The Type-C port has been around for a while now, and most, if not all, Android flagship smartphones these days sport the modern USB port. In the last few months, we’ve seen it trickle down the price points, and it’s no longer uncommon to see phones under Rs. 15,000 ship with a Type-C port. However, most affordable phones ship with chargers that still have the Type-A (or as you probably know it, the “regular”/ “big” USB port). That means you use a Type-A to Type-C cable for charging, so you won’t need any extra cables if you are in the market for a power bank.

On the other hand, if you have a phone that ships with a Type-C charger — like most flagships do — and a cable that’s Type-C at both ends, or if you are someone who is trying to go all-in with the Type-C lifestyle — maybe using an iPad Pro or a MacBook Air — your choices in terms of accessories — and especially power banks — can be pretty limited.

Most power banks out there have regular Type-A USB ports for output and a Micro-USB port to charge the power bank itself, which means you will need to carry around two extra cables just to make the power bank work for you. Then there are others — such as the Mi Power Bank Pro — that feature a Type-C port, but it is only to charge the power bank itself, and it cannot be used for output.

Finding a power bank with Type-C output in India was a surprisingly difficult task, but we managed to find a few models. We then proceeded to use these in the real world over a few weeks as well as run them through a standard set of tests in our labs.

How we tested USB Type-C power banks

We wanted to test the power banks on two factors — if they live up to their rated capacities, and the speed at which they charge. The first test involved charging a series of fully drained smartphones (all with batteries that were at full health, meaning at or near their own rated capacities), and then seeing whether or not each power bank was able to charge as many smartphones as the rated capacity would indicate. The phones that we used all have relatively large batteries — the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 (3400mAh), iPhone XS Max (3174mAh), Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (3300mAh), and Google Pixel 2 XL (3520mAh).

The second set of tests was designed to measure the amount of time it took to charge each smartphone. We first observed how much a phone could be topped up in thirty minutes, and then checked the time each power bank took to fully charge each smartphone.

Note that we restricted ourselves to charging the phones and the power banks themselves using their Type-C ports, since that’s the focus here. So power banks that do not support some kind of fast charging with their Type-C ports did not fare as well as they would if we had been using their Type-A ports.

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We also used the same cable to charge phones across different power banks, and put the phones in flight mode to eliminate any variables. Note that all of the power banks we tested support features like the ability to charge multiple devices at once, powering off automatically when you remove the cable, and automatically charging a device when you plug in a cable.

Also note that nearly all power banks advertise their battery capacities at 3.7V, while USB devices typically draw 5V, so the output capacity of the power banks for end-use is actually lower. In other words, a typical 10000mAh power bank will have an output capacity of around 7000mAh, though the exact value varies from one manufacturer to another, and is often buried in the products’ detailed specifications. This means that though your power bank is advertised a “10000mAh power bank”, it will have just about enough juice to charge a 3500mAh smartphone twice over, not accounting for normal electrical losses resulting from the various circuits involved.

With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the the Type-C power banks we tested.

1. Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD

Anker is considered by many as the most-trusted brand when it comes to power banks and chargers, and the company has a small but growing presence in India. Many of its accessories are officially sold via Amazon India, but the power bank that we tested is only available via offline stores at the time of filing this story.

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Battery capacity: 20100mAh/3.7V (72.36Wh)
Rated output: NA

Output
5V/2A, 5V/3A, 9V/2.6A, 15V/1.6A

Input
5V/3A, 9V/3A, 15V/2A, 20V/1.5A

Though the offering from Stuffcool comes pretty close in terms of build quality, it would be safe to call the Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD the most premium power bank in our lineup. The retail packaging includes a Type-C cable and a carry pouch, but there’s no wall charger, something we’ve seen bundled with this power bank in other markets. There’s no Micro-USB cable either, despite what it says on the box.

This power bank was the only one in our list that could fully charge from empty all four of our test smartphones, and still have some — read tiniest — amount of juice left in the locker. In terms of charging speeds, the Anker power bank was the fastest when it came to topping up all three of our Android smartphones.

