What’s the current charge on your phone? Perhaps you’re reading this on a tablet – how long until the device needs to go back on charge? Do you even have access to an electrical outlet?
The solution is a portable battery charger, and devices manufactured by RAVPower should be your first port of call. Today we’re taking a look at the RAVPower portable AC-capable battery pack with a humongous 27,000mAh charge capacity, available through the RAVPower store direct or Amazon (US $170 / UK £150).
But why would you want this device over any other?
Why Use a Portable Battery Charging Device
Before we look at the RAVPower device, some thoughts.
Portable devices have an obvious shortfall: constantly insufficient battery life. It’s as if there is no device that can regularly get you from breakfast to supper without having to be recharged (even slightly) somewhere along the way. The solution, therefore, is portable battery rechargers. These are essentially rechargeable batteries with the correct circuitry and wiring to safely recharge your mobile device.
The more compact they are, the more convenient, but there is obviously the necessity to trade off size and weight with a reliable charge. One charge isn’t enough – most devices are capable of providing multiple charges for smartphones, and one or two charges for a tablet. Meanwhile, you should also be able to power other devices, such as a Raspberry Pi, or charge a quadcopter battery.
What’s In the Box?
The RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055 comes with a useful black case. It’s quite bulky, and betrays a bit of weight, but it does feature a loop of material on the side. This might be useful for hanging the case up, for instance.
Inside, the battery and cables are secured with Velcro-style straps, and a smaller pouch is included. There’s also a carabiner for secure attachment.
You’ve get two USB micro type-B cables, a mains electricity connector, and for UK and European users, a socket adaptor. You’ll need this to take advantage of the RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055’s AC output, which it offers in addition to a Type-C USB output (max 3A) and RAVPower’s two iSmart USB output ports (max 2.4A each).
RAVPower’s iSmart system is a useful piece of technology that can automatically detect the optimal charge settings for any connected devices. This means that your hardware will be charged correctly, rather than receiving too much or too little charge.
Is it Heavy?
You might think that a device capable of charging your favorite tech might be a little bit tricky to carry around. In fact, the RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055 is surprisingly easy to handle. While it isn’t the lightest piece of kit, it certainly isn’t the heaviest. It won’t feel good in a school bag (or even a handbag!) but thanks to the handy carry sack you can keep it in your hand if necessary.
So, inconvenient is probably the better description, rather than heavy. Around the size of a thick tablet, or netbook, the RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055 is not an ideal size, but you’ll probably soon get used to it.
The rubberized finish makes it easy to hold, however, and any heat that is collected by the case is effectively expelled via a vent on the side. You’ll find this at the opposite end of the mains input, for charging the battery. Around the other side, the two iSmart USB ports, USB Type-C, and AC out sockets are found. There’s also a power switch, which when pressed will display the strength of the current charge, via eight blue LEDs on the top.
What You Can Charge and Power
Most portable battery packs are designed for use with smartphones and tablets. They’re ideal for carrying around with you for a recharge on days out or weekends away. They can also add portability to smaller hardware, like Raspberry Pi computers and Arduino boards. These don’t have their own batteries to recharge, so instead are powered directly by the battery pack.
With the RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055, however, you have a whole new dimension for your hardware recharging. You already know that it can recharge your smartphone and tablet — but what else is on offer?
Well, what if I told you it will recharge your laptop?
To find out how good the RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055 is with laptops, I decided to head out for the day. Charging up the battery on the laptop and the RAVPower the night before, I was pretty much ready for anything when I headed into the countryside. It took about three hours to finally drain the laptop battery down to 5%.
It was then time for the RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055 to start work. By connecting my laptop’s standard 220v cable to the RAVPower unit, and holding down the power button for eight seconds to enable the AC outlet, I was able to recharge and power the laptop for a further three hours. There was plenty of the RAVPower battery left — around 50% — for subsequent charges, if I needed them.
I think you’ll agree, that is impressive. However, the AC port can output a maximum of 70W, so you aren’t going to power kettle.
How Many Charges?
The RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055 will recharge your hardware several times. How many times depends on the devices.
For instance, my HP Envy 17″ laptop with Core i7 CPU and three-hour battery on standard use can be recharged about two and a half times. That’s a heavy laptop with a CD writer, so more streamlined ultrabooks are likely to get more charges (and will have a longer battery life).
When it comes to smartphones, a typical Android phablet can be recharged 10 times; on the other hand, a more compact option like the 2013 Nexus 5 could get around 12 or even 15 recharges.
For tablets, things change a little. A first gen iPad Air (2013) can be recharged twice, while a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 will recharge four or five times when connected to the RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055 for a few hours. Samsung tablets are notoriously tricky to provide reliable power to, so it’s nice to see the RAVPower chargers are equal to the task.
For a Raspberry Pi, you can get several days’ use (we stopped after 72 hours). This sort of use can make all the difference to certain projects, such as a Raspberry Pi security camera, perhaps.
The Charger You Need for Everything
RAVPower has built up a great range of portable chargers, and the RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055 is just one of their top devices. While there are cheaper, more portable devices, these don’t have the range of charging and power features that the RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055 has.
In short, if you’re a mobile power user requiring portable recharge support, then this device is exactly what you’ve been looking for.
The RAVPower 27000mAh Portable Charger takes just a few hours to charge itself, and once it’s full you’ll be able to recharge or power pretty much any piece of portable kit you own, including those that run on 220/110v AC power.