The BioLite Charge PD 80 portable power bank doesn’t do much. Bereft of bells and whistles save for a USB-C 18W PD port, it lacks an LCD screen to tell you how much charge is left and there’s no Qi wireless charging pad embedded on its top. So why do we love it so much and why has it earned a place in our best power bank guide? Simple to use, totally reliable and encased in a durable and curved shell, it’s the perfect battery to travel with.
Here’s everything you need to know about why the BioLite Charge PD 80 is one of the best portable power banks around.
BioLite Charge PD 80 portable power bank review: design
A lithium-ion power bank capable of holding a charge of 20,000 mAh (about six times the energy stored in an iPhone 13 Pro), the Charge PD 80 is the largest of three power banks in BioLite’s Charge PD Powerbank Series (the others comprise the Charge PD 20 (6,000 mAh) and the Charge PD 40 (10,000 mAh).
Measuring 170 x 82 x 25 mm and weighing 465g, the Charge PD 80 is a pretty substantial power bank. It’s encased in a soft, but durable plastic chassis that’s yellow at the business end.
Although it is rather heavy, it’s a reasonably sleek design that’s clearly made for travel and outdoor use, and designed for longevity.
BioLite Charge PD 80 portable power bank review: features
The yellow end is where you’ll find a simple four-bar indicator that flashes when you press a button to show how full it is, or otherwise; 25%. 50%. 75% or 100%. Crude, but it works well enough at this capacity.
On the end are three ports; a USB-C for delivering an 18W PD charge to a laptop (or for refuelling the Charge PD 80, which takes five hours) and two USB-3A outputs for sending charge to tablets and smartphones. All of that can be done simultaneously.
BioLite Charge PD 80 portable power bank review: performance
Have you arrived in a hotel room only to find a complete lack of charging points near the bed? Cue the Charge PD 80, which in our tests was able to recharge a smartphone and some earphones every night during a four-night trip without us ever having to go near the mains.
It also worked really well during a trip that involved a long-haul flight and a long airport transfer, topping-up an Apple Macbook Pro from near-empty to half full as well as refuelling a smartphone. We even used it to keep a smart telescope going during a cold night stargazing in the back garden at home.
What the Charge PD 80 does not lack is capacity. Its 20,000 mAh chops are able to fully recharge a 13-inch Macbook Pro, an iPad twice over and a smartphone about five times over.
There is, however, one annoyance to travelling with a power bank like the Charge PD 80 and that’s the need to travel with at least two cables; one USB-C to USB-C for using with a laptop and ideally a three-pronged USB-A to USB-C/Apple Lightning/micro USB to cover all other bases. If only it shipped with a suitably talented universal cable.
BioLite Charge PD 80 portable power bank review: verdict
Is the Charge PD 80 the ideal gadget to take on off-grid? Absolutely. It’s durable, easy to use and versatile enough to refuel smartphones, cameras, tablets and a laptop on long journeys and flights. Its tough design also makes it ideal for the great outdoors for topping-up head torches, earphones and much more besides.
Sure, there’s no built-in Qi wireless charging pad – so you’ll have to cart around a bunch of cables – and nor is there a small LCD screen to tell you exactly how much charge remains within, but if you’re after a basic, well-designed and totally reliable power bank there are few better options than the Charge PD 80.