Think about a battery charger and what usually comes to mind is a cheap plastic box with a USB port that charges your phone. The RavPower AC Power Bank Charger 27,000mAh (model number RP-PB055) couldn’t be further from that stereotype.
For starters, this charger comes with an AC outlet, one that can support devices rated at up to 100W, which is enough to power a 55-inch television, not to mention most laptops and even some desktop PCs.
And although it is not as powerful as say the MaxOak K2 (with its massive 50,000mAh capacity), this effort has some useful features that make it worth considering, especially if you’re after a charging companion to take on frequent trips abroad.
This PowerStation series 27,000mAh charger comes in a stylish semi-rigid casing that holds, other than the battery charger, two microUSB cables, a user guide, a travel pouch, travel adaptor and a power adaptor.
The latter offers a modicum of flexibility (it is fully reversible) but also hides the power LED that indicates whether the socket is active – ouch! Why RavPower didn’t simply integrate the universal power adaptor in the first place boggles the mind.
The Power Bank feels like a hardcover book you’d slip in your handbag. It’s about the size of an A5 notepad but with a thickness of nearly 40mm and a weight approaching 870g (exceeding 1kg once you add the accessories).
RavPower has used an anthracite rubber finish with eight status LEDs and the company’s insignia on top. Cooling air vents and the power input are on one side, and on the other side there’s a Type-C output, two USB ports, a power button and the AC outlet behind a flap.
An LCD screen might have been useful in order to get a more granular reading of remaining battery capacity, and a couple of extra ports certainly wouldn’t have gone amiss (as well as high-capacity output USB Type-C ports for compatible laptops or tablets).
The battery is rated at 27,000mAh/99.9Whr with the AC output delivering a maximum of 100W, but rated at a more sustainable 85W. The two USB ports can deliver 12W each (5V, 2.4A) while the Type-C connector hits 15W (5V, 3A).
The ports use RavPower’s proprietary iSmart technology which detects and delivers the power needed for any connected devices minimising the risk of overcharging. With the capacity here, you will be able to charge your Galaxy S8 or your iPhone 7 between seven times (for the former) and almost a dozen times (for the latter).
However, it’s a shame that there’s no cable for the latter out of the box, although this Power Bank does automatically charge any supported device once connected. The charger will automatically turn off when not in use, and you turn it on by pressing on the power button for three seconds or more.
It’s good to note that 99.9Whr is below the 100Wh threshold imposed by most airlines for batteries – you won’t be able to put the RavPower charger in your checked luggage, only in your hand luggage.
Note that the charger comes with an 18 month warranty by default, but this can be extended by another 12 months by registering the product for free online.
Another point to note – we’d love to have proper extruding rubber feet, but like the MaxOak, we have had to resort to gel ones. Also worth noting is the fact that you can’t charge the device other than using the bundled 30.5W (19V, 1.6A) power supply unit, for which you will need another adaptor if you’re travelling elsewhere.
A word about the cost. With a suggested retail price of £180 (around $230, AU$310) – but often available for around £150 from Amazon ($170 from Amazon.com in the US) – the RavPower charger is expensive, but then again it’s no ordinary power bank.
RavPower has a slightly cheaper and more compact 20,100mAh model that might be better suited for some, and other firms, such as Chargetech, Xcellon and Goal Zero Sherpa, provide models with similar features.
We liked this portable charger: it is stylish, comes with a decent amount of connectors and delivers what it promises. Although it’s true enough that there are a few things that might be improved in the next iteration (number of ports, additional power adaptor, plus the LED lights).
One thing that is unlikely to be changed is the capacity of the device. 100WHr will remain the uppermost capacity for most battery chargers going forward, which means that innovation for portable chargers looking for a wider travel-friendly audience will need to come from more than simply just adding extra capacity.
Clearly, though, a plug gives it far more flexibility than the rest of the competition, but if you’re mostly interested in a portable battery charger for your laptop, tablet, smartphone or anything that requires a 5V power supply (like a projector or a computer), then there are far cheaper and more capable models out there.
The Aukey PB-T11 power bank with its 30,000mAh capacity and two Quick Charge compatible ports will suffice for those looking for a smartphone and tablet charger, while laptop users may opt for the aforementioned MaxOak K2 50,000mAh charger or the Sandberg Powerbank 20,000mAh for laptops.