TECH
18/12/2019 11:41 AM IST

From Anker To Aukey, And Realme To Oppo, What’s The Best Power Bank To Buy?

Power banks are essential companions to our portable devices—smartphones, tablets and more—and having an informed opinion of which one to buy is a good way forward.

NEW DELHI—Smartphones have gotten better in recent times concerning battery capacity and charging times (with Oppo and OnePlus leading the way), battery life in general has not improved as much as other areas of technology, because of the demand for thinner smartphones.

As a result, all of us need to use the lifesaver called the power bank. These devices have become the default accessory to pair with any smartphone. Power banks are increasingly important, particularly if you spend any time outdoors, rather than near an outlet.

Looking at Amazon and Flipkart, you can see that the marketplace is flooded with power banks, with different specifications from a wide range of brands. How do you know which one is the right one for you? Here’s what you need to consider before buying a power bank:

Portability—size and capacity trade-offs

Weight is the most important thing to consider when purchasing a power bank. You don’t want to buy something that will weigh down your pocket/bag. Power banks with bigger batteries may offer more ports and a larger number of charges per cycle, but the trade-off is that they are heavier too. Finding the right balance is necessary, and most people will find 10,000mAh batteries as the right kind of compromise. This should fit comfortably in a pant or jacket pocket, and charge your phone twice too. Any larger and you’ll need to carry a bag with you.

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Ports and charging

The more ports the battery has, the more devices you can charge at the same time. The type of ports also affects which devices can be charged using the battery, and also the speed of charging. The bare minimum is one micro-USB input, and one USB-A output.

But as USB-C has become more common you should look for this port if that’s the type of charger your phone uses. The other advantage is that USB-C allows for faster charging, and brings input and output to a single port.

Fast charging and/or wireless charging

The next thing to consider is whether or not you want a fast charging power bank or a wireless power bank (sans cables). The first thing to determine is whether or not your smartphone supports wireless charging and what is the fastest speed it can be charged at.

For wireless charging, it’s a simple case of whether or not your smartphone supports it. For fast charging, you have to tick three boxes: A smartphone that is compatible with one of the fast charging standards and a battery and cable supporting the same standard. You need all three for your smartphone to be fast charged via the power bank.

Tyrone Siu / Reuters
Taiwanese Chen San-yuan, 70, known as "Pokemon grandpa", shows his external batteries for charging his phones as he plays the mobile game "Pokemon Go".

Whether or not it has support for USB Power Delivery

USB Power Delivery (USB PD) is designed to be a more universal charging standard. This means that not just smartphones, but other devices like laptops can be charged quickly over the USB connection. The benefit of having USB PD is so that you only need one cable to be able to juice up a device or even charge the power bank itself.

Power banks having USB PD are a major boon for those who need to juice up their laptops, apart from their smartphones and tablets, so depending on the devices you want to be able to charge, this is a feature to consider.

Voltage

Another factor to consider is the voltage of the power bank to avoid any potential safety risk. One must never buy a power bank that has a higher voltage than that of the device you want to be charged. If that is the case, then it can cause the battery inside your smartphone to swell, and possibly even explode as a result.

Keeping all of that in mind, here are the best power banks one can buy today:

Anker PowerCore 20100mAh power bank

Anker makes some of the best mobile accessories out there, from power banks to chargers to cables, and more. Their power banks have proven to be reliable, hold their charge for days, and can charge your devices multiple times.

The downside is that it isn’t easy to fit inside one’s pants pockets. It’s not heavy — weighing just 354g — but it’s bulky. To be fair, most of the power banks that are at least 20,000mAh in capacity don’t fit in pockets.

Screenshot
The Anker PowerCore 20100 can't charge laptops, but it's very reliable.

The PowerCore 20100mAh power bank is an older model that doesn’t support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge, charges itself via a micro-USB cable, and can’t charge laptops, but it’s reliable and has a large capacity, which makes it the number one pick despite drawbacks.

As a bonus, it comes with a travel pouch.

Model: Anker PowerCore 20100

Price: Rs 3,799

Buy it here: Amazon

Anker PowerCore Select 10000

Anker released the PowerCore Select 10000 in India in August. It’s marketed as ‘small size and big power’ and it is very convenient for daily usage and keeping in one’s pocket. The powerbank held its charge during a five-day trip with a small amount of usage every day, powering up a Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ with a little left over for my OnePlus 7T.

Screenshot
The Anker PowerCore Select 10000 lets you charge two devices at the same time.

It’s easy to carry around - weighing only 177g - and comes with the Anker standard of 18-month warranty. It has dual USB-A output ports that allow for two devices to be charged simultaneously. It has a micro-USB port as well. The PowerCore Select 10000 comes with Anker’s exclusive PowerIQ charging technology. This means that several products will be able to charge at their fastest possible speeds.

