would be great for people traveling, who will want to be able to throw the phone in a bag and only bring it out for the occasional selfie – but the phone is too big to be the perfect portable device.
Similarly it has lots in common with certain rugged phones, like its bulky size and long-lasting battery, but it just doesn’t have the features of other rugged phones that make them fit for purpose like infrared scanners or a hardy design to survive rough impacts.
Of course, normal smartphone users aren’t going to consider it as a viable device, given that it’s much bigger than even the largest smartphones, and runs slower than we’d expect given its Mediatek Helio P70 chipset.
When we tested out the Energizer phone we decided that its only appeal was as a novelty device, intriguing to pick up and toy around with - hence the queues to see it at MWC - but no use as a day-to-day handset – and customers seem to be recognizing this.
It's all about the price tag
People are used to paying more and more for their smartphones – but this cost suggests extra features, which the Energizer Power Max P18K Pop just doesn’t have.
At $549 (around £420, $775) for the cheapest tier, the Energizer phone isn’t priced right for its place in the market, as its slow user interface and relatively weak rear cameras put it more in line with the Moto G7 Play, which costs $200 / £149 / AU$270 – although even that was surprisingly snappy to use.
Putting down money for multiple phones reduces the price per unit somewhat, with a bundle of three phones costing $1,587 (around £1,200, AU$2,235) for a saving of 24% from the retail price, however this still means you’re paying a significant amount of money for a novelty handset.
When you can buy any of the fantastic Moto G7 series, or the mid-range in price, high-end in specs Xiaomi Mi 9 for the same or less, there’s no reason to shell out so much for the Energizer Power Max P18K Pop phone, especially in a world where most of us are rarely far from a socket.
When will we see it?
The year before the Energizer Power Max P18K Pop made waves at MWC, the Power Max P16K Pro made its debut – it too had the biggest battery in a smartphone at the time, though no points for guessing how big it was. However, in most parts of the world the phone never ended up hitting the shelves, and it disappeared from our radar altogether.
With that in mind it’s a big surprise that the latest Energizer phone is actually being released at all, albeit on IndieGoGo – the page suggests the phone’s first backers will start receiving it in October, although that’s part of a four-paragraph list of challenges that makes sure to mention the release could get delayed.
It’s worth pointing out that the Power Max P16K Pro is not representative of Energizer’s phone output – the company has a large range of phones, and most of them get released fine – but it was quite a high-profile disappearance that may lead some to question whether the Power Max P18K Pro will see the light of day.
Should I buy it?
There’s no clear specific audience the Energizer Power Max P18K Pop seems ideal for, and its impressive features seem more like intriguing curiosities than elements that come together to make a great phone.
If you’ve read this article, and our hands-on review, and still think it’s worth splashing out on an 18,000mAh battery with a phone attached, the Energizer phone’s IndieGoGo campaign has all the information you need on the upcoming handset.
But if, like us, you have your reservations about the Energizer Power Max P18K Pop, it’s probably best to find something else that suits your tastes a bit better – and luckily you’re in the right place. Why not try our best Android smartphones guide? Or if you have a phone in mind, head straight to our best mobile phone deals page to find your perfect tariff.
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Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.
He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.