While smartphone technology has improved by leaps and bounds since Apple introduced the iPhone more than 10 years ago, the batteries that power our phones feel, relatively speaking, archaic.
Certainly, the phones that Canadian consumers can buy today feature higher capacity batteries than the smartphones that were available even just a couple of years ago, but most modern smartphones can still only manage about a day of uptime on a full charge, which is where power banks come into the picture.
Following a phone case, an external battery is probably the best accessory most people can buy to go alongside their smartphone. They’re not the most exciting product to review, but finding the right power bank can be a challenge. If you’re looking for a power bank to compliment your smartphone, then consider Mophie’s new Powerstation Plus and Powerstation Plus XL.
- Capacity: 6,000mAh
Output via USB-C: 18W (3A/5V or 2A/9V)
Dimensions: 70 x 143.5 x 13.6 mm
Powerstation Plus XL
- Capacity: 12.000mAh
Output via USB-C: 18W (3A/5V or 2A/9V)
Dimensions 80 x 164 x 16.8 mm
I had my first experience with a Mophie product when I asked the company to send MobileSyrup its Powerstation USB-C XXL for our annual holiday gift guide.
I then fell in love with the Powerstation USB-C XXL when I took it on my recent trip to Japan. The power bank powered my Nintendo Switch through the entirety of the 14-hour flight from Toronto to Tokyo, making a plane ride that was plagued with malfunctioning toilets, bland food and a poor selection of in-flight movies at least somewhat bearable.
Without depleting all of its 19,500mAh battery, the XXL managed to also recharge my Pixel 2 and 2016 MacBook Pro so that I was ready for whatever adventure was awaiting me upon landing in Tokyo. Since all my electronics used USB-C, I only had to bring one cable, the one that came with my MacBook Pro. For once, USB-C had simplified my life, instead of making it more complicated.
After MobileSyrup published its holiday gift guide, Mophie offered to send its Powerstation Plus and Powerstation Plus XL power banks. After my colleague Patrick O’Rourke and I used the two power banks for a couple of weeks, I’m happy to report both are great alternatives to the more expensive Powerstation USB-C XXL.
Priced at $129.99 CAD and $99.99 CAD, the Plus XL and Plus are part of Mophie’s Integrated series of power banks.
Power banks in the company’s Integrated series feature built-in cables. In the case of the Plus and Plus XL, the two power banks have built-in USB-C cables, making them compatible with almost every modern smartphone on the market. The cables remain hidden while not in use thanks to a groove that runs along two sides of each power bank. It’s a design that makes the Plus and Plus XL easy to store and transport, but it also means that the length of the cord is limited — more so on the Plus than on the Plus XL.
Unlike some of the company’s other Integrated series power banks, the Plus and Plus XL don’t ship with a small Lightning adapter to facilitate recharging an iPhone. Instead, Plus and Plus XL users will need to plug their Lightning cable, whether it features a USB-C or USB-A connector at the other end, into the corresponding port on the Plus and Plus XL.
Both power banks include support for Priority+ pass-through charging, which means you can recharge the Plus and Plus XL and whatever other electronic is connected to them at the same time. Another nice touch is an LED indicator that provides, at a glance, a rough estimate of how much reserve power is remaining.
In the case of the Plus’ 6,000mAh battery, on a full charge Mophie says it can provide a large tablet with 8 hours of additional battery uptime, and a smartphone between 21 and 22 hours of extra battery.
Meanwhile, the Plus XL is rated to provide 45 hours of additional uptime to a device like the Samsung Galaxy S8. According to Mophie, both power banks are rated to supply 500 full cycle recharges before they start to see their charge capacity diminish. Each comes with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Compared to the Powerstation USB-C XXL, which features an attractive salt-and-pepper fabric wrap, the Plus and Plus XL feel less premium. No doubt, they’re still well-made, but the XXL feels like it’s built to survive the worst possible punishment. On the other hand, the smaller size and lack of sharp edges of the Plus and Plus XL make them more comfortable to hold.
One issue MobileSyrup senior editor Patrick O’Rourke found when he reviewed Aukey’s massive 30,000mAh power bank was that it wasn’t able to replenish his Nintendo Switch’s battery at the same time he was playing it. By comparison, all three of the Mophie Powerstation units mentioned in this story are capable of charging the Switch while the user is playing it.
Mophie doesn’t advertise this fact, but both the Powerstation Plus and Plus XL can charge a laptop. That said, with their smaller capacity batteries compared to the USB-C XXL, they’re better suited to supporting smaller devices.
If you’re undecided on which of the two Powerstations suits your needs, the smaller Plus is better for day-to-day use, while the Plus XL is perfect for flights and trips. If you need to charge a laptop, in addition to your smartphone, then consider the USB-C XXL.
To address the elephant in the room. At $100 and $130, respectively, the two Mophie Powerstations are more expensive than their nearest Aukey counterparts. That said, Aukey doesn’t currently offer a power bank with an integrated cable, at least not on the USB-C side. I’ve also found Aukey’s products are not quite as well built as Mophie’s offerings. That said, if price is your only concern, then you can’t really go wrong with an Aukey power bank.
The Powerstation Plus and Powerstation Plus XL are available via mophie.com.