Model: Anker PowerCore Select 10000

Price: Rs 1,999

Buy it here: Amazon

Aukey Power Delivery Power Bank 30W

The Aukey PB-Y7 is massive. It weighs half a kilo—553g to be precise—and has a whopping 30,000mAh capacity. It’s also by no means cheap—coming in at Rs 14,339—but it is one of the best power banks out there in the market.

The Aukey PB-Y7 is compatible with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 and comes with support for USB-C with power delivery.

Screenshot
The Aukey PB-Y7 is an excellent pick, but it's very big which could be a problem.

The downside is that the ports on the PB-Y7 aren’t labelled. Only one of the USB-A ports support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge. It’s written in the manual, that it is the middle one, but not on the power bank itself. Both of them support AI Power—Aukey’s own proprietary fast charging technology.

The other downside is that this power bank will not fit into any pockets of yours and will be a pain to hold in one’s hand for long durations. If you intend on keeping it on a table or in a bag, and just need a whole lot of extra juice, then this is very well worth the money.

Model: Aukey PB-Y7

Price: Rs 14,339

Buy it here: Amazon

AUKEY Power Delivery Power Bank 10000mAh

This is another very good power bank, and much cheaper than the 30000mAh one from Aukey. This power bank is much sleeker—weighing 236g—and the matte black surface is fingerprint-resistant. It supports fast charging which worked well with the OnePlus 7T and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, and was even able to charge the Dell XPS 13, though not very fast.

Screenshot
The Aukey PB-Y22 can charge your phone a couple of times only, but it's very portable.

The one upside here is that this power bank uses a variation in port colours to differentiate functionality. There is also a carrying case included with an external cable pouch. 

This one comes with a two-year warranty. Since it is a 10,000 mAh capacity, don’t expect it to charge your smartphone more than a couple of times. For example, an iPhone XS will charge just about two times, at the maximum. The included cable is USB-A to USB-C. That means, that it may not recognise some devices—like the Google Pixel 3—at all times.

Model: Aukey PB-Y22

Price: Rs 6,359

Buy it here:Amazon

Realme 10000mAH Power Bank

Realme — which started as a subsidiary of Oppo — has come out of nowhere and made a name for itself. In India, the company has started selling accessories alongside its smartphones. One of them is the Realme 10000mAh Power Bank. Priced at a very reasonable Rs 1,299, the power bank has support for power delivery, meaning it can juice up your laptop for a little bit of extra power. Furthermore, this one supports 18W two-way fast charging.

Screenshot
The Realme 10000 comes in eye-catching colours with a catchy design.

There’s also an intelligent low power mode for charging up wearables and wireless earphones. There are two eye-catching colours—yellow and red—and a curved design to make it seem premium but the large logo does it some disservice. Unfortunately, this power bank does not support the companies own VOOC charging.

If you need an affordable power bank with support for power delivery, then this is the one to go for. Otherwise, for daily usage, it just isn’t worth it as the capacity is less than what it claims to be.

Model: Realme 10000mAH Power Bank

Price: Rs 1,299

Buy it here: Amazon

OPPO VOOC Flash Charge Power Bank

Finally, there is a power bank that supports the companies own VOOC Flash Charge. Oppo’s VOOC Flash Charge power bank has a 20W Two-Way Flash Charge. This means it is fully VOOC compatible.

Screenshot
The Oppo VOOC flash charge power bank is perfect for anyone who has an Oppo or Realme smartphone.

If you own an Oppo/ Realme smartphone, this is the power bank to get. Don’t even think otherwise. It has a capacity of 10,000mAh.

Model: OPPO 10000 mAH VOOC Flash Charge Polymer Power Bank

Price: Rs 1,499

Buy it here: Amazon

Ambrane 20000mAh Lithium Polymer Power Bank

The last power bank that one can legitimately recommend is Ambrane’s 20000mAh Lithium Polymer Power Bank (Stylo-20k). Its design may not be the best in the market but at just 349g, it is extremely lightweight and easy to grip. The rugged outer body means that the Stylo-20k can withstand many a drop. 

Screenshot
The Ambrane Stylo-20k is the most durable power bank we've used.

It’s got dual USB ports which means you can charge two devices at the same time. Ambrane’s power banks are always among the best-sellers on e-commerce websites and that hasn’t changed with this one.

It’s making the list because it is the most durable of all seven mentioned here. You needn’t worry about it easily getting damaged upon a simple drop. Plus, it is the cheapest 20,000 mAh power bank on this list.

Model: Ambrane Stylo-20k

Price: Rs 1,099

Buy it here: Amazon