Because power makes the world go ’round, I am always finding myself on the search for the ‘perfect’ portable battery. It can be a struggle with so many different options out there. With that in mind, I tend to stick with a few specific companies so that I know what I’m getting. Over the past few years, I’ve really started to like Anker’s high capacity batteries. They have a strong line of products and have really done a good job producing well-made power banks that provide enough charge for several devices. While I was at CES this year, I picked up a couple new batteries from their booth and in this review, I’m going to focus on the larger of the two — the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD.
One thing I want to point out very quickly is that Anker currently offers two different 26800 mAh power banks — the PowerCore+ 26800 PD and the PowerCore 26800. The main difference in the two batteries is that the PowerCore+ offers the power delivery option through USB-C. The standard PowerCore has three USB-A ports and can accept a 2X Micro USB input for charging the battery.
Now that I’ve pointed that out, let me tell you more about the PowerCore+ 26800 PD. First of all the full descriptive name from the Anker website is USB-C Portable Charger with Power Delivery, Type-C Port With Fast-Charge Input and 30W Output for MacBooks with Type-C. That is quite a mouthful. So what does it all mean? Let’s break it down.
- USB-C Portable Charge with Power Delivery: USB-C features a reversible connector that can provide an input or an output charge. USB-C ports can support power delivery for higher voltage charging for tablets and even some laptops.
- Type-C Port with Fast-Charge Input and 30W Output for MacBooks with Type-C: If you have a device that charges using USB-C, this battery can probably recharge it. There are quite a few exceptions though. The Anker website states that the battery “will not charge MacBook Pro, Samsung W700 or Lumia 950 at full speed”. You have to remember that the different MacBook products have different wattage requirements. The 13-inch MacBook Pro needs 61W while the 15-inch MacBook Pro needs 87W.
With the capacity of the battery being 26,800 mAh it has enough power to provide up to 9 iPhone 7 charges and almost 6 Galaxy S7 charges. This battery features PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technologies that ensure a fast charge for all non-Quick Charge devices. This includes all Apple phones & tablets. The exterior of the battery is an aluminum-alloy shell. It’s very tough and can take a beating. There are two USB-A ports (5V/3A each) and one USB-C port (27W input/30W output). The USB-C port is an input/output port and it’s how you recharge the power bank. There is an intuitive power indicator on the top of the battery that features 10 LEDs. The LEDs, in my opinion, are not very bright. Each LED represents a percentage of the battery charge that is available on the battery. For example, right now there are 4 LEDs lit up on the indicator. That means that the battery has an 40% charge.
The power bank comes in a standard Anker branded box. I like their packaging because it’s pretty minimal and not overly wasteful. When you open the box, you will find the power bank sitting on top of an interior box that houses the accessories. The version of the power bank that I received came packaged with one USB-C cable, Micro USB cable, Welcome Guide, a customer service feedback card, and a mesh travel pouch. This is a slightly different package then what is indicated on the Anker website. The website shows that a 30W USB-C wall charger is included in the box, but my battery did not come with that.
Aside from needing to provide my own wall charger, using the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD has been wonderful. It is a little heavier than some batteries in the market, but since it has so much power, I’m willing to pack it around. For the past few weeks, I’ve been using this power bank to recharge various devices including my iPhone X, an iPhone 7, an iPad Pro 12-inch, and earbuds. It’s worked flawlessly for me and I’m encouraged about the possibilities of using it for business trips.
To really test out the charging capabilities, I plugged in an iPhone 7 and a 12-inch iPad Pro. Both devices were charging simultaneously for 20 minutes. The power bank did not get overly hot from charging the devices. I used an infrared thermometer to test the temperature of the battery and it never got any warmer than about 81-degrees. The iPhone 7 gained 7% battery in that time and the iPad Pro gained 8%. Both devices did not have anything active going on during the time they were charging. Even though it requires 61W to charge, I did plug a 13-inch MacBook Pro into the power bank to see what kind of response I would get. I didn’t expect that the laptop’s battery would charge since it needs more than 30W, but to my surprise, the MBP started charging and after an hour and a half, the laptop was at a 100% (it started at 50%).
Because of this surprise, I decided to do a voltage/amperage/wattage check on the USB-C port. The USB Digital Tester I was using kept fluctuating while I was charging the laptop. It showed up to 28W as the maximum wattage. The picture below shows one of the readings that was recorded. But honestly, the voltage and wattage never stopped going up and down while I had it plugged in. At this point, I also went back and tested the USB-A ports and got fluctuating readings again. With my iPhone 7 I received a reading of 4.99V-4.75W-1.0A, but the wattage and the amperage numbers kept moving. Since this was something that caught me off guard, I did a little research and found that the cause of the fluctuations could be the quality of the cable I was using for charging. At this point, I decided to cease testing since I don’t have a good way to test my cables. It’s not likely that I will be able to find the reason for the power output fluctuations with the testing equipment I have.
CONCLUSIONS Even though my testing of the battery left something to be desired, I am happy with the overall performance of the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD. I think it’s a solid power source and should be taken into consideration for those seeking a larger capacity battery. While it’s a little heavy, it can be transported easily inside a backpack or laptop bag. I love that it has multiple ports and that it actually provides a charge for my MacBook Pro (even though it technically shouldn’t). The price point ($120) is a little high, but definitely in line with other batteries of this capacity. Anker builds a quality product and can be trusted when it comes to producing a solid power bank.