Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD review

Anker’s PowerCore+ 26800 PD is a high-capacity power bank for charging all your portable gadgets, and with a 30W USB-C output that can include laptops and consoles such as the Apple MacBook and Nintendo Switch (in portable mode). Also see: Best power banks 2017

Also see: Best Power Bank Deals

If you own either of those devices, you may have been confused by how they charge over USB-C but refuse to charge from any old USB-C charger. That’s because they draw more power than a standard USB-C port can offer.

This is where USB-C Power Delivery (PD) comes in. Without going into too great detail, there are two key things to know about PD: first, it is a single-wire protocol that can deliver up to 100W of power; second, that power can go in either direction.

In essence this means you can charge power-hungry devices such as Apple’s MacBook, but it also means you can fast-charge the power bank itself. Anker claims that with a USB-C PD charger you can refill this bank in 4.5 hours. That a crazy-short amount of time for such a high-capacity device. See all power bank reviews

Unfortunately, if you buy the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD in the UK a PD charger will not be bundled with the device. It’s already a rather expensive option at £69.99 at Amazon UK, but if you want to be able to fast-charge the bank you’ll also need a USB-C PD charger such as this £31.99 Anker 5-Port hub or £25.99 Tronsmart wall charger.

If you’re buying the Anker in the US, however, your luck’s in: the PowerCore+ is supplied with a PD charger, and is currently priced at $109.99 (via Amazon.com).

That all sounds fantastic if you have a USB-C laptop or Nintendo Switch, or you want to be able to charge this power bank in a short amount of time, but what does the Anker PowerCore+ offer to other users?

The design is functional but rather basic, a black plastic slab with rounded corners that is heavier than we anticipated at 580g. You certainly won’t want to carry it in a pocket at 180x80x24mm, and you’ll likely feel its presence in a bag. Also see: How to charge your phone's battery faster 

It feels well-built, however, and is supplied with a soft carry case so you can keep it together with any necessary charging cables. Anker ships a USB-C-to-USB-C cable and a USB-to-Micro-USB cable.

It’s very simple to use, with two full-size USB outputs and the aforementioned USB-C PD input/output on one end, plus a button on the top that is integrated with 10 LEDs. A push of the button will light up these LEDs to show how much power remains inside the bank, and is a decent compromise between the standard four-LED system (which is virtually meaningless for high-capacity banks such as this) and the preferred LCD display (which adds to the price).

Despite the button, charging is automatic - you just plug in your phone, tablet, laptop or other device and away it goes. Each of the two full-size USB outputs offer a fast 5V/3A charge, so whichever output you choose you’re going to power up your devices as quickly as is possible. PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technology is also present on these outputs, which means it will recognise your device type and optimise power delivery for it.

Passthrough charging is a useful feature for high-capacity power banks, since they tend to be left overnight to refill and you may not have a spare power outlet for also charging your phone or tablet. The Anker does not support passthrough charging, but its power delivery means you could get enough power to charge your phone in around half an hour and won’t need each battery to be fully charged when you run out the door. Also see: Best USB chargers.

With 26,800mAh rated capacity, you can expect a minimum of around 17,500mAh available to power your devices (all lose energy through heat generated and voltage conversion). For most Android phones that’s around seven full charges, or around nine charges for an iPhone (the exact number will depend on your device’s own battery capacity). You’ll get at least one, possibly two, full charges for a laptop or tablet.

There’s no doubt that’s a massive amount of portable power, making the Anker PowerCore+ an excellent fit for those who either have high power needs (laptop users and gamers) or those who are going to be away from mains power for an extended period, perhaps for a camping trip or festival.

Read next: How to improve smartphone battery life

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD: Specs

  • 26,800mAh power bank
  • 1x 30W USB-C PD input/output, charges in 4.5 hours with PD adaptor
  • 2x 5V/3A USB outputs with PowerIQ
  • 10-LED status indicator
  • supplied with mesh carry case, USB-C-to-USB-C cable, USB-to-Micro-USB cable
  • auto-on
  • 180x80x24mm
  • 580g
  • 18-month warranty
  • 26,800mAh power bank
  • 1x 30W USB-C PD input/output, charges in 4.5 hours with PD adaptor
  • 2x 5V/3A USB outputs with PowerIQ
  • 10-LED status indicator
  • supplied with mesh carry case, USB-C-to-USB-C cable, USB-to-Micro-USB cable
  • auto-on
  • 180x80x24mm
  • 580g
  • 18-month warranty

OUR VERDICT

It’s expensive, but this Anker heavyweight is an excellent power bank for topping up anything and everything with a USB port - and doing so several times. It is quick to recharge, provided you have a PD adaptor, and will keep on going and going. A great buy if you can afford it.