Surprisingly, though, it was the slowest to top up the iPhone XS Max, under the same conditions as the others. We repeated our tests one more time just to eliminate any one-off problems, and the result was still the same. The power bank also has limited ports — just one Type-C port for input as well as output and a Type-A port for output.

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The Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD supports up to 22.5W Power Delivery, so it was no surprise then that it was able to successfully top up a 2018 MacBook Air. We plugged in the laptop to the power bank with just 23 percent charge remaining, while using it outdoors at full brightness and an iPhone connected to the laptop via the other Type-C port. Not only was the power bank able to sustain the battery level on the laptop — which is what we expect from most power banks — but it was able to take it to 31 percent in around 34 minutes, which was more than what we expected, really.

The large capacity of the Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD makes it the heaviest power bank on this list, but all that extra weight is worth carrying around if you want something that will keep going and is a reliable performer. Despite the large-sized battery, the power bank can be topped up pretty quickly, taking a little over 3 hours when being charged using the Anker PowerPort+ 5 Ports using a Type-C to Type-C cable.

At Rs. 6,999, the power bank is certainly expensive, but if you want to want nothing but the best — and do not use an iPhone — the Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD is the way to go.

What we liked

  • Quick to charge — and be charged
  • Can charge your MacBook Air without any problems
  • Premium design
  • Large capacity
  • Trusted brand

What we didn’t like

  • Slow to charge iPhone models
  • Limited ports
  • Expensive

Price: Rs. 6,999
Warranty: 18 months

2. Stuffcool 720PD 10000mAh Power Bank

The most versatile power bank that we tested, this one comes from Stuffcool, an Indian company that’s made its name selling phone accessories over the years. You get two full-sized Quick Charge 3.0 Type-A USB ports, one Type-C port (with fast charging and 18W USB-PD) that can be used for both input and output, and one Micro-USB port, which can obviously only be used for charging the power bank itself.

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Battery capacity: 10000mAh/3.7V (37Wh)
Rated output: 6800mAh/5V (34Wh)

Output
Type-A (Quick Charge 3.0) x 2: 5V/3A, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A
Type-C (including 18W Power Delivery): 5V/3A, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A

Input
Micro-USB: 5V/2A, 9V/2A
Type-C: 5V/3A, 9V/2A

The Stuffcool 720PD was the fastest power bank it came to charging the iPhone XS Max, as well as getting charged itself. It was able to take a completely drained Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 to 45 percent in just 30 minutes, fully charging the phone in 97 minutes, which was second only to the Anker power bank’s 90 minutes.

Then, it took a drained iPhone XS Max to 40 percent in 30 minutes, with the phone charging fully in a little over 2 hours. The power bank then had just enough power left to juice up a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 to 8 percent. All this was in line with its rated capacity of 6800mAh, which is lower than the others in this list.

That might seem disappointing, but the speed at which it charged all devices could make up for that depending on your priorities, and we certainly don’t mind trading off a little bit of capacity for fast charging on the move.

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In another run, the Stuffcool power bank beat the Anker when it came to charging the Galaxy Note 8, which made it the fastest power bank in our tests on average.

The Stuffcool power bank is unsurprisingly the lightest and most compact in the group, and its build quality and overall feel are really premium. There are four LEDs that light up in white to indicate the current charge level of the power bank and also if it’s charging/ discharging. Another LED lights up in blue when Quick Charging is being used to charge a device or the power bank itself, or if you are in USB Power Delivery mode. The latter happened when we used this power bank to power our 13-inch MacBook Pro — skip to the end to read more about that.

Like the Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD, the Stuffcool power bank also supports fast charging over Type-C for input as well.

What we liked

  • Quick to charge — and be charged
  • Fast charging over Type-A and Type-C
  • Two USB Type-A ports
  • Quick Charge/ Power Delivery indicator
  • Compact
  • Can charge your MacBook (up to 13″ MacBook Pro)

What we didn’t like

  • Relatively low capacity

Price: Rs. 2,999
Warranty: 1 year

Update: The model we tested is out of stock but a newer variant is available via Amazon India at less than Rs. 2,700.

