Anker makes the most impressive batteries
When I first started MacSources six years ago one of the first products I reviewed was an external battery. It was small and did not have much juice to it but at that time I would have never thought about companies like Anker making the powerhouses they do today. Looking back at some of the older batteries I’ve used, not many can come close to holding a candle to the power of the Anker PowerCore AC.
The PowerCore AC is an external battery that includes an AC outlet for charging laptops. The battery has a capacity of 22000 mAh and provides up to 90W of power (through the AC outlet). The idea behind this device is that it is a compact battery for an entire mobile workstation. It includes the AC outlet and 2 USB charging ports. The USB ports feature PowerIQ, which basically makes them ‘smart’ ports. They deliver simultaneous high-speed charging while ensuring that products are safe by not overcharging them. The USB ports provide up to 5V/4.2A (3A max per port) for charging purposes. The AC outlet is a standard 110V~60Hz outlet with up to 90W of power delivery – enough to power a 15-inch MacBook Pro.
The packaging of the Anker PowerCore AC was pretty standard for Anker products with one big difference – the hard shell carrying case. This external battery pack comes with a large carrying case that provides you space to not only store the battery, but also its charging cable, which includes a large power brick, and any other cables that you wish to partner with your charging station.
The battery itself has kind of a unique design. It’s black and has a smooth surface. The Anker logo is printed on a long strip of semi-transparent material that also houses the LED indicator lights. All the ports are located on one end of the battery. To use the battery, you simply have to plug your devices into the USB ports or an AC outlet. In the case of the AC outlet, you will need to flip the power switch to the ‘on’ position. This switch must be turned off when the AC outlet is not in use or the battery will lose its charge quickly.
There are four blue LED indicator lights that show how much charge is left on the battery. If they are all full, the battery is at 100%. Each LED represents approximately 25% of the battery. If it gets to its last LED, you know you only have about 5,500 mAh left on the battery. When I was using the PowerCore to charge a laptop, it drained the battery until the last LED was blinking. Even though the manual doesn’t indicate it, I believe that means the battery only had about 10% left to it.
When I started using the PowerCore AC, I charged an iPhone 7 first. It was at 49% battery and within 20 minutes, it had gained 23%. I used a USB Digital Tester to check the power delivery amount and got a reading of 5.00V/1.47A, which is better than the average charging current I usually get. As a basis of comparison, when I charged the iPhone 7 with the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD power bank, which also features the PowerIQ technology, I received a reading of 4.99V/1.0A. I did not detect any overheating issues from either the battery or the iPhone while it was charging.
When I switched to charging a MacBook Pro (13-inch model; requires 61W of power to charge), I had a little bit of a different experience. I plugged the power adapter of the MacBook into the AC outlet and flipped the switch to the ‘on’ position. It immediately started charging the laptop. The laptop was at 50% battery power and after 18 minutes it had gained 20% from charging. I continued charging it for another 33 minutes and the laptop was showing a 92% charge.
Because it’s been an issue in the past, I monitored the temperature closely on both the power adapter and the external battery. I noticed a heat collection on the laptop’s power adapter after the first 20 minutes (104 degrees), but didn’t notice a heating issue on the battery until the laptop had been charging for about 30 minutes. When the laptop was finished charging, the power adapter was 116 degrees and the PowerCore AC was 112 degrees at the LEDs. This isn’t quite enough to become worried about melt downs or malfunctions, but it’s enough to keep a close eye on if you are charging a laptop.
After the laptop was charged, the LED power indicators on the PowerCore were showing that it needed to be charged (a single LED was blinking). So I plugged it into power. After 2.5 hours, the battery was charged at 100% again.
The PowerCore AC is a great all-around external battery. It’s actually the solution to a problem I’ve had for a long time. It’s a little on the large side – especially in its carrying case – but it’s well worth it. I love how quickly it charges my devices and how easy it was to use. I can recommend this for any user.