I’ve Tested Nearly 50 Portable Chargers — and This Is the Only One I Pack for My Travels

It’s easy to carry in a backpack and allows me four full iPhone charges.

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Power Bank Fast Charge Tout


As an on-the-go New Yorker and travel writer, my phone battery always finds a sneaky way of getting depleted. Whether I’m tapping away as I dart into the subway, sitting on a plane, or snapping countless photos of my latest travels, I regularly find myself with a mere 15 percent of battery life by the 3 p.m. mark each day. 

If this sounds familiar to you, then let me introduce you to my secret weapon of portable charging: The Otterbox Fast Charge Power Bank. I personally have the 20,000 mAh version (or milliampere/hour, which is used to measure the energy capacity of a battery). But this powerful power bank charger also comes in 10,000 and 15,000 mAh versions as well. 

What's noticeably different about this life-enhancing power bank charger is the speed at which it charges my phone and its amount of charging power. Since the early days of power bank chargers hitting the market, I've tested roughly 50 different gadgets — from slim chargers that fit in your wallet to bulky brick-size devices. To help keep my phone juiced up, I've also tested those convenient but weirdly no longer trendy Mophie charging cases. Nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to the speed or capacity of Otterbox's Fast Charge Power Bank. 

6 Clever Items 7/31/20 - Otterbox Fast Charge Portable Power Bank


To buy: otterbox.com, from $35

Otterbox claims that its power bank charger is up to 3.6 times faster than standard charging, and I've seen it firsthand. Using the product with a completely dead battery, I can get about 15 to 20 percent of my battery back in just 15 minutes. After 30 minutes of charging, I've arrived at half of a full battery and, within an hour, the power bank has astonishingly fully charged my iPhone 13 Pro

Another perk: After fully charging my phone using this power bank, it still has plenty of additional charging power left in it. In my experience, it only loses a quarter of its own charging power each time I fill up my iPhone, meaning I can generally get four total charges of my favorite handheld device before needing to plug the power bank in to recharge itself. Surprisingly, this power bank can also charge my Macbook Air through the USB-C port, which has been life-saving for me while I'm on a plane without a working power outlet. The fast charging ability has also proven clutch while on the road and my husband's iPad runs out of juice, since it can power up similar small tablets with up to 37 hours of battery. Besides the fast charging USB-C port, Otterbox's Fast Charge Power Bank also has a USB-A port, which allows me to charge multiple devices at once.

Sleek in design — dare I even call this power bank charger handsome? — it's a charcoal gray color that nicely compliments some of my other Apple devices. One thing I appreciate most is the quality of the materials, which are very durable and even engineered with Otterbox's super reliable drop protection. I can say this confidently because it’s definitely taken a few spills, and bounces back with barely the faintest of a scratch. I'm also spoiled to live in an apartment building with a pool and hot tub, and I regularly even plug it in when I'm sitting in the hot tub (since there's a handy ledge to stash it on). It's gotten a few minor splashes on it, which is definitely not recommended or advised, but it's never personally been an issue for me. 

Power Bank Fast Charge

Dan Koday

This power bank charger also has a very discreet LED charging light that indicates how much power it has left or when it is charging itself. Its build is slightly on the bulkier side than some of the competitors and the 20,000 mAh version weighs just under a pound (the 10,000 mAh version is .53 pounds and the 15,000 mAh version is .73 pounds). While it’s light enough to slip into the front pocket on a pair of jeans, it does feel a bit bulkier there and is probably a better choice to carry in a handbag or backpack than on your person. 

Since getting it in February, the power bank has been all over the world with me. One bonus is that it works well in all weather conditions, whether hidden under an umbrella on a sun-soaked beach in St. Barth or tucked away in my bulky ski jacket at the freezing summit of Aspen Highlands.

Otterbox's Fast Charge Power Bank starts at $35, depending on which mAh option you choose, and considering that competing devices cost up to a whopping $120, it's reasonable for something that brings tremendous life value, especially if you're tethered to your phone like I am. When you unbox the charger, you'll also find that it comes with a USB-A to USB-C cable to charge devices or recharge the power bank itself. 

If you're looking for an excellent fast-charging power bank for travel or just to juice up at a coffee shop, don't miss out on this excellent option from Otterbox

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