The BioLite Charge 40 PD Power Bank pairs perfectly with the recently reviewed BioLite Headlamp 425 (which scored five out of five as one of the best headlamps for astronomy and low-light scenes, so astronomers and While compiling a guide of the best power banks for the sky viewers, BioLite can be expected to do well in this area as well.
Key Specifications 20/40/80 PD
Capacity: 6,000 /10,000 / 20,000mAh
Output Port: 2 x USB-A, 1 x 18W PD Port
Charging Time: 2/2.5/5 hours
IP Rating: None
Dimensions: 5.0 x 3.0 x 0.6 / 5.9 x 3.2 x 0.7 / 6.7 x 3.2 x 1.0- Inch
BioLite Charge PD power banks are the ultimate in portable power. With a sleek and stylish design, they deliver up to 20,000mAh of power to keep your devices charged and ready to go. The Charge PD features Power Delivery technology (hence the PD in the name) with two USB-A ports and one USB-C port, so you can quickly charge everything you need for a night of sky-watching. There’s also a built-in LCD display to show you how much charge is left, so you always know when it’s time to recharge (though we should note there’s no percentage indicator).
With its lightweight and slim design, the Charge PD looks to be an excellent choice to have on the go in your kit bag. Here we have put together a hands-on review to see whether it will suit your needs or whether one of the other best power banks might be more suitable.
biolite charge pd review
BioLite Charge PD Power Bank: Design
If you’re already familiar with the Biolite brand, you’ll notice that the look and feel of the Charge PD power banks fit perfectly with their aesthetic. BioLite has never been shy about experimenting with color, and the gray rubber body with hard yellow casing around the ports is no different.
The gray rubber is slightly textured, which makes it easy to grip and you can keep it on the dash in your car without slipping. The BioLite logo is subtly etched onto the body at the front, and the back neatly displays the quality assurance mark and device specifications.
There is an LED battery indicator on the top yellow section of the device. The indicator light stays lit when it is being charged or used as a power bank. If the power bank is not in use, the LEDs need to be powered on using the small button next to them. There is no percentage indicator, but the four LEDs represent 25% each, where one LED means it has 25% charge left, and four LEDs represent 100% charge.
The corners of the device are nicely rounded and all in all it feels like a solid device with excellent build quality.
BioLite Charge PD Power Bank: Performance
- 18W PD Charging
- fast charging
- Good size to capacity ratio
Power Delivery (where power banks carry their ‘PD’ initials) is a specification for handling high power. It can charge devices up to 18W and up to three times faster than standard 5W chargers. This allows larger or more powerful devices to be charged quickly using the USB connection.
We tested it with our 15.6-inch Samsung Book. With the BioLite Charge 40 PD fully charged, we plugged it into the laptop flat at 12:15 PM and used it as normal. In two hours, after very heavy use (trip planning, photo editing and writing this review with hundreds of tabs open), the laptop was charged to 35% before the power bank was completely drained.
When considering which portable battery pack to buy, the size of the battery, so the capacity of the battery to keep your devices charged, is of paramount importance.
The Charge 80 PD has a 20,000 mAh lithium-ion power cell (enough for about five smartphone charges), and our sample Charge 40 PD delivers 10,000 mAh. Given that you’re allowed up to 26,800 mAh of capacity in your hand luggage on a flight, it would have been nice to add just a little extra to the Charge 80 PD. The Charge 40 seems to have the ideal size and weight-to-capacity ratio.
During our tests, the power bank worked properly as per the specifications. It charges things quickly (surprisingly, we thought), and the LED battery indicator seems accurate. The LEDs start blinking when the power is about to run out. The power bank also offers great device protection thanks to its built-in surge protector and short circuit protection. We could get just two full charges of our Samsung smartphone from the Charge 40.
One thing we will say about LEDs is that they glow yellow-orange, and unless you’re using them in the dark, it’s hard to see if they’re lit. That said, they are perfectly visible in the dark, so you can keep an eye on your power when you’re outside looking at the sky.
BioLite Charge PD Power Bank: Functionality
- not waterproof
- athletic body
- We would have preferred 2 x USB-C ports
Having recently reviewed the Celestron Elements FireCel Mega 6, we found the power bank missing the ability to clip it onto something or hang it in a cupboard while in use. While many power banks don’t have this, we can’t help but feel that there is enough room to add a hole in one corner so that we can fit the hanging loop.
While it’s a durable and solid device that can withstand knocks and bumps (we put it through quite a few), there’s no waterproofing or water resistance of any kind. If you want to take your power bank out in rainy weather, you might want to look elsewhere. Perhaps the aforementioned Celestron Elements FireCel Mega 6. That said, it can operate in very cold (-4ºF/-20ºC) and hot climates (up to 104ºF/40ºC).
When a device is plugged in, power transfer starts immediately and there are no buttons to press, which is great if you’re wearing gloves, or your fingers are cold.
While we love the USB-C 18W PD port, another would be nice! With the ever-growing library of USB-C charged devices, we’d probably choose 2 USB-C ports over 2 USB-A ports if we had the choice.
Should you buy the BioLite Charge PD power bank?
If you’re a conscientious buyer, BioLite is one brand you can buy from, knowing you’re getting something great. Their revenue is reinvested in building a commercially sustainable business that can bring safe, affordable energy to families living in energy poverty across India and Africa. According to their 2021 Impact Report, they have so far reached 3.6 million individuals with clean energy, and their mission is to reach 20 million by 2025.
BioLite has also committed to carbon neutrality for the future of the company.
The product itself is a simple, reliable power bank with enough ‘juice’ to give you peace of mind knowing you have at least some charge for your devices when you’re away from home.
If the BioLite Charge PD power bank isn’t for you
We’ve rounded up some of the best power banks for astronomers and astrophotographers in our handy buying guide.
There are some smaller capacity, but more functional devices like the Celestron Elements FireCel Mega 6, and we also have huge power stations like the Zendure Super Base Pro 2000 (opens in new tab) Which can keep you charged off-grid for days.
We’ll keep our eye on the market and continue to add power banks that we feel are good value for money, as well as posting real deals as they arise.