When I was offered the OmniCharge Omni 20+ for review, I asked myself, “is it worth $200 to charge everything you could want at any time?” And the answer is yes, but you don’t necessarily need to spend that much.
The Omni 20+ offers three things on top of its competitors in the growing “big giant battery with a wall outlet” niche (sorry for using technical terms there). One, it’s very compact. Two, it offers wireless charging for phones and other gadgets. And three, it has a direct charge port for non-standard devices, like DSLRs or specialized industrial equipment. That last one is extremely important to a small sliver of users and makes this battery worth it for them. But the rest of us will be better served by bigger, cheaper batteries.
A Beautiful Brick
The Omni 20+ is a brick, but a beautiful one. Its smooth, tapered edges and thoughtful layout show a bit more design work than the usual rechargeable battery, and it’s shockingly compact for a 20,400 mAh unit. All the controls and ports are on the smaller edges: two USB-A ports on the front (18 watt maximum on both), USB-C (60 watt max out, 40 watt max in) and DC “barrel” port (100 watt maximum) on one side, and a standard American AC outlet (120 watt peak output) on the opposite. The top, bottom, and one edge are blank, so you’ll need to know ahead of time that there’s a 10-watt Qi wireless charger hiding beneath the top plastic.
There’s also a rare sight on a battery, and one of the features marking this model as a premium tool instead of a convenience gadget: an OLED screen. Though it only has three buttons, this control system allows the user to disable or enable various ports and features. It’s more necessary than you might think: it allows the DC barrel port to charge almost anything, ranging from 12 to 20 volts at five amps.
It’s too bad that actually navigating this screen is such a hassle. The package includes almost zero documentation, so I had to go online to the OmniCharge website to figure out how the various buttons opened the menu system and turned the various ports on and off. Once I managed this, actually working the thing was easy…but it’s a long way from intuitive.
Where’s the Dang Charger?
That brings me to another omission from the package: any means of actually charging this massive battery in a timely manner. The box includes a USB-C-to-C and a USB-C-to-A cable, and yes, technically you could charge it off of those from just a phone’s “wall wart” or a computer. But depending on your setup, that could take you all day (or longer). To completely charge and drain this thing multiple times, I was lucky that I had an Anker 60-watt USB-C charger for my laptop. For a $200 battery, including no means of efficient recharging is a huge let-down.
In terms of actual performance, I have no complaints. After digging into the screen menu a few times, I was able to charge a smattering of mobile gadgets at their highest rates, even without using the AC wall outlet. That includes my Galaxy Note 8, HP Chromebook X2, Nintendo Switch, and Galaxy Buds all via the USB-C port, with the phone and headset taking a recharge from the wireless port, too. For my less universal gadgets, I resorted to the USB-A ports, and my clunky old ThinkPad happily slurped up juice from the AC outlet. I managed to use every port on the device, except the DC barrel, at once. Aside from a little heat from the body, it performed fine.
What Problems Does It Solve?
But therein lies the problem of value. If you’re looking at this battery over, say, this very similar RAVpower model for $120 less, that DC barrel port is what you’re probably most interested in. I couldn’t find a use for it. Everything I have that recharges via those cables uses an AC adapter, and the $50 accessory pack add-on (which still doesn’t include a means of quickly charging up the battery itself) wasn’t supplied to me. The wireless charging is likewise niche: if you’re going to the trouble of bringing a portable battery that weighs 1.3 pounds along with you, half an ounce for a USB cable and much faster charging doesn’t seem like an imposition.
The Omni 20+ seems to be made to solve that DC input problem…but it’s already solved with a full-sized wall outlet. I think that even the professionals who could benefit from the DC port are already carrying so much stuff around that they won’t have an issue using the wall charger instead, and they can do that with a much cheaper device. Corporate customers outfitting field agents for days away from power might find a use for it, but consumers have cheaper options that can do everything they could need.
Here’s What We Like
- Compact and sleek for the capacity
- OLED screen
- Wireless charging included
And What We Don't
- No fast charger included
- Menu system is confusing
- Much more expensive than other options