3. Lcare PN-983 S 10000mAh Power Bank

While Stuffcool is an established name in the accessories space, Lcare is a relatively new Indian brand that’s trying to make a mark in this segment. We were really impressed by this compact power bank, which is only a little bit larger than Stuffcool’s offering, though it makes up for that by offering a slightly higher output capacity as well.

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Battery capacity: 10000mAh/3.7V (37Wh)
Rated output: 7000mAh/5V (35Wh)

Output
Type-A (Quick Charge 3.0): 5V/3A, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A
Type-C: 5V/3A

Input
Micro-USB (Quick Charge 2.0): 5V/2A, 9V/2A
Type-C: 5V/3A

Note that the specifications that we have listed here are of the unit that we got, and the model listed on the Lcare website right now seems to have a lower rated output, so be sure to check with the company before you place your order. In our battery capacity test, our unit was able to fully charge the Galaxy Note 8 and the Mi Mix 2, and then even managed to charge the iPhone XS Max to 43 percent, more than living up to our expectations.

However, with no fast charging support on the Type-C port — the full-sized Type-A port is Quick Charge 3.0 compliant — this power bank was consistently slower than Stuffcool’s option when charging our phones, taking a full two hours and ten minutes to fully charge the Mi Mix 2, for example.

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Our favourite feature is the useful display that shows the amount of power left in the power bank, and even indicates the rate at which your phone is being charged. Our only complaint with it is that the display is a bit too faint, and we had to really strain ourselves to see it at times.

With no fast charging over Type-C, it can take forever to charge the power bank over Type-C, and your best bet might be to leave it overnight. You should be able to do it quicker using the Micro-USB port paired with a Quick Charger.

What we liked

  • The display is really useful
  • Great capacity for the size
  • Quick Charge over Type-A
  • Compact
  • Excellent value for money

What we didn’t like

  • No fast charging input/ output over Type-C port

Price: Rs. 1,549
Warranty: 2 years

Update: The model we tested seems to be out of stock, but Lcare also sells a Type-C power bank without the display at less than Rs. 1,200, which seems even better bang for your buck, if you can live with just an LED indicator.

4. iVoomi PBP15K2 15000mAh Power Bank

iVoomi is a Chinese OEM/ ODM that entered India in March 2017 and has launched a host of budget smartphones in the market since then. The company sent us a 15000mAh Type-C power bank for testing, which makes it the second highest capacity offering that we tested. Obviously, that makes it the second bulkiest power bank, but, sadly, it feels the cheapest in terms of build quality.

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What’s more, the front of the power bank has a pattern that lights up in different colours — green, blue, and red — when the power bank is being used, to indicate the current level of charge. While a good idea in theory, we found this implementation to be rather garish, and we would have preferred something a bit more subtle like standard LEDs.

Battery capacity: 15000mAh
Rated output: NA

Output
Type-A x 2: 5V/1A, 5V/2.1A
Type-C: 5V/3A

Input
Micro-USB: 5V/2A
Type-C: 5V/3A

While iVoomi doesn’t state the rated output capacity of the power bank, we were able to fully charge our Mi Mix 2, Galaxy Note 8, and iPhone XS Max, and still had enough juice left over to charge a Pixel 2 XL up to 42 percent. That indicates a capacity of a little over 11000mAh.

In terms of charging Android smartphones over USB Type-C, the iVoomi power bank was a little faster than the Lcare, but still slower than the Stuffcool and Anker power banks. It was also pretty fast in topping up the iPhone XS Max, finishing a little bit behind Stuffcool’s and Toreto’s offerings. However, in the absence of Quick Charging over Type-A, your experience using this power bank will be worse than what you’d get with the Lcare unit while topping up compatible smartphones.

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Thanks to its high capacity and the lack of fast charging for input, you will really have to leave this power bank plugged in overnight when you are topping it up.

