Anker PowerCore 20000 PD Portable Charger Review

Anker has put out yet another portable battery charger this year, and it brings in all of the latest tech, as you'd expect. Including Power Delivery. Which is important with products like the Nintendo Switch, MacBook (Pro) and other laptops all using USB-C. As it allows you to charge these products from your battery pack, and that is what the PowerCore 20000 PD is capable of. Really keeping you mobile. We've been using the PowerCore 20000 PD for a few weeks now, and during the busy traveling of the holiday season, so it's really gone through its paces. So let's talk about the good, the bad and whether you should spend the $99 on it.

The build quality on this Anker battery pack is pretty similar to just about every other Anker battery pack out there right now. It's made of plastic, and has a pretty grippy exterior. Now don't be turned off by Anker using plastic, remember this is a battery pack, so it is going to get warm. And if Anker were to use metal, the battery pack would get much hotter and could catch on fire. On top of that, plastic is also cheaper but also lightweight, compared to metal. So you're able carry this in your bag without it getting too heavy.

It does get a bit warm, near the ports, and that is because the chip is located there. As well as juice being transferred in and out of those ports (specifically the USB-C port, as the USB-A port only does output). But on the side, you'll find a power button, which you will actually need to use on this model - more on that in a minute. There's also four LED lights on the front, which will indicate how much juice is left. And of course there is a USB-A port which has Anker's PowerIQ 2.0 technology for intelligent fast charging (no Qualcomm Quick Charge here), and then the USB-C port which does power delivery and also doubles for input and output.

As I mentioned, that power button is going to need to be used when using this power bank. Typically we just take a cable and plug in our phone or whatever we want to charge, and really only touch the power button to see the capacity left. But with a PD charger, and the USB-C port being able to be used for charging the battery as well as charging other things, you'll need to press the power button for about 5 seconds to flip the USB-C port for input so it can charge the battery. Otherwise it'll attempt to charge whatever you plugged in. During our experience with this charger, we found it to be a bit confusing, as to whether it was actually charging or not. The easiest way to figure it out, is whether the lights are blinking. If it is solid, then it is charging something else, if it is blinking then it is charging itself. Since this portable charger takes a while to charge, anyways, it makes it a bit more difficult to see quickly if it is charging or not.

The PowerCore 20000 PD is a pretty large battery, with a capacity of 20,100mAh. Which means it's going to take about 4 hours to fully charge this battery pack (or about an hour per LED light). That is still quite fast, actually, for the size of this battery pack, but keep in mind that the timing there is only when using the USB-C port and a USB PD charger (Anker does include one in the box). If you are charging via a regular USB-C port or charger, then it is going to take a lot longer to charge, closer to around 8-10 hours. So that effectively makes it an overnight charge type of thing.

Speaking of charging, the PowerCore 20000 PD is able to charge up your smartphone about 6 times before needing some more juice itself. Now that will depend on what smartphone you have, but on average most smartphones are sporting about 3000mAh battery packs inside, so those with smaller ones will get more charges out of this battery pack. As far as laptops and the Nintendo Switch go, you'll be lucky to get one full charge out of this one. And that's because those batteries are far larger. We tested the PowerCore 20000 PD with the Macbook Pro, and it was able to take it from 0 to 100% before it died, but that was with the Macbook Pro not being used during charging. So if you are using it, it'll take longer to charge, and possibly not charge completely. Keep that in mind when buying these PD battery packs, especially for laptops or a Nintendo Switch.

The Anker PowerCore 20000 PD is a great battery pack to pick up and it'll keep everything charged up when you're on the go. It's not all that heavy, or bulky, so it can easily fit in your backpack without any issues. Which is good for those that are looking to take it traveling with them. It does take a bit to charge, but if you use the included PD wall charger, it charges really quickly, considering the capacity of this battery pack. Anker does also include a carrying pouch which is great for carrying it around and making sure it doesn't get damaged. Now at $99, this is a tough sell, no matter what features it has. But with it having USB-C PD inside, it's going to cost more money for the tech, so the price isn't actually bad (it's the same price as mophie's offering, with double the capacity). But if you don't need USB-C PD, you might be better off getting one of Anker's many other battery packs.

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