Power banks seem simple enough–you plug in your device and they feed it juice, right? What’s there to review? But there’s a lot that goes into a portable charger–size and power, output (which also determines charging speed), and likelihood of malfunction, such as overheating. It’s these small things that, when push comes to shove, really make a difference.
Our editing department purchased Anker’s popular PowerCore Lite 10000 and gave it a test run. We then summed up the pros and cons of the PowerCore Lite 10000 and also suggested a few alternatives, just in case that you find that it doesn’t fit your needs after all.
Anker PowerCore Lite 10000
What Makes the Anker PowerCore Lite 10000 Such a Popular Device?
The PowerCore Lite is a slim, compact power bank that packs 10,000 mAh of power. That’s enough to charge most smartphones three times over or a tablet once.
According to Anker, the PowerCore Lite has an output of 2.4 A (about double that of traditional portable chargers), which is enough to get most dead devices up and running within minutes. There’s two types of input, or ways to recharge the bank itself, USB-C and micro USB. It comes with a micro USB cable that you can use.
There’s also surge and short circuit protection built into the charger. Basically, the PowerCore Lite doesn’t have any fancy features, but it does have all the basic components of a good power bank: portability, power, and safety.
Putting the Anker PowerCore Lite 10000 to the Test
We teamed up with IT and gadget specialists to put the Anker PowerCore Lite 10000 to the test. Specifically, we were looking for the four following factors.
Test ①: Size and Feel
Test ②: Charging Speed
Test ③: Power Capacity
Test ④: Likeliness to Malfunction
Test ①: Size and Feel
Because what’s the point of a power bank if it’s not portable?
Basically the Size of an iPhone X
The PowerCore Lite is 142 mm long x 72 mm wide x 14.5 mm thick. Basically, it’s the size of an iPhone X. We laid it on top of an iPhone 8 plus, and you can see how it’s just a bit smaller. It’s thin enough that you can hold your smartphone and the charger in a single hand.
About as Heavy as a Can of Soda
Anker says the PowerCore Lite is around 211 g; the particular one we got weighed in at 216 g. A can of soda weighs about the same. If you can carry around your diet Coke, you can carry around this charger.
We also tried slipping it into our bags and our jacket pockets, but it never felt too heavy.
Textured Surface Feels Comfortable in the Hand
The surface of the PowerCore was textured with little slashes, so it wasn’t too slippery to hold. It had a nice matte finish to it. The included pouch was velvety and felt like it might slip from our fingers, so we recommend grasping it by the drawstrings.
Test ②: Charging Speed
Because that’s what a portable charger does. Charge.
Switch Between a Micro USB and USB-C Cable (Input Only)
First, let’s talk about what it’s like to charge the power bank itself. You can either use the included micro USB cable or you can use a USB Type-C cable, which isn’t included. Both forms of input measure in at about 2.0 A.
When the device is charging, an indicator to the left of the power button will light up blue.
Not Slow, but Not Outstandingly Fast Either
According to Anker’s instruction manual, the PowerCore Lite can charge at speeds up to 2.4 A. But we wanted to see how that would translate to real life, so we hooked up an iPhone 8 with a Lightening cable (one of Apple’s official products) and measured the output ourselves.
To be sure, we ran the test five times. At the very end, we measured an average output of about 1.25 A. Basic USBs hooked up to a PC usually give you about 0.5 A; “fast speeds” start at 1.0 A, but 1.25 is nothing outstanding, about average, actually.
Do, however, note that electronic devices often only suck up as much current as they can handle (before they fry), so the PowerCore Lite may measure faster or slower on certain devices. While the iPhone 8 can draw more power from more powerful chargers, older iPhone models, for example, won’t ask for much more than 1.0 A.
Test ③: Power Capacity
Because most power banks won’t let you suck them completely dry (as this could wear them down in the long run).
About 60% of Power is Usable, which is Average
We plugged a USB-powered tabletop fan into a fully charged Anker PowerCore Lite, then let it run until the power bank was out of juice. We measured the current coming out with an amperometer, then calculated how many mAhs of power we could actually use.
The result? Out of the 10,000 mAh packed into the PowerCore Lite, we could use 5,968 mAh. Keep in mind that most mobile batteries don’t let you fully drain them to improve longevity; plus they lose power to heat. It’s actually natural that around 30 – 40% of a portable charger’s power capacity be unusable, so the PowerCore Lite earns a passing score in our books.
Test ④: Likeliness to Malfunction
Because we also freak out when our power banks overheat.
Tested for Safety and Unlikely to Overheat
Well, first off, it’s almost impossible to find an “unsafe” electronic device in Japan nowadays. On February 1, 2019, a law went into effect that made it mandatory for electronic products to acquire what’s known as a “PSE mark,” which guarantees the product’s safety. Anker’s PowerCore Lite also proudly bears this mark.
And just to test for overheating, we plugged in our phones and played some graphics heavy games. The power bank felt warm but never got noticeably hot.
The Final Verdict: Has All the Bare Bones Features You Could Need. Anker PowerCore Lite 10000 Earns Our Seal of Approval
It’s not particularly tiny or light, but it’s slim and about the same weight as a can of soda. Out of the 10,000 mAh that’s listed, the device can only pump out about 6,000, but that’s average and enough to charge a smartphone three times over. It wasn’t able to charge an iPhone 8 at speeds much higher than 1.0 A, which isn’t fast by any means, but not particularly slow either.
If you’re looking for a power bank that goes above and beyond, you might find the Anker PowerCore Lite 10000 a bit lacking. However, it has all the bare bones features you could possibly want, is PSE-certified, and is definitely worth the price.
Not Satisfied with the Color, Charging Speed, or Size?
So let’s say you were looking for something that offered a little more. Here are some viable alternatives.
The Anker PowerCore Lite 10000 is Also Available in White
If you were looking for something a little more refreshing, then consider getting the PowerCore Lite in white. It has the same beautiful matte finish as the black and will probably match better with Apple products.
For Those Who Want to Charge Faster, There’s the PowerCore II Slim 10000
The PowerCore II Slim is 137 mm long, 66 mm wide, and 16 mm thick. It maps out a rectangle slightly smaller than that of the PowerCore Lite, but it’s also a bit thicker. It has the same number of output ports (one) and offers about the same power capacity.
The difference lies in the charging speed. The PowerCore II Slim is compatible with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge. Not only can it itself be Quick Charged (with a Quick Charge Charger), it can also power up qualifying devices faster than the PowerCore Lite.
The Anker PowerCore 10000 Redux Fits into the Palm of Your Hand
The biggest difference between the PowerCore Lite and the PowerCore Redux is size. The latter measures about 104 mm long, 52 mm wide, and 25 mm thick; that’s just enough to fit snugly in the palm of your hand. It weights about 184 g.
Just like the PowerCore Lite, it only has one port for output. However, while the Redux may be shorter and narrower than the Lite, it’s also thicker, so it may not look as flattering in your pants pocket.
We put Anker’s PowerCore Lite 10000 to the test. While its performance didn’t blow us away, it worked well. It charged what it needed to at a decent speed. Overall, it’s a worthy purchase.
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