Anker PowerCore 26800mAh

Think about any conceivable situation in which you'd need to charge up your phone, iPad, accessories or even laptop away from a wall socket, and there's a battery out there to serve you. I typically carry a 10,000mAh battery with just a single USB port — it's something compact I can always carry with me, and I'm willing to take the trade-off of only charging up phones one at a time.

But then I bought a new MacBook Pro, and started to transition more aggressively to making everything in my life USB-C. The number of great USB-C batteries out there is small, and the number properly supporting the USB-C Power Delivery spec is even smaller — but it's something that I'd ideally have to charge up my MacBook Pro just as well as any phone or tablet.

I found this Anker PowerCore battery with its massive 26,800mAh capacity, and my mind has been changed about carrying big external batteries.

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Anker PowerCore 26800mAh

Yes I realize I'm legitimately talking about buying a $100 battery pack in a world where you can get some really great ones for less than $30. But this Anker PowerCore 26800mAh battery is worth it, at least in my case.

Having USB-C Power Delivery immediately changed the calculus of lugging a big battery around.

I typically scoff at such large portable batteries because I feel I'm never going to be away from a wall plug long enough that I'd need to charge a phone eight times or a tablet three times. And at the same time, such a huge battery typically takes forever to charge back up. My flip-flop on both of these feelings comes from one thing: USB-C Power Delivery.

USB-C PD lets the battery output 30W of power — enough to charge a MacBook Pro 13-inch, but also charge an iPad Pro (or any number of new Android phones) at its fastest possible rate. Just as importantly, the battery also uses USB-C PD for recharging itself. So now instead of waiting overnight, or connecting two chargers at once, it takes just 4.5 hours to get this big battery from dead to full. A game-changer, in both respects.

Beyond the USB-C port, there are also two high-speed USB-A ports for plugging in whatever you want. These are "PowerIQ" ports that output 5V/3A — plenty capable for your iPhone, iPad, accessories and cameras. Having a portable (well, relatively portable) battery that can charge my laptop, phone and tablet at the same time is awesome and extremely important when I'm traveling. When I can't find a wall socket, or just don't want to carry a wall charger, it's immediately worth more than that $100 price.

Then there's an extra bit of nice-to-have kit in the box: a 30W USB-C PD wall charger. This little charger, with its foldable plug, can of course charge up the battery but also works perfectly with a MacBook Pro or iPad Pro (provided you have a USB-C to Lightning cable as a travel charger, or with any USB-C phones or tablets you may have around. A real value-add that's worth factoring into this $100 price, especially when Apple's 29W USB-C charger lists for $49.

Let's quickly address the one downside here. Yes, the battery is huge compared to your typical choices — but moreover, it's dense, weighing in at 1.29 pounds / 590 grams. Part of that weight comes from its hefty metal construction, but it's mostly the massive battery capacity inside. It is far too big to put in a pocket or easily carry around while you're using your phone. But it is comfortably under the 100Wh limit for carrying on a plane. Good call, Anker.

This isn't a go-anywhere portable battery; it's a venerable power station for all of my devices.

But this isn't supposed to be a go-everywhere super-portable battery for just your phone — you can find those anywhere. This is a venerable power station that you can take out knowing it can not only recharge a phone eight times, but more importantly can charge up your phone once while also giving a 100% charge to your MacBook Pro or other USB-C laptop on the go.

Am I going to get rid of all of my smaller batteries and just stick to this monster? No, that's just not practical. Sometimes all I need is a 5000mAh battery to slip into a jacket pocket to top up my phone, and I'll keep using those. But for a battery that's going to stay in my bag, ready to charge up anything I need while I'm out of the house or traveling, it's going to be this Anker PowerCore 26800mAh battery.

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