Hands-On With Anker's MagSafe-Compatible Battery Pack
Anker, a company known for its range of accessories designed for Apple products, recently came out with one of the first MagSafe-compatible battery packs, so we thought we'd check it out to see how it compares to a standard battery pack.
Design wise, Anker's power bank looks like a typical battery pack, but it has magnets built in that are designed to adhere right to the back of an iPhone 12 model. It's made from a plastic material with some rubber accenting, and it's fairly small and lightweight given that it needs to attach to an iPhone magnetically.
The PowerCore Magnetic 5K Wireless Power Bank is MagSafe-compatible, not MagSafe, so it is limited to 5W charging rather than 15W charging like a MagSafe charger. At 5W, it's going to charge at slower speeds, but since it is able to adhere to the back of an iPhone magnetically, it's more convenient than a standalone power bank because it stays in place.
Magnetic strength is decent, but it stays adhered best when used with a MagSafe-compatible iPhone case. Without a case, the magnet is decent, but the hold is better with a magnetic case.
With a 5,000mAh capacity, the PowerCore Magnetic Power Bank can charge an iPhone 12 mini to full, but for other iPhones, you're only going to get a partial charge. Anker says it can charge the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro to 95 percent and the iPhone 12 Pro Max to 75 percent, so it doesn't have as much capacity as other power banks on the market, but it's still a useful charge amount when you're in a pinch because of its portability and ease of use.
The PowerCore Power Bank can be charged over USB-C, and you can check the charge level with the indicator lights that are next to the USB-C port on the device. You can use Anker's power bank with other Qi-enabled accessories, but the magnetic attachment feature is limited to the iPhone 12 models.
The PowerCore Magnetic 5K Power Bank can be purchased from Amazon for $40, but Anker is having supply issues at the current time and it is out of stock.
Top Rated Comments
For this, I think the PowerCore 10000 PD Redux is the best bang-per-buck right now. It's small but packs 10,000mah and 18W PD. It can take an iPhone from dead to >50% in about 30 minutes.
But at 5W, it would take many hours to get a reasonable charge - to say nothing of the inherent power loss of wireless. What's the point?
But it's not THAT small. Anker makes chargers equally small and just about as light that both pack more power and charge faster. And anyway, I think the best way to use your phone as normal is to charge it as fast as possible and then put the charger away. In other words, charging for 15-30 minutes and then using the phone as normal is better than using the phone as normal with this brick attached for 3 hours.
The key here is power loss due to wireless. Even though this things packs 5,000mah, Qi has a power loss of almost 50% ('https://debugger.medium.com/wireless-charging-is-a-disaster-waiting-to-happen-48afdde70ed9'). So only approximately 2,500-3,000mah are actually reaching your phone, and the rest is wasted to heat. You might as well get a 3,000mah power bank the size of a chapstick and use a cable - it will be lighter, smaller, and equally effective. Or, alternatively, get a 5,000mah power bank of equal size and weight, and be able to actually deliver most of that 5,000mah to your phone.
I emailed Anker as wondered if you could attach it magnetically for convenience, but use it wired to charge faster and got this reply...
You can physically attach the battery using the magnet but charge with the cable attached. In this situation, only the cable charging (via USC-C to lightning cable )works, the wireless charging will stop (the wireless charging and cable charging do not work at the same time for the same phone )
This will make even more sense when iPhone ditches the plug too. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple made a thinner version that doesn’t suck when you put it in your pocket while it’s charging