PowerBank 26000 External Battery Pack Review:
A great option for recharging multiple devices.
The PowerBank 26000 on initial inspection is a very impressive device. It’s build quality is above and beyond most battery or accessory products you will find anywhere. It’s about the size of a standard paperback book, clad in a well fitting aluminium housing. Its interface is simple and intuitive, has nice pads that prevent its from sliding around on your desk, and its connectors are perfectly machined and have a great feel when inserting and removing cables. They were also careful to make its charging connector different than the laptop output connector. There is no risk of connecting things backwards.
It has a rather curious collection of device adapter cables, including some for very old-school cell phones like the Motorola connector from their older flip phones. There was no documentation as to what these connectors are actually for, but I recognized some from my first cell phones. It also lacks a Lightning connector although it appears to have the older iPhone 30 pin connector. Most of my devices use micro USB, so this wasn’t a problem for me. However, since it has a standard USB port for charging, you can just use your existing charging cables, which is what most people will do anyway I assume.
It includes a generous selection of a dozen adapters for laptops and other devices that use a “barrel” type power connector. At hisgadget.com you can find a list of what each notebook connector is designed for. You will find a curious lack of any Apple products for these. It seems that these connectors (e.g. MagSafe) are propriety and require licensing. Amazon has some adapters that might work in this case, but I cannot attest to that. The output connector appears to be a 5.5mm outer x 2.1mm inner diameter barrel connector and you can find numerous adapter cables online that should fit MacBook and Surface among other devices if you are adventurous.
Using the PowerBank is simple. It includes a beefy 2 amp, 20V wall charger that can fully charge the device in about 5 hours time at a rate of 40 watts. It has a simple single button interface that at a press gives you a 5 LED readout of the available battery power. Unlike a few battery packs I’ve used, this one doesn’t have to be turned on to use. You simply plug your USB charging cable in and it begins charging the device immediately.
Using the notebook charger is a little more involved. You will need to find and hope that your laptop is compatible with one of the included charging adapters. Again you can refer to their website for a list of models officially supported. Also, you will need to carefully select the output voltage to match your power supply. It features 3 voltages: 12, 16, and 19. Most laptops I’ve seen use 19-20V for which you can use the 19V output option on the unit. You may note that there is no polarity selection on the device. You must have a laptop (or other barrel connector device) that uses a positive pin (center connector), otherwise it will be connected improperly.
I have two notebook computers I use. The first is the Dell Inspiron 11 2-in-1 laptop. It requires a 3.4 amps at 19V which is perfect for this device, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a power adapter that fit it. My other laptop is a Lenovo gaming laptop which I was able to find a connector for. This laptop however requires an 8 amp power adapter. With this setup, you can charge the computer’s battery while the laptop is off, but if the laptop is on it trips some sort of safety feature in the unit which cuts off the power. I was worried I had damaged it but plugging it back into its charger for a bit seemed to reset it. This is something to keep in mind when you are purchasing this device: check your laptop’s power supply to see how many amps it provides. If it is less that 3.5 amps you should be able to use this battery while your laptop is on.
It is hard to properly convey the amount of power this battery holds. I’m assuming they calculate their mAh rating (which they give as 26,000mAh) based on the voltage of the 5V output, which by my calculations makes it 130Wh. My Lenovo laptop for example has a 72Wh battery. Based on my experimentation this seems to line up as it took somewhere between 25% and 50% of this battery to charge my laptop from 50% to 100%.
The device can easily charge your phone or tablet multiple times without giving up. I was also able to charge my phone or Pebble watch from the battery while it was charging the laptop no problem. This is a common concern online that I can happily say is not an issue with this battery. Also the unit can charge devices while it itself is charging.
This device is a solid. If you’re willing to do a little research, possibly buy special power connectors from 3rd party re-sellers to fit your device, and have a notebook with a common connector and a lower output power supply, this is a great device. Documentation is lacking as is the case with most accessories of this type. I would have liked the device to have the option to charge from USB as well (even though it would be much slower) so that you could top it off with a computer or another charger when you are on the go.
You had better believe this device will be on my next camping trip this month. With it I will have no shortage of power for my cell phone. I also plan to use its 12V output option to drive some LED lights for the tent.
For more information, visit http://www.intocircuit.com.