LimeFuel Blast L180X Pro full review
LimeFuel's Blast L180X Pro 18000mAh power bank might be a lot more expensive than its rivals on the market, but it ticks several boxes that other portable USB chargers don't. Also see: Best power banks 2018.
Unlike many power banks the LimeFuel Blast L180X Pro has not one or two but four 2.4A fast-charging USB outputs, and it supports passthrough charging, which means it can function as a four-port USB hub that'll always be powered up and ready to go when you need to take it on road. With a 18000mAh capacity, such a device could otherwise take between 11- and 18 hours to fill up (it has a 2A input, but if your USB charger is of a lower spec it will charge slower). If you're in a rush, that's not much use.
That said, even with four 2.4A USB outputs the maximum total output is 4.2A. So, while you can plug in four USB-powered phones, tablets and other devices, they will charge faster with fewer connected. And some devices that demand a higher input - notably iPads - may refuse to charge with several devices connected. For example, plugged in on its own our iPad mini 2 charged relatively quickly, but when we added our Samsung Galaxy S4 to the mix we found the iPad could be a bit temperamental. See all phone accessories and tablet accessories.
If you are using an iPad, you'll appreciate the two-in-one Micro-USB and Lightning cable supplied in the box. A Lightning adaptor slots over the top of the Micro-USB output to allow you to charge your Apple devices as well as all manner of Micro-USB-connected Android and Windows Phone devices. If you're using a device with a proprietary connection you'll simply need to supply your own charging cable.
The Lightning adaptor is a neat idea, attaching reasonably securely to the cable and swivelling around to reveal the Micro-USB port. The cable itself is flat to avoid tangles and damage, and it has a pretty cool slimline full-size USB connector at the other end. We don't know whether it's an Apple-licensed adaptor, but it worked fine with both our iPad mini and an iPhone running iOS 8.
Another plus point is the LimeFuel's ability to automatically turn itself on and off when you don't have a device connected to save power. Likewise, overcharge protection prevents damage when you're leaving it plugged in and using it as a USB hub. On the main this is a very good thing, and only when we tried to use it to power up our Chromecast did the anti-on/off feature prove problematic. That isn't this device's intended purpose, of course, although we've found other power banks quite useful for use with Chromecast when your TV doesn't have a USB port and you'd need a pretty long USB cable to reach mains power.
Even in passthrough charging mode the LimeFuel Blast L180X Pro never became more than warm in our tests. And that's exactly as we expected, given this power bank's very decent build quality. It feels tough and durable, and comes with a reassuring 12-month warranty.
The LimeFuel Blast L180X Pro is a matt black slab with rounded corners and a smudgeproof coating, measuring 79x24x124mm and weighing 369g. Given the capacity on offer we expected it to be both larger and heavier. Nevertheless, while the Blast Pro will fit in your pocket, it's probably still to heavy to be portable in any sense other than thrown in a travel bag or tucked away in a glovebox.
All power banks lose charge through heat generated, voltage conversion and other scientific stuff. With most power banks averaging 65- to 70 percent efficiency you can expect somewhere around 12000mAh of usable power from this LimeFuel Blast L180X Pro. If you're attempting to charge, for example, an iPhone 6, which has an 1810mAh cell inside, you'll get around six full charges from this power bank.
Like just about every other power bank on the market there is a built-in LED torch, although this single LED setup isn't especially powerful and we're not sure what you might use it for. Four additional green LEDs denote the LimeFuel's remaining capacity, although with each representing 25 percent (that's 4500mAh) it's impossible to get an accurate reading.
The LimeFuel Blast L180X Pro shows the way forward for power bank tech, with support for passthrough charging, four fast USB outputs and a decent cable that tethers the Lightning connector to stop it getting lost. However, available in the UK only via LimeFuel's online shop and costing $99 (around £62), it's incredibly expensive compared to its rivals. For better value, if fewer features, turn to Lumsing's £17 10400mAh power bank or EC Technology's £35 24000mAh alternative.
Read next: How to improve smartphone battery life.
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LimeFuel Blast L180X Pro: Specs
- 18000mAh (68.4Wh) power bank
- 4x 2.4A USB outputs (maximum total output 4.2A)
- 1x 2A Micro-USB input
- passthrough charging
- anti-overcharge protection
- LED flashlight
- two-in-one Micro-USB and Lightning cable
- 12-month warranty