While the RAVPower 20100mAh External Battery Pack has the same six-cell structure as the best in this class from Anker, it performs significantly worse. In testing, we found it delivered much less power to the MacBook overall, charging it only to about 90 percent before it was exhausted. Different cell suppliers and different circuitry designed to protect those cells certainly has an impact. The RAVPower also notably heated up during charging and recharging, despite its metal case, though not uncomfortably. (Testing of other RAVPower units at other sites showed a poor rated capacity to available power ratio for similarly high mAh models.)
However, if you need speed and diversity of ports, and you have the right mobile equipment to go with it, you might prefer the RAVPower to the Anker model. It can be recharged through two ports (Micro-USB and USB-C), and the USB-C port can also charge other devices. And it has two Type-A ports with distinct characteristics.
Unique among batteries tested, it can not only charge other devices using the increasingly common Quick Charge 2.0 standard (developed by Qualcomm), but also be recharged that way as well. Charging requires an appropriate mobile device, like a Moto X Pure Edition. Recharging the pack’s internal cells speedily relies on a separate USB charger with that technology; I purchased an Aukey 36W 2-port Quick Charge 2.0 adapter for about $23.
Quick Charge pairs relatively high amperage with high voltage, and the 2.0 flavor can work as high as 60W. In my testing, the RavPower charged 12V at about 1.9A or about 23W, compared to about 15W maximum via the USB-C port. It took about five hours to charge it completely, matching the time that RAVPower says it should take. (The Anker unit took a couple hours longer, but tested with more available capacity.)
For clarity, let me walk through the ports, which are crisply labeled in white silkscreened type on a black background:
- Micro-USB for recharging only, using regular USB at up to 3A or Quick Charge (at 9V and 12V)
- USB-C for recharging or device charging at up to 3A.
- USB Type-A at up to 2.4A (output only).
- USB Type-A with Quick Charge (output only) for 5V at 2.4A, 9V at 1.5A, or 12V at 1.2A.
RAVPower doesn’t provide a total output among all three charging ports, unlike with its other devices, and it didn’t respond to questions via email. If it’s like comparable gear it should max out at a total of 5.5A or 6A.
Includes mesh carrying bag, Micro-USB to Type-A cable. One-year warranty, plus another 12 months if you register with the company.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.