AUKEY Basix Pro 10,000mAh Wireless Charging Power Bank | $40 | Amazon
I can’t think of a gadget more universally useful than the power bank. With a growing number of devices on avail to facilitate our ultra-mobile lifestyles, many are literally lost when their batteries die. I should know after being stranded in New Orleans at 3 AM with no taxi driver in sight. I can’t tell north from south, apparently, and without Google Maps, I’m screwed.
Don’t even get me started on holiday visits to grandma’s, where I seem to be the only one within my millennial age group disinterested in trying to follow multiple simultaneous conversations of those flanking us. As a hardcore introvert, I like to stay glued to a screen during those tumultuous times.
Despite all that, I find it hard to carry a battery pack every day. Most are heavier than my phone, and you have to pack a cable or two to deliver the currents, which is not ideal if you’re trying to travel light. It’s not undoable, but unless I expect a nigh endless day (and I’d usually prepare a personal bag in that predicament), I’m seeking any excuse to leave it behind.
But I might change my mind after using Aukey’s 10,000mAh 18W wireless charging power bank ($40), which the manufacturer offered for a fair test. The unit’s smart design makes it easier to use on the go than anything else I’ve tested to date.
If your collection of Qi-enabled devices is growing—phones, smartwatches, and true wireless earbuds make up a substantial bulk of the field right now—you’ll want one, too. Wireless charging speeds reach up to 10W, and the battery will automatically adjust to your device’s maximum capabilities.
Here’s how simple it is in practice: Tap the power button to engage wireless charging mode and drop your phone on it. That’s a much better proposition than untangling my USB cable from my keys and fumbling around to plug in both ends, failing several tries along the way because I’m miserably dexterity-challenged. I might even accidentally drop my phone or the battery pack if I don’t have a surface to work on. It’s happened before.
I love the built-in kickstand. The rear element is nice and sturdy and should be able to hold up under most normal-sized smartphones. (No, Galaxy Fold, you’re not invited.) The front holding tray doesn’t give me as much confidence, but the rear kickstand swings out at the perfect angle to keep the weight evenly balanced through intense bouts of touchscreen fidgeting, and I’ve yet to experience an inadvertent tip-over.
Disappointment kicked in when I learned the kickstand only works in landscape mode, but that’s no shocker considering the goal is pocketability. Perhaps you could argue for more kickstands, but more moving parts would make it more prone to breaking, and definitely more confusing to use. Can’t have your portable wireless lithium and eat it, too, I suppose.
My only other complaint—and it’s a small one—is that there are only two wired charging ports total, which isn’t too bad considering you can charge over-air and over-wire simultaneously, though you’ll lose considerable efficiency on either end when you do this. To be fair, I totally see this as something that’s more reserved for daily outings than a work powerhouse, so that shouldn’t matter much. The same goes if you’re using the USB-C PD and USB-A ports at the same time. But with 18W to spread around, charging speeds aren’t so much slower I’d deliberately avoid doing it.
I think Aukey has something sweet on its hands here. This is a well-balanced power bank with the ultimate versatility thanks to the Qi wireless charging contacts and kickstand, and even with three devices attached, it barely produces heat. You’ll wish for something bigger than its 10,000mAh capacity if you’re looking to cover more than a couple of devices at a time, but it’s worth grabbing one if you just need a convenient everyday carry.