Most portable batteries out there charge up with either a wall adapter or a MicroUSB port. The RAVPower Portable Charge PD 3.0 can handle that, or charge up with a USB-C or Lightning cable. It’s pretty handy.
The idea here is that you can recharge this 20,000 mAh battery with whichever cable you have around, no matter what that is. The MicroUSB and Lightning ports on the top edge can accept charge into the battery only, while the more flexible USB-C port can take charge in or dish it out at up to 18 watts for super-fast device recharges.
Two standard rectangular USB-A ports—one using Qualcomm’s proprietary QuickCharge 3.0 system, another with RAVPower’s self-branded “iSmart” system—round out the flexible I/O. All three output ports can be used at the same time. Here’s a quick rundown of the power ins and outs in watts:
- MicroUSB (input only): Up to 18 watts
- Lightning (input only): Up to 12 watts
- USB-C (input and output): Up to 18 watts
- QuickCharge USB (output only): Up to 18 watts
- iSmart USB (output only): Up to 12 watts
In a nutshell: This thing can charge almost any mobile phone at its maximum rate, but it doesn’t have the oomph for bigger devices like USB-C laptops. The battery has a maximum output of three amps, so trying to charge multiple high-wattage devices at once isn’t going to work—when I tried, my Galaxy Note 8 lost its “fast-charging” status on the lockscreen.
All that flexibility is nice, but the unit itself has some slick touches, too. Instead of the usual row of dots to indicate the remaining battery, it has a proper LCD screen beneath a bit of black plastic, showing the current battery charge level as a percentage readout. It even has a little blue indicator to tell you when it’s got a high input charge for faster refilling. And you’ll want to see that indicator since even at the maximum input, charging this 20,000 mAh battery will take several hours.
And therein lies this battery’s one shortcoming: It doesn’t come with an easy way to juice it back up at maximum speed. The package has a single dinky USB-to-MicroUSB cable, just eight inches long. That’s it. If you plug the included cable into, say, a standard USB port on your PC or an older phone charger, it will take an entire day to recharge.
I wouldn’t expect a super-fancy charger to come with this $50 battery—very reasonable for the capacity and features—but a one-port wall-wart doesn’t seem like too much to ask. Perhaps RAVPower is assuming that, if you’re looking for a charger that can output high-watt electricity on so many ports, you already have an appropriate charger and cable.
That one omission aside, this is a sturdy battery that can take power in and dish it out, to and from pretty much anything smaller than a laptop. If you want something that can be refilled almost anywhere (and you’ve got a spare 18-watt charger lying around), go for it.
Here’s What We Like
- Very flexible inputs
- 18-watt charge in and out
- Handy LCD screen
And What We Don't
- Doesn't come with its own charger