24 September 2016

Anker PowerCore+ 26800: Power to get through the week

As I sit down on Friday evening to type up a quick review, my Nexus 6P lets me know its battery level has dipped below 10%. Any other day, I’d be frustrated - but today, I’m immensely pleased. You see, I haven’t plugged my phone into a wall charger, car charger, or even random USB port since Sunday morning.

No, I didn’t install some magical new battery-extending application, manually enable Airplane Mode, or even activate Android’s built-in Battery Saver. Instead, I powered my phone solely off of Anker’s high-capacity PowerCore+ 26800 for five full work days and nights. Nexus devices aren’t exactly known for their stamina, and I use my phone heavily - so trust me when I say getting a week of use without a wall charger is quite a feat.

Of course, all of that juice does come with a price - or, more accurately, two. First, the PowerCore+ 26800 is a well-designed, pleasantly contoured, surprisingly slim brick. It’s big, and it’s heavy. This isn’t a power pack you’ll be likely to slip into your pants pocket for on-the-go Pokemon GO power (unless you’re still wearing JNCO’s, I suppose). And while the included PowerPort+ 1 wall charger uses Quick Charge 3.0 technology to rapidly charge up the battery pack, “rapidly” becomes a very relative term when talking about powering a 26,800mAh behemoth. I know Anker advertises a 6.5-hour charge time, but my experience suggests planning on closer to 8 or 9 hours. Neither of these points are really problems with the unit, they’re just the nature of such a beast and should be kept in mind and planned for.

I have a drawer full of portable power banks, and this is easily the best made one of the bunch. The shell is a seamless piece of aluminum, with comfortable rounded sides and an attractive and durable matte finish. The top side features a round button with a circular arrangement of ten white LEDs. Pressing the button will display the current battery level in increments of 10%, and this LED Power Ring animates while charging to provide accurate status updates along the way. The end next to the button holds the single QC3-capable micro-USB input port for charging up the PowerCore+, one green Quick Charge 3.0 USB-A port for lightning-fast charging of compatible Qualcomm-based Android devices, and two more 2A USB-A ports with Anker’s universally-compatible PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technologies to ensure the fastest safe charge times regardless of the device. To my surprise, I was even able to charge three Android phones simultaneously without noticing any slowdown in charge rate. As an added bonus, the bundled PowerPort+ 1 wall charger and micro-USB cable can be used to charge other devices directly in addition to the PowerCore+ itself, adding a welcome degree of versatility.

It’s a small thing, but I’m a big fan of the included mesh carrying pouch. It seems to be high quality, and stretches a bit to easily accommodate the battery pack, wall charger, micro-USB cable, and any other cables or adapters you might want on hand. The pouch is a great added feature and makes the whole setup easy to pack as a complete portable power solution in your go-bag.

This product can’t quite match the ultra-portable convenience of a pocketable charger like the PowerCore 5000, but the PowerCore+ 26800 is a worthy contender when you need a lot of USB power for a long time. It’s a perfect companion for extended power outages at home or lengthy travel times while away.

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