UGREEN is no stranger to the market for small portable power banks but a review of its new 10,000mAh PD 18W Power Bank shows the company's commitment to that product category runs much deeper than might be expected. Priced at an unreasonable value cost of just $23.99, this is a product that I expected to see fall short in several ways. It doesn't.
Rather than skimping on power, capability, design, or quality, UGREEN has designed and released a mobile power supply that's just about perfect. Not only does this battery pack hold a massive amount of power, relative to its size.
The power bank is fast-charge enabled with two outputs for multi-device charging that won't take up too much space. In fact, the pocket on a pair of skinny jeans should suffice for storage here — albeit not necessarily comfortably.
Build quality with this high-capacity high-portability power bank isn't without quirks but is more than made up for by UGREEN's use of high-quality PC materials. That's setting aside the company's decision to include an LCD screen instead of the standard four-dot LED array for the device's capacity readout.
The primary drawback here, barely worth taking notice of, is that this power bank won't charge everything quickly. There are already plenty of devices that have moved beyond 18W charging and a whole slew of incoming devices that will push things further in that direction. Regardless, it will charge faster than the standard power brick.
Of course, that already says quite a bit about this device, possibly enough to make a decision from. But UGREEN has left almost no detail with its newest charger to chance either. So it's still worth digging into for a closer look.
A tiny UGREEN power bank but not the small on capacity
If a device's size is the primary concern, the UGREEN power bank is designed at a scale so small that it puts other portable chargers to shame. Most 6,000mAh+ power banks I've had the opportunity to review are nothing like the newest UGREEN 18W power bank. They're just monstrously large. This one is comparable in size to a fully-loaded wallet.
In terms of exact measurements, the power bank measures just 9.5 x 6.7cm and just 2.6cm thick. That's right around 3.74-inches long by just under 2.64-inches wide and just over an inch thin. It weighs just a gram short of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 flagship phablet — at 194 grams. That's for a power bank that doesn't deliver 6,000mAh+ but brings 10,000mAh to the table.
The one aspect of this charging device that I noticed missing from the previous iteration was its TPU rubber carry strap. Because this device is small but not so small as to be a good fit for every size hand, the strap made it easier not to accidentally drop the power bank while carrying it around. That's just not included this time around despite that the size is effectively the same.
Fortunately, this is small enough to fit in a pocket easily. I was even able to accomplish that with some of my tighter jeans. It also sits readily enough in a handbag, purse, or the center console or cupholder in a car. So that wasn't too big a drawback at all, even if it would have been nice to have.
If the size and capacity are what really matters, setting aside other details we'll be addressing momentarily, this UGREEN Power Bank will be the one to buy. It's barely even a competition.
18W charging helps this UGREEN power bank brush aside the usual caveats
With a capacity of right around 10,000mAh, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect this device to take all day to charge. That's an incorrect assumption to make. It's not a rapid process or something that can be accomplished in a few minutes. But it isn't nearly as bad as I expected going into this UGREEN power bank review.
The previous mini power supply from the company took just under 5-hours to charge. That doesn't hold true for this device. It does much better at just over 3-hours and 40-minutes. Others I've purchased or used typically take between 5-hours and 6-hours.
But there have been some inexpensive devices that will take all day to refill at this capacity and that isn't the biggest improvement with this power bank either. UGREEN ensured its newest power bank is better in terms of how quickly it charges other devices.
This is a PD 18W input and output charger, meaning it will fast charge even the newest Samsung devices. Its large capacity means it will do so twice and then some, within reason. For devices with larger batteries, that number is obviously going to drop and it will vary anyway from device to device. It charged my Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ twice with some capacity to spare.
There are two outputs here too. Those are a USB Type-C and a standard USB-A output. The USB-C doubles as an input to refuel the bank.
Additionally, UGREEN's new power bank includes an LCD display. That shows how much capacity is remaining in the form of a percentage. That meant it was easy to see when the power bank needed to be charged before heading out. Much easier than any dot-based readout could ever be.
Inexpensive and with a high build quality
Direct from the company, the UGREEN 10,000mAh PD 18W Power Bank used in this review only costs $23.99. It's at this point where I'd ordinarily be asking just where the catch is. But there doesn't seem to be one. The ports on this gadget are both very snug and solid. No wiggle exists, even using cables other than the under one-foot cord that's included in the box.
Seams in the left and right edge are cleanly aligned. The tiny gaps around the front and back face panels are minimal too.
Because those panels are made of a shadowed-clear plastic, they have a completely different feel than the soft-touch PC material used throughout the rest of the build. Aside from giving the device a premium in-hand feel, that also gives it a much more premium look. The sole available color, matte black, is well-suited to the underlying design.
The rounded edges are smooth to the touch and have a similar impact on the overall feel of this gadget.
Each of the ports is clearly marked. The USB-C output/input port is the 18W PD plug while the USB-A plug is Quick Charge 3.0 compatible at up to 18W too. That's backed by a built-in protection system UGREEN included against overloads, over-currents, over-voltages, overheating, or short circuits. The back panel provides a great deal of technical detail about capacity and certifications.
The design itself fits neatly in-hand but not quite neatly enough that it would be easy for everybody to hold onto. So it would have been great to see a TPU or rubber strap to counter the fact that it's reasonably thick — though not at all too thick or brick-like. It is small enough that it fits well within the frame of most flagship devices.
Should you buy into the hype?
Most portable power solutions are, summarily, either bulky or low on capacity. More precisely, it often seems that those refill slowly and charge up smartphones or other devices in an equally snail-like fashion by default. For every reduction in size companies typically manage, those aspects have seemed to get worse for years. For every improvement in capabilities, devices have tended to get bigger.
Pricing has seemed to have an even greater impact on everything, although that has gotten better over the years for portable power banks.
UGREEN is doing something quite different for its line of power banks. Instead of focusing solely on keeping the cost down, it's putting palpable effort into reducing the size of portable chargers. Simultaneously, the company is working to ensure that size reduction doesn't impact cost or proficiency in a meaningful way.
The result of that effort, so far, is the UGREEN 10,000mAh PD 18W Power Bank. The power solution defies convention in that it is solidly designed and manufactured, in addition to high-speed, high-capacity, and budget-friendly. At just $23.99, users can expect a charging experience that isn't just user-friendly thanks to a built-in LCD display. They can expect a charging rate that either matches or comes close to matching that of their wall adapter.
In some cases, because this is PD or Quick Charge enabled and not every OEM includes a fast-charging adapter for their compatible gadget, it might even surpass that expectation. The same can be said of charging up this charger.
That all comes in a package that doesn't weigh more than the average flagship or mid-range device and is smaller than those too. This is nearly impossible not to recommend for anybody that needs a premium charging solution at a minimal cost.