Intocircuit Power Castle PC13000 and PC15000 review

Larger-capacity, upgraded versions of the PC Advisor Recommended PC11200, the Intocircuit Power Castle just got even better with the PC13000 and PC15000 power banks, ideal emergency chargers for your phone or tablet away from the mains. Read our Intocircuit Power Castle PC13000 and PC15000 review. Also see: Best power banks 2015.  

Also see: Best Black Friday Gadget Deals

These two power banks are identical to each other in every way other than their price, capacity and weight. With one rated at 13,000mAh capacity (expect around 70 percent efficiency, so 9,100mAh) and the other 15,000mAh (10,500mAh), you're talking about a difference of whether you can charge your iPhone 5s six- or seven times.  Also see: Best MiFi 2016.

Both measuring 128x71x22mm, the upgraded Power Castles are just a couple of centimetres longer than the older PC11200, matching its width and depth. And they're not much heavier either, at 308g for the PC13000 and 323g for the PC15000 (the PC11200 weighs 280g). With just £3 between them, whether you buy the £26.99 PC13000 or £29.99 PC15000 will come down to your budget and how much emergency battery power you require. 

These upgraded models are now faster to refill, with a 7.5W- rather than 5W-rated Micro-USB input. This is handy, given that the Power Castle doesn't support passthrough charging (the ability to simultaneously charge itself and an attached device). No charger is supplied in the box, as is standard for power banks, but you can just use whichever charger you're using for your phone or tablet. Also see: How to charge your phone or tablet faster. 

The faster of the two USB outputs now supports SmartID technology, instantly recognising your specific device and ensuring maximum charging efficiency. This port is a fast-charging 10.5W output; the second is rated at 5W and better suited to charging smartphones than tablets. 

If you plug in a USB device to either of these ports the Intocircuit will automatically spring to life, and once charging is complete it cuts the power supply. The on/off switch is not used for starting and ending charging but for activating the blue backlight on the LCD display, which fades after 30 seconds to save power. Also see: How to improve smartphone battery life. 

In other respects the new Power Castles are the same as the older version, and that's no bad thing. We love the brushed-metal aluminium alloy design with curved edges that feel comfortable in the hand even for a power bank of this size. Not that the pair are large for high-capacity power banks, although you won't want to carry them in a pocket. They feel sturdy, too, but the 12-month warranty is reassuring. 

Our favourite feature, though, is the aforementioned LCD display. This is a rare find in the majority of cheap power banks, and incredibly useful. Whereas most such devices use a quartet of LEDs to estimate how much power remains, whereby each LED could represent a chunk as large as 6,000mAh, with the Power Castle's LCD display you know exactly how much power remains at all times. 

The display will show you which output is in use. These ports have their own legends, but if you're using the power bank in the dark this may be helpful. Also helpful in such a situation is the built-in LED flashlight, which you turn on and off with a double-tap of the on/off switch. Lastly, the display will tell you whether the power bank is charging itself (IN) or a connected device (OUT). Also see: Best desktop chargers 2015. 

Follow Marie Brewis on Twitter.

Intocircuit Power Castle PC13000/PC15000: Specs

  • 13,000mAh/15,000mAh capacity
  • 1x 7.5W Micro-USB input
  • 1x 10.5W USB output with SmartID, 1x 5W USB output
  • auto-on/-off
  • no passthrough charging
  • LCD display
  • LED flashlight
  • carry case
  • 128x71x22mm
  • 308g (13,000mAh), 323g (15,000mAh)
  • 12-month warranty
  • 13,000mAh/15,000mAh capacity
  • 1x 7.5W Micro-USB input
  • 1x 10.5W USB output with SmartID, 1x 5W USB output
  • auto-on/-off
  • no passthrough charging
  • LCD display
  • LED flashlight
  • carry case
  • 128x71x22mm
  • 308g (13,000mAh), 323g (15,000mAh)
  • 12-month warranty

OUR VERDICT

The new Intocircuit Power Castle PC13000 and PC15000 are nicely designed, representing excellent value and fast, easy charging for your phone and tablet away from the mains. The LCD display is a great inclusion at this price. Recommended.