Review: RAVPower RP-PB14 Xtreme 23000mAh Portable External Battery Charger
Compatibility: All iPads, iPhones + iPods
Every few months, there's a new contender for the title of highest capacity battery pack to make it into our offices. The most recent device to take the lead is RAVPower's RP-PB14 Xtreme 23000mAh Portable External Battery Charger ($170), beating out iBattz' significantly smaller Mojo Battstation Optimus. It's capable of juicing up pretty much any piece of consumer electronics out there thanks to a mess of cables and adapters included in the box; this even includes laptops, but unfortunately not MacBooks, due to the proprietary MagSafe standard. While there is a 30-pin Dock Connector tip, no Lightning plug is included. The battery's footprint is pretty large at 4.88" by 7.28", and it's 0.75" thick. Instead of relying on Micro-USB for power, it comes with an AC adapter for the wall. There's also a felt carrying case.
RP-PB14 has a volume that’s almost twice that of its iBattz competitor, despite only adding 2,600mAh. There’s no question that it’s huge, making portability an issue. As so many battery packs are, it’s rectangular with rounded corners. The body is solid. It’s mostly glossy black plastic, but a plate on top is designed to look like brushed metal. Centered along the left edge is where you’ll find one of the cooler aspects: an LCD display. It shows the remaining charge level as a percentage, and a symbol indicated when a device is plugged in. We also saw it displaying a “09V” message when we pressed the power button, but that didn’t seem to change based on what was plugged in, or what the battery’s charge level was.
There are a total of four outputs on RAVPower’s battery. Three are outputs, and the last an input for the 2A AC adapter. Whereas Micro-USB would’ve meant pretty slow refill times, RP-PB14 can be fully juiced up in about three and a half hours. This leaves a 4.5A DC output for use with laptops, plus 1A USB port, and 2.5A USB ports. The maximum simultaneous power output is 4.5A, meaning you can juice up an iPad and iPhone at full speed, at the same time.
We ran our charging tests using an iPad Air, which had to go through several charge/discharge cycles before RP-PB14 became fully depleted. It actually beat our expectations of 190 percent based on past averages. Running at full 2.4A speeds, the battery recharged the Air a total of 201 percent, making it the first pack we’ve covered to provide two full charges to an iPad. It’s worth noting that the battery indicator on the display wasn’t totally accurate though. It jumped from about 6 percent to 0 percent as it finished charging the iPad, and in recharging, went from the mid-90s to 100 percent.
RP-PB14 is a combination of extreme qualities. It’s huge, but it’s also powerful. We can’t see it as the kind of thing someone is going to toss in his or her bag for daily use, but on the road it could be truly useful. Compared to Mojo Battstation, it’s physically larger and more expensive, but also has the advantages of true full-speed iPad recharging and quick wall charging. The screen is a nice touch too. Even though it was slightly off, it provides more information than a few blinking LEDs. Overall, the battery earns our general recommendation for its massive output capabilities and fast speeds.