Review: Mophie’s Powerstation PD XL puts a fast-charging 10,050mAh cell in your pocket
Accessory maker Mophie, owned by the popular Zagg brand, offers a plethora of versatile batteries for your Apple gear. Today, we’re taking a look at the company’s Powerstation PD XL, an inconspicuous 10,050 mAh cell pack that can extend the run time of your device with up to 18 watts of power output and support for the USB Power Delivery (PD) protocol which allows you to safely recharge your iPhone from zero to fifty percent in half an hour.
An inconspicuous battery pack
The neat little accessory gives you a few charge cycles for your iPhone. For a smartphone with a 3,000 mAh battery, for instance, you’d get roughly three full charge cycles and still have some juice left in the cell. For what it’s worth, Mophie says that the accessory extends your iPhone’s battery up to 35 hours, your iPad for up to 6 hours and a small tablet by up to 13 hours.
Unveiled ahead of CES 2019, it doesn’t look much different from other batteries in Mophie’s lineup. You have two USB ports lined up along one end. On a slightly angled side, you’ll find a quarter of status LED lights that display the charging status and current battery life.
Just press a button to turn turn the battery pack on or off.
Akin to several other Powerstations in Mophie’s lineup, our Powerstation PD XL features a textured design finish that makes for a better grip when held. It does feel great in your hand. As for the plastic enclosure, it looks solid and doesn’t just protect the accessory against scratches or scuffs when stowed alongside other devices, but also helps improve performance versus the metal exteriors of the many, many other battery packs iDownloadBlog has tried thus far.
Introducing Power Delivery
The Power Delivery protocol is what makes fast-charge support possible.
It lets the device requesting juice, like your phone or tablet, manage the power it receives so that you don’t have to worry about overcharging. You can rest assured that your Powerstation will regulate the overall input in order to stay safe. As with all Mophie batteries, this one’s been triple-test certified to ensure peak performance and safe operation.
As mentioned earlier, this battery pack has two ports on the rear, one is a regular USB-A port for charging your iOS devices via the standard Lightning to USB cable and the other is a smaller, reversible USB-C port that transfers more power than the older USB-A standard.
The USB-C port is also used to recharge the device’s internal battery, supporting up to 15 watts of input power (5V/2.4A). You can use either a regular USB-A charger to juice up your Powerstation or an 18W USB-C one (5V/3.0A) for the fastest recharging speed.
The device lets you charge two devices simultaneously, like your iPhone through its USB-C port along with an iPad through the USB-A port. When sending juice to two devices at the same time, your Powerstation reduces the USB-A port to the same five watts of power like that slow-charging wall brick which Apple still ships with iPhones.
That doesn’t happen if you’re recharging your Powerstation via USB-C while sending juice to another device via USB-A. In that case, the USB-A port will provide twelve watts of power, not five. By the way, sending juice to a device while recharging your Powerstation at the same time invokes priority charging to ensure that power is sent to any connected devices first before the Powerstation itself starts to recharge.
The benefits of fast-charging
I was able to fast charge my iPhone XS Max from dead to fifty percent using the 18W USB-C charger that came with my iPad Pro in just under thirty minutes. By comparison, the standard 5W power brick that ships with iPhone took an hour and a half to get me to 50 percent.
TUTORIAL: How to fast-charge iPhone or iPad
In other words, thanks to Power Delivery support Mophie’s accessory allows me to recharge my phone more than two times faster compared to the standard 5W charger.
Most iPhone models do offer a decent battery life, but even my iPhone XS Max sometimes falls bellow 20 percent when being used a lot throughout the day, even more so during the summer as soaring temperatures negatively impact the life of lithium-ion batteries. Now having to spend a lot of time waiting around for my phone to charge was a blessing. Even if you only have ten minutes, you’ll still get up to 20 percent battery life thanks to fast-charge support.
I was even able to top up my MacBook Pro with my Powerstation, but don’t expect a 10,050 mAh capacity battery to recharge your USB-C laptop completely.
Mophie has a bunch of Powerstation-branded batteries for most needs.
Power users (pun intended) that require even more stored power than the Powerstation PD line offers are wholeheartedly recommended to take a closer look at the USB-C-enabled Powerstation 3XL with its massive 26,000 mAh battery, the largest in Mophie’s lineup, which equates to roughly a 96Wh battery.
