If there’s one thing USB C has over MagSafe it’s the lack of licensing required for third party charging solutions. Since getting the original USB C MacBook I immediately discovered that it would happily trickle charge or at the very least use less net battery power while plugged into USB 2 chargers with appropriate cabling. Now, finally, I’m testing a third party device specifically for charging the MacBook.
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- Passthrough charging. You can use the battery as a charging hub while it is plugged in.
- Qualcomm Quick Charge standard USB port spits out 18W, which you can use to charge the MacBook with via a USB A to C cable
- Single USB C port is bidirectional just as you’d expect.
- 15-18W Max means it doesn’t have quite enough power to provide a net charge to the MacBook under heavy load such as rendering with a mostly dead battery.
- Auto Shutoff, which is an important safety feature in light of what Samsung has been going through lately, may kick in before a completely dead MacBook or iPad Pro 12.9″ is completely recharged.
- No Flashlight like the Jackery Giant has. Not a deal breaker, but it’s nice to have an extra use case for this giant battery.
Not taken into account
- Weight: Batteries weigh what they weigh.
On the Road
The math says that this should be able to charge a MacBook almost 4 times or about 2 times for the 12.9″ iPad Pro (did you know the iPad Pro 12.9″ had twice the battery of a MacBook? I didn’t until I looked it up for this review). Or 6 iPhone 7 Plus charges or 12 iPhone SE charges. Depending on what you’re needing it for, it’s extremely plausible that you could use it for an entire week without needing to find an outlet.
I know it seems trivial, but the fact that you can use the battery as a USB charging hub while it is plugged in is extremely convenient. I took an Anker Powercore to WWDC with me and it had this limitation, meaning I could not top everything off at once at the hotel without finding additional outlets. For this singular reason I’m demoting the Anker behind the Titan for situations where I could handle the weight of one of them but not both (such as a conference). As an aside, I would like to point out that unlike academic conferences power was plentiful at WWDC. I never had to fight for a seat with an outlet and believe me WWDC is crowded.
The Qualcomm port is awesome if you have a device that can use it. I don’t, unfortunately as Apple has not yet developed a similar feature. I will note that rapid charge can count as putting an extra charge cycle on the receiving battery so I’m not sure how much I really want this feature until that’s been resolved.
I can’t overstate how delightfully simple the bidirectional nature of USB C is. It frustrates me how much of an Alphabet Soup of cable types have to travel with me considering they’re all USB.
Overall my only complaints are that while 15W is plenty to charge a MacBook while using it, it’s still less than the Maximum theoretical draw of 30W. If you’re going to charge a MacBook and an iOS device I recommend you connect the iOS device to one of the other ports on the device instead of to something like the Digital Multiport Adapter connected to the MacBook. If you try to debug an iPad while using the battery as a power source you may see either the MacBook and/or the iPad in the dreaded “battery is not charging” state where you may not be losing any battery power but you’re not recharging either.
If Jackery is listening (this is not a review unit. I’ll disclose up front if I ever review something I’ve received for such purposes) I’d like to see a flashlight in this model with WARM white LEDs and a new version with only USB C ports on it. Way of the future.
Recommendation: Obvious Buy for owners of USB-C charging MacBooks, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. There isn’t too much competition in the native USB-C space yet and giant batteries are a scary product to buy from a no name company but I’ve come to trust Jackery products not to burst into flames.