It’s finally happening: some laptops can now be charged by the same power bank that gives your smartphone an extra boost. If you’re looking for a new notebook with that ability, these are the best tried-and-tested options.
It’s All About USB-C and Wattage
This scenario eluded us for years, but it’s becoming a reality because of USB Type-C and its USB Power Delivery standard. The new USB port finds a place on several new laptops as well as new Android smartphones. The iPhone is the only flagship handset to remain aloof.
Laptops come with their own USB-C chargers that provide a stronger and faster charge, usually at 60W (and up to 100W). But most of these laptops can also be charged by power banks with 30W output. It’s slower, of course, but it works.
Ideally, for charging laptops, use a USB-C to USB-C cable, (i.e. both ends have a USB-C port). And whatever you do, remember to buy USB-C cables from trusted brands. A bad cable can damage your device.
The Type of Power Bank You Need
Without getting into the jargon of wattage and amps, here’s what you need to know as a consumer. The power bank’s output is crucial in whether your laptop will be charged or not.
Ideally, you need a high-capacity power bank with 30W output. Our recommendation for this hasn’t changed since the last time we looked at the best power banks for your money. Get the Anker PowerCore 26800+ to charge all of the laptops in this list.
Check the Sizes of the Laptop and Power Bank
There are other power banks with higher output too, but there’s an issue there. Many airlines and airports restrict you from carrying power banks above 27000mAh. The Anker PowerCore 26800+ is the best under this limit.
Size also matters with laptops. Theoretically, any laptop that charges via its USB-C port should get a boost through a power bank. But from what we’ve seen so far, larger laptops don’t fare well with this. That’s why we’re avoiding 14-inch and 15-inch laptops as recommendations in this, with one exception.
1. Dell XPS 13
From the time it launched in 2015, we’ve been in love with the Dell XPS 13 (read our review). It’s our default recommendation for the best value-for-money Windows ultrabook today. And it charges via USB-C too.
Dell also sells a power bank for laptops, meant to charge devices like the XPS 13. Power banks also work with the XPS 15, but the charging speed was really slow when we tried it. Chalk it up to the larger size, maybe?
The Asus Zenbook 3 is already a laptop with great battery life, but if you need even more power, you can charge on-the-go with your power bank. The Anker power bank even supported charging at regular speeds like the XPS 13, but didn’t do fast-charging.
Apart from that, the Zenbook 3 is an excellent notebook PC anyway. Few devices at this price have 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, all powered by an Intel Core i7 processor.
Among the few 14-inch Windows laptops to support charging by power bank, the ThinkPad X1 series is a delight to use. You won’t get fast charging, but it’s a decent enough speed.
As for which one you should buy, it’s simple. If you want a full-flip 2-in-1 laptop, then get the X1 Yoga. If you want a regular laptop for a much lower price, the X1 Carbon is a fantastic device.
Need an affordable hybrid 2-in-1 that charges via USB-C? Meet the HP Spectre X2, ready to become a tablet or a laptop with the press of one button.
We’ve tested the Anker power bank with the Intel Core m5 version and hence are recommending that, but it should theoretically work fine with the Intel Core m3 version too.
6. Razer Blade
We’ve tried the Razer Blade only with the 13.3-inch model and not the 14-inch model. It should work since it supports the same USB Power Delivery standard, but we can’t vouch for the 14-inch model.
7-8. Apple MacBook or MacBook Pro
The 12-inch Retina MacBook works best with it, charging at full speed with the Anker power bank. The new MacBook Pros also charge with it, but not at full speed. However, it’s still quick enough that it’s convenient to use.
The Pixelbook charges almost at full speed with the Anker power bank. And you’ll get a full 100 percent charge if you keep it going for a few hours.
The best value-for-money Chromebook also charges via power banks. Plus, it has two USB-C ports, so you can continue to use the other one while you charge your laptop.
Both the Core m3 and Core m5 versions of the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 are supported, and it even works if you use a USB-A to USB-C cable. That one is slower, of course, but not too slow.
Which Other Laptops Charge via Power Banks?
Apart from the aforementioned recommendations, there are a few other notebook PCs that work with power banks. Wikipedia has a handy list of 60W-100W USB-C laptops. And no matter which laptop you use, check out how to get longer out of a charge.