The Powerstation lineup was refreshed for 2019 with the new Mini (5,000 mAh), regular (10,000 mAh), XL (15,000 mAh) and XXL (20,000 mAh) models that all have a shared USB-C input and output port to deliver fast charging (18W) and faster recharging (15W).
There is also a USB-A port available on some models, and two USB-A ports on others.
Then there is the company’s Apple-exclusive Plus line of Powerstations targeted at folks who hate carrying extra cables thanks to their integrated Lightning / micro-USB switch tip output cables. They come in three sizes — the $60 4,000 mAh Plus Mini, the $80 6,000 mAh Plus (6,000 mAh) and the $100 10,000 mAh Plus XL, the latter sporting speeds up to 10W and micro-USB recharging input.
The high-capacity Plus XL model can also be recharged wirelessly using a Qi-compatible charger, and it’ll extend your iPhone’s battery up to 70 hours and your iPad up to 18 hours.
Those who need something even more versatile needn’t look further than Powerstation Hub, Mophie’s latest 6,100 mAh battery pack (pictured above) that can juice up four devices at once via USB-C, USB-A or wirelessly. However, if you don’t need that much on-the-go power, consider Mophie’s JuicePack battery case, released back in January [review] and pictured right below.
Lastly, the company recently unveiled some new compelling accessories like a Qi-compatible wireless charging pad, a pair of stylish car chargers and a variety of USB cables.
In the past year or so, I have been all-in on Power Delivery. Ever since experiencing the benefits of fast-charging, I never looked back. You will, of course, need to buy a Lightning to USB-C cable to fast-charge your iPhone because Apple hasn’t yet adopted USB-C on its smartphone nor does it bundle iPhones with these handy cables.
As a matter of fact, Lightning to USB-C cables were prohibitively expensive because only Apple used to make them. Since the start of 2019, however, Lightning to USB-C cables are available from many third-party vendors. A quality non-Apple cable can be had for as little as ten bucks, or even less.
USB is an industry standard, meaning Mophie’s portable battery can be safely used with non-Apple gear without any reliability issues. I was able to recharge Android phones and power various USB accessories like external storage with my Powerstation. Though not strictly an Apple-exclusive product, Mophie has optimized the output power and the ports on the Powerstation family of products for Apple’s devices.
Despite premium pricing, this Powerstation has a lot going for it.
With a length of 4.2 inches, a width of 2.3 inches and a thickness of 0.8 inches, it’s very compact. I also like how lightweight it is — the XL model weighs in just 7.2 ounces. These things can definitely be carried around with ease as they’re small enough to fit into a pocket. Besides, USB-C battery packs usually start at 20,000 mAh so it’s definitely refreshing to see a lower-capacity juice pack that still offers all the benefits of the Power Delivery protocol.
It’s got priority charging, which is a must. While its regular USB-A port only outputs power, the newer USB-C port does both input and output. Most importantly, you het Power Delivery support in a tiny package that will literally let you fast-charge everything without worrying about overcharging and damaging your devices.
If you need decent mobile power with fast-charge support, Powerstation PD is it, a must-have accessory for pros and a really good option for a lot of average Joes. In my personal opinion, it’s one of the best USB-C battery packs that support the Power Delivery protocol.
My only complaint deals with the lack of an integrated Lightning cable. Then again, if you’re someone who always has a USB-C to USB-C cable in your travel bag, that won’t be an issue at all. In fact, all PD-compliant Powerstations ship with a USB-C to USB-C cable.
Pros and cons
Here’s what we liked and disliked about this battery pack.
- Power Delivery brings secure fast-charge support
- The device is very compact and lightweight
- Just the right amount of power for such a portable package
- Premium price tag
- Integrated Lightning cable would be appreciated
- Dual-charging brings USB-A from 12W down to 5W
Pricing and availability
These batteries come in two flavors: the $60 Powerstation PD and the $80 Powerstation PD XL. The regular version has a 6,700 mAh cell and its XL counterpart is packed with a 10,050 mAh battery. Both will charge your iPhone 8 or newer up to 2.5 times faster compared to a standard 5W charger, or up to 50 percent in just 30 minutes.
You can get your Powerstation from mophie.com with a 2-year warranty.
Your two cents
Have you used these chargers from Mophie yet?
If so, we’d like to hear about your experience so don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and observations with fellow readers in the comments down below.
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