What we liked

  • Large capacity
  • Affordable
  • Two USB Type-A ports

What we didn’t like

  • Garish design and poor build quality
  • No fast charging on any of the ports

Price: Rs. 1,399 (MRP), available at Rs. 1,289 on Amazon India
Warranty: 1 year

5. Toreto Trilogy

Toreto is a Delhi-based accessories company whose offerings we’ve tested in the past and been reasonably satisfied with what they offer, especially for the price. The company’s latest offering is arguably the most interesting product is this list, as it’s a power bank with attached cables. If you are forgetful, you’ll be happy to have this one around as it’ll be one — or in this case three — less things for you to worry about.

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That’s right, the Toreto Trilogy packs not one but three attached connectors — one Type-C cable and a combo Micro-USB/ Lightning connector, which means you don’t need to carry cables around with you. Combine these with the full-sized USB port on the power bank (and a cable, of course) and you can simultaneously charge three devices with this power bank.

The power bank also features Micro-USB and Type-C ports, but they are only for charging the power bank itself.

Battery capacity: 12000mAh
Rated output: NA

Output
Type-A: 5V/2.4A
Type-C (attached cable only): 5V/2.4A, 5V/3A
Micro-USB (attached cable only): 5V/2A
Lightning (attached cable): 5V/2A

Input
Micro-USB: 5V/2A
Type-C: 5V/2A, 5V/2.4A

Once again, Toreto doesn’t state the rated output capacity of the power bank, but we were able to fully charge our Mi Mix 2, Galaxy Note 8, and have just enough juice to charge the Pixel 2 XL up to 9 percent. That indicates a capacity of around 7000mAh, which is around 20 percent less than what we expected based on its advertised capacity.

At least there’s good news to report in terms of the charging sppeds. The Toreto Trilogy was the second fastest to charge the iPhone XS Max, only marginally slower than the Stuffcool power bank. However, when it came to charging the Type-C Android smartphones, it was comfortably in the second rung of phones alongside the iVoomi powerbank, behind the leaders Stuffcool and Anker, which we found to be acceptable for the price.

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The power bank comes with a one-year warranty, but there’s no warranty on the attached cables, which is understandable, but doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

What we liked

  • Fast charging
  • Affordable
  • The convenience of attached cables

What we didn’t like

  • Underwhelming capacity
  • No warranty on attached cables
  • Type-C port is only for input

Price: Rs. 1,999 (MOP)
Warranty: 1 year


Can I use these power banks to charge my MacBook Air or MacBook Pro?

Apple’s new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models use the Type-C port for charging, so it’s logical to ask if you can use Type-C power banks for charging your laptop. If you have the 15-inch MacBook Pro, you can forget about trying to use it with any of these power banks, as it draws too much power. If you have the smaller MacBook Pro, the 12-inch MacBook, or the MacBook Air you might have better luck.

The Stuffcool and Anker power banks are the only ones that officially supports USB Power Delivery, which makes it your best bet (out of the three) if you want to use your power bank to top up your laptop. We plugged a 13-inch MacBook Pro in to the Stuffcool power bank, and even while running some resource-intensive browser-based benchmarks, it slowly but surely topped up the laptop (4 percent in 15 minutes). Then, we stopped the benchmarks and left the machine idle with just the display on, and the charging was, as expected, much faster (7 percent in 15 minutes).

Note that the 13-inch MacBook Pro ships with a 61W charger, and the Stuffcool power bank supports 18W Power Delivery, so the results aren’t surprising. The 12-inch MacBook and new MacBook Air ship with a 30W charger, so your experience using the laptop while plugged into the power bank should be a lot better.

As we noted earlier, the Anker power bank was able to top up our laptop even while its display was at full brightness, which was no surprise given that it supports 22.5W Power Delivery, the highest in this list. You can expect slightly faster charging speeds with the Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD as compared to Stuffcool’s offering.

When plugged in to either of the other two power banks, the MacBook Pro actually lost power — though the laptop did indicate it was plugged in — while running the benchmarks. While idle, the Lcare unit could only top up the laptop by 1 percent in 15 minutes, while the iVoomi managed a healthier 5 percent. The only way you can realistically expect these power banks to charge your MacBook Pro is when the laptop is switched off.

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