By Dave Dean Accessory June 15, 2020 2 Comments
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It’s not difficult to find a good, portable battery that will charge your phone, headphones, or laptop.
There aren’t many available on the market and you might not want to purchase one. They are usually heavy and bulky, can’t charge any other laptops than the smallest, and don’t have enough power or capacity to be useful.
There is always a diamond in the rough. RAVPower, along with a few other companies, has been making solid models in every sense for some time now. Each version is getting smaller and more efficient.
The PD Pioneer 2000080W Portable Laptop Charger is a great choice for people who don’t want to be tethered at the wall. I was disappointed with similar products by other companies, so I was sceptical.
Could this be the final battery that allows you to work in the park all day without having to carry it around? Could this be the solution to remote workers’ endless power problems? Only one way was there to find out.
Notice: RAVPower has multiple versions of the PD Pioneer 2000, which can be confusing. This review is for the 80W Portable Laptop Charger, and not the 60W model that does not have an AC outlet.
Specifications and Features
RAVPower PD pioneer 20000 is a rectangular cube in plain black. However, its rounded edges and soft touch plastic exterior make it less utilitarian than one might think.
The company logo is on the front, along with five blue LEDs to show the battery charge. The sides that are left blank have the specifications printed on the back.
The bottom houses all the ports, and has a circular vent to allow air circulation. A three-prong AC wall socket is available in North American and UK versions, as well as USB-C and USB–A ports and a small power switch.
The battery measures 2.7×2.7×5.8 inches (6.9×6.9×14.7cm) and weighs 1.46lbs (662g). It has a capacity of 20,000mAh, or 74Wh. This battery is well below the 100Wh limit to be taken onboard a plane. The details are clearly printed on the back, so there won’t be any arguments at the airport.
The Pioneer 20000 can produce a sustained 80W power output from the 110v AC port (100W maximum), up to 30W from USB-C PD port and up to 18W USB-A port. It also supports a maximum 30W USB-C input. This is crucial for a battery with such high capacity.
Let’s start with the obvious: this is not your average portable battery in any way, including the size. It is not small and will not fit in your pocket. You’ll know what you have in your bag.
It’s neither small nor lightweight, but it’s still adequate for the job. The size of portable batteries is largely a matter of physics. This goes double for those who produce a lot of power and need to add cooling and circuitry.
The battery comes with a hardshell carry case. It is secured with Velcro so that it doesn’t move. A short USB-C-to-USB-C cable, a pouch with mesh, and, for my UK version, a small UK adapter are also included. The instructions booklet and the accessories are all that is needed.
After adding the battery to my charger, I decided that the best way to test it was to get out of the power socket and go to work. I was able to trust the weather.
One sunny morning, I sat at a table outside in a park and worked until my laptop ran out of juice. Then, I plugged it in, and just kept going for several hours.
The laptop charged over USB-C and got a consistent 24W of power while it was in use. It charges at half the speed of a wall socket and draws about half the power. While the laptop’s charge did increase while I was working, it did so very slowly.
After a while, the fan in the battery started to spin up. However, it was difficult to hear the fan over the background hum outside. The fan was more apparent when I did more indoor testing the next day, but it was still noticeable if you work in a quiet area.
My Windows laptop is a Lenovo Yoga920. However, Macbooks are more selective about where they charge from so I charged my partner’s 2020 Macbook Pro using the USB-C port. It pulled 27W and took 2.5 hours to charge from half to full. This is about half the speed of the factory wall charger.
Referring to the factory chargers, then I turned on the AC outlet for the battery and connected both laptops to their respective wall chargers. Both the Yoga and Macbook Pro drew 53W, just as if they were plugged into the wall. The charging speeds were the same as usual.
Charging other devices
It was quick enough to charge laptops so I wasn’t worried about powering small devices. It was able to charge a few different Android phones using the USB-C port.
It was also easy to charge an iPhone, Bluetooth headphones and even a small battery using the USB-A port. Most recent smartphones can be fully charged in 5 to 7 hours.
Multiple gadgets can be powered simultaneously, which was more than I expected. Although the output power from the USB ports was slightly lower when the AC socket was in use, all of them still worked. Although I wouldn’t recommend charging two laptops simultaneously, I would suggest that you charge one laptop at a time. However, a laptop and a smartphone should work fine.
A small 13W desk fan was also connected to the AC socket. It drained 40% of my battery in less than three hours. You could also use the AC socket to power a small 13W desk fan to cool down and charge your phone at night.
The AC socket on the UK model is 110-120v. To ensure that the AC socket is universal voltage, check the power specifications of any device you plug in to a country with 220-240v.
My two-year-old laptop’s battery capacity has fallen to about 57Wh. I therefore expected the 74Wh PD Pioneer battery to at least double my time without a power socket.
It was easy to test this. It was easy to test this. I switched off the power management of my laptop and connected it to the USB port on the battery. Then, I started a continuous benchmarking program. Although this is more intense than normal work, it is also more consistent.
The battery started spinning its fan slowly for about half an hour. The laptop was draining slowly to 95% and was only putting out 15-20W.
The laptop began to charge again once it reached that point. From then on, the fan was almost constant. The portable charger stopped working about three hours after I began the test. After that, the laptop switched to its battery.
The laptop battery was at 5% and it went into hibernation three hours and two minutes later. Although I expected the battery to last slightly longer, I was surprised by how much juice is used by the fan.
The Battery Charged by Itself
Aside from their size and weight, the problem with high-capacity batteries was their slow charging times. The charging landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years thanks to Power Delivery (PD), which is as applicable for batteries as it is for the devices that they power.
This model’s USB-C port can be charged with a wall charger in just three hours. It is capable of delivering up to 30W input and output.
Although it would be nice if RAVPower included a USB-C charger with the box, it didn’t. So I used the one I had. You could also use the charger that came with your laptop if it charges via USB-C.
After draining the battery completely I connected it to the wall charger and began my stopwatch. The battery drew 27W from the beginning to the end. Two hours and 43 minutes later, the last blue light changed from blinking to solid. Good stuff.
Despite my initial doubts, the RAVPower PD Pioneer 2000 impressed me. It delivered on its lofty promises and performed flawlessly with any type of phone, laptop, or other device that I tried.
Yes, it would be nice if it was lighter and more compact, but this is true for all portable batteries (and most other gadgets) that I have ever used. The size seems like a better trade-off than other types of these devices, given its capabilities.
The fan can be quite loud in quiet rooms. This may be a problem depending on how and where you place the battery.
Who is it for? This is not the right bag for you if you are a digital nomad who travels around the globe with only a backpack and a permanent tan. It’s useful, but it’s likely a little too heavy and bulky to be worth its place in your bag at check-in.
The PD Pioneer 20000 is a great choice for anyone who finds themselves in situations where power sockets are scarce.
A lot of laptops can’t last an 8+ hour work day by themselves. This battery will allow you to finish your tasks when you want them to and not when your laptop decides for you. It was a great feeling to be able to go outside and not have to check the battery level every hour.
Even if your laptop is not on the camping trip, it’s still useful to be able to charge other wall-powered devices. Although you won’t be using your portable fridge to power it, a fan or similar device will work.
A high-capacity battery with a low-recharge time of less than three hours is a blessing, provided you have the right charger. It will take longer if you don’t have the right charger.
This backpack is affordable and well-respected. It’s a great choice for remote workers who don’t want to cram their entire lives into a small bag.