During the holiday season, I published a round-up of the various high-speed charging battery packs on the market and an explanation of why you would consider one particular USB charging technology used in these products over another.
For the most part, these things are commodities, and I can say that one $75 to $100 USB PD 20,000mAh lithium-ion battery pack is more or less the same as another. They all pretty much use the same type of cells and basic circuity and have similar wattage outputs.
And with promotions on Amazon and other internet retailers, you can find them for as low as $50 — especially if you get them with bundles, such as with a USB PD or QC 3.0/4.0 wall charger.
PEACE OF MIND FROM A POWER BANK
I have used a number of these things, and they all work petty well. But they all lack something that I really would like, which is giving me peace of mind and a certain level of diagnostics every time I plug my expensive devices into one of them.
With the USB PD/QC 4.0 technology used in the current generation of smartphones and tablets from Apple, Samsung, Google, and others, during charging, you are sending a considerably higher wattage and amperage into the device than in previous generations.
The USB PD and Quick Charge 4.0 standards add additional intelligence to the charging process by negotiating the amperage/wattage in which device can charge in order to optimize the speed and within the safety tolerances of what the device can handle.
Standards aside — do you really want a $50 or even a $100 battery charging your $1,000 smartphone or tablet? It definitely gives me some pause. How do I really know that the battery is actually negotiating at optimal speeds? How do I know if the cable I am using to charge my device, OEM or third-party, is performing adequately?
On these commodity battery packs, you really can’t tell.
BATTERY PACKS WITH ADVANCED DIAGNOSTICS AND MORE
Enter Omnicharge: A family of battery packs with advanced diagnostics and intelligent charge negotiating and ramping capabilities.
We looked at the Omnicharge 20 USB-C, which recently completed its Indiegogo financing campaign and is now shipping to customers. You can still get one for $179, and when that deal runs out, it will cost $250.
Yeah, that’s not cheap if you compare it with a comparable Anker, RAVPower, or even a Mophie. But neither is an iPhone X, iPad Pro, or flagship Android smartphone.