Mophie Powerstation USB-C XXL Review: Power for MacBook, iPad, iPhone

by Reads (1,418)
  • Pros

    • Great looking
    • Relatively small and light
    • Charges devices very quickly
    • Packs a lot of power
  • Cons

    • Expensive

Because electrical sockets aren’t always available, external batteries are a necessity for people on the go. The mophie powerstation USB-C XXL is primarily intended to be used with computers that charge through USB Type-C ports, like the Apple MacBook Pro (2016), but it can also replenish any phone or tablet that supports USB charging.

This accessory is well under a pound but holds 19,500 mAh and offers both a USB-A and USB-C port. It is available now for $149.99, exclusively from the Apple Store.

powerstation USB-C XXL Build and Design

There’s always a tradeoff in external batteries between bulk and storage capacity because they have to be a certain size in order to hold enough power to recharge a laptop. That said, mophie managed to make its latest powerstation surprisingly small: 5.9 by 3.3 by 0.9 inches (150 x 83.75 x 23.20 mm) and 13.76 oz (390 g). A 0.86 pound accessory doesn’t exactly disappear into gear bag or purse, but it’s still small enough that it’s not a huge hassle to carry around.

mophie powerstation USB-C XXL

mophie powerstation USB-C XXL

Most batteries are unattractive plastic bricks, but mophie spruced up this one by wrapping it in fabric. Beyond just making it look professional, the wrapper means the powerstation USB-C XXL is less likely to get scarred up or, more importantly, scratch other items in the same bag.

The only color option is black. The plastic casing is flat black, while the fabric is a dark charcoal.

On one end are two USB ports. A USB-C one is used to send current to notebooks, tablets, etc, and it’s also how the powerstation itself is recharged.

The USB-A port is there to charge tablets and phones that don’t support USB-C. It can’t be used to charge this accessory, and shouldn’t ever be connected to a USB-C port.

mophie powerstation USB-C XXL

powerstation USB-C and USB-A Ports

When necessary, mophie’s accessory can directly charge another device through the USB-A port while this battery is itself connected to a power source through its USB-C port. A feature called Priority+ pass-through directs all the incoming current to the phone/tablet/etc. Only when that device is at 100% will the powerstation itself begin charging.

Included in the box are a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-C to USB-A cable. mophie didn’t include a wall charger, but the powerstation can receive current from any USB-C charger or laptop with a USB-C port. It can also get power from a USB-A wall charger that provides at least 2.4V. Just be sure to always use the USB-C port on the battery for this.

Status Button and LEDs

On one long edge of mophie’s accessory is a button paired with a set of white LEDs. This isn’t a Power button, as the powerstation USB-C XXL begins sending current to connected devices as soon as a cable is hooked up, and it automatically turns itself off when not in use. Instead, the button actives the status LEDs. All four of these light up to show the battery is full, and the number goes down or up to reflect the amount of stored power. The direction these LEDs blink indicates whether battery is charging or discharging.

mophie powerstation USB-C XXL

powerstation Status Lights

The status button does have one other important function. As mentioned, the powerstation can be charged by connecting it to a USB-C port on a notebook. Obviously, this is exactly the same setup when doing the opposite: using the powerstation to charge that notebook. That’s why it’s necessary to hold the status button down for two seconds to get the laptop to start charging the external battery. The status LEDs will blink towards the left when this is happening.

powerstation USB-C XXL Performance

Most tablets are charged through a USB port, and this is true of a growing number of laptops and 2-in-1s as well. The debut of USB Type-C gave a huge boost to this trend, as it allows devices to charge at much higher rates than previous USB versions.

As discussed, mophie’s accessory can hold up to 19,500 mAh, so in theory it should be able to fully charge a 13-inch MacBook Pro (2016) more than three times, or give a 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2017) almost two full charges. Unfortunately, no battery is 100% efficient. In fact, around 60% efficiency is about average.

mophie powerstation USB-C XXL

powerstation Priority+ Pass-Through

We’re referencing those two devices because the powerstation USB-C XXL is sold exclusively at the Apple Store, and so we tested it with Apple computers that support USB-C charging. And many people will surely be surprised to hear that includes recent iPad models because the Lighting port on iOS phones and tablets is actually a modified USB port. Even better, both the iPad Pro and iPhone versions released in 2017 support USB Fast Charging. These tablets don’t come with the necessary cable for this task, but it’s available from the Apple Store ($25).

We put a 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2017) through multiple test runs, and found that the powerstation was able to give this tablet just over a 100% charge. This means mophie’s external battery could give, for example, this computer a 72% charge on a first use, and a 30% charge during a second charging session.

We didn’t have a MacBook Pro to test the powerstation USB-C XXL, but our earlier results indicate that the accessory should be able to give that laptop approximately 150% of maximum charge. Again, this can be spread over multiple charging sessions.

Charging Speed

The charging process for the iPad was approximately twice the speed of using a standard Lighting cable and USB-A charger. The same was true when we tested this USB-C accessory with an iPhone X.

mophie powerstation USB-C XXL

mophie powerstation Side View with Fabric Covering

Specifically, our test iPad Pro received a roughly 25% charge in 30 minutes, while the iPhone X got almost 35% of a full charge in that same amount of time. It took two hours of charging the tablet to impart a 70% charge because the process slows down when the slate’s battery nears 100%.

In less technical terms, all this means that a useful amount of power can be transferred to either of these iOS devices in the time it takes to eat lunch.

powerstation USB-C XXL Final Thoughts

Anyone who regularly uses their laptop or 2-in-1 outside of their office or home should seriously consider having a backup battery for it. No one wants to be at 30,000 feet with no way to finish the presentation that has to be ready when they land.

We found the mophie powerstation USB-C XXL able to significantly extend the useful life of a range of computers. Even better, it makes these laptops, tablets, and phones useful again quickly.

mophie Powerstation USB-C XXLThe price for this accessory is $149.99 on the Apple Store, the only venue where it’s available. That makes it pricey compared to the AUKEY PB-T11 30,000 mAh Battery, which is much bulkier, way slower, and far uglier, but costs just $59.99.

Pros:

  • Great looking
    Relatively small and light
    Charges devices very quickly
    Packs a lot of power

Cons:

  • Expensive



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