I love to keep my phone charged but hate the mess of charging cables, so I've been intrigued by the Mophie Powerstation Hub ($99, available now). This portable charger features a built-in power adapter, so you charge the hub by just plugging it into the wall.
During some recent hands-on testing, I found that this adapter comes close to being my dream charger. While it's my favorite of the current options, it might not be the best for everyone, because of its high price. Fortunately, there's a cheaper alternative.
What the Powerstation Hub offers
First off, the Powerstation Hub's unique feature is its Qi charging, which wirelessly charges devices at up to 5 watts. In terms of charging ports, it's got one USB-C Power Delivery port (up to 18 watts) and dual 15-watt USB-A ports (one supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 standard).
Using the Powerstation Hub
This past weekend, when I took a bus down to Philly, I brought the Hub with me because I was trying to pack as light as possible. The hybrid design proved effective in two crucial parts of the trip: topping off the Hub by plugging it into the outlet next to my seat and charging my phone by stacking the two on top of each other at coffee shops.
I hit one minor hiccup, with Qi charging. Placing my phone on top of the charger, I waited as nothing happened. I thought I'd stacked them incorrectly, but it turns out I'd forgotten to click the Hub's status button to activate it.
I eventually used the Powerstation Hub's Type-C Power Delivery port to fast-charge my iPhone XS Max. Its battery had dipped low, and I didn't have enough time to wait for Qi to work its magic. Fast-charging moved along at a brisk pace, which I needed as I attended events where I didn't want to worry about battery life.
What I wish the Hub had
I found myself draining the Hub's charge completely by the end of each day, though. I specify that I killed its charge on my own, because I really wish the Powerstation Hub had a higher capacity. That way, I could have had the option to refuel a friend's phone.
The Hub has a charge capacity of 6,100 mAh, whereas I'm used to the Anker PowerCore, a 20,100-mAh portable charger for the Nintendo Switch. As anyone with a simple grasp of division can tell you, the latter packs more than three times as much juice as the former.
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Sure, a Power Hub with that capacity might be three times as large, but it would be the only charger I'd ever need.
An affordable alternative
But what if you don't want to spend nearly $100 on a charger? Well RavPower, a respected brand at the TG offices, makes its own competitor, the $24 Portable Charger 6700-mAh Power Bank.
While that charger packs a little more juice, it lacks the USB-C Power Delivery port (depriving it of the fastest charging option) as well as Qi-wireless charging. Those deficits will matter to those with modern phones, but people with older devices will probably find the RavPower charger/bank to be good enough.
If you're like me and you're trying to fit your charging solutions into smaller and smaller bags, these combo charger-adapters may help you meet your goal of traveling more efficiently. Still, I'm not selling my bigger chargers anytime soon, as I'll need their capacity for longer events, when I'm not traveling as lightly.