Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD Review

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD
Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD - Large capacity power bank with 15V support for larger handheld devices

Summary

The Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD offers the large capacity of a laptop power bank. But by limiting its output Anker is able to pass on cost savings. Ideal for anyone needing to charge handheld devices for long periods of time.

Overall
4.8
  • Performance
    (4.5)
  • Design
    (5)
  • Safety
    (4.5)
  • Recharge Time
    (5)
Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)

Pros

  • Fast charges iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, LG, and Motorola phones
  • Charges Switch while you play
  • Can be recharged by Nintendo Switch AC Adapter
  • Fits in most Switch carrying cases, but takes up most of the accessory pocket
  • 15V power output better supports some devices
  • Trickle charge mode
  • Includes a USB-C to USB-C cable
  • Within FAA limits for lithium batteries and flights

Cons

  • Can charge two devices at once, but loses fast charging support

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I purchased the product in this review.

Model: A1281
Tech Specs:
Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD specs

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD specs

  • Ports: USB-C, USB-A
  • USB-C Output:
    • 18W USB-C Power Delivery 3.0 (5V/3A, 9V/2A, 15V/1.25A)
  • USB-A Output:
    • 18W PowerIQ 2.0 (Anker’s tech, but compatible with the standards below)
    • Quick Charge 3.0
    • Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging
    • Huawei FCP
    • Apple 2.4A
  • Input: 18W USB-C PD (5V/3A, 9V/2A, 15V/1.2A)
  • Capacity: 20,000mAh | 72Wh
  • Size: 6.2 x 2.9 x 0.8 inches | 158 x 74 x 19 mm
  • Weight: 12.1 oz | 344 grams

Learn more about Fast Charging.

Included In Box:
Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD box and contents

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD box and contents

  • Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD
  • USB-C to USB-C 2.0 cable, 3 feet
  • Travel pouch
Good For:
  • Commute
  • Travel
  • iPhone
  • Android
  • Nintendo Switch (handheld)
  • iPad Pro (pre-2018)
Estimated Number of Charges:
  • iPhone 6/7/8/SE: 7 charges
  • iPhone Plus/X/XR: 4 charges
  • iPhone 11, Samsung Galaxy S8/S9: 4 charges
  • Samsung Galaxy S10: 4 charges
  • Nintendo Switch (2017): 9 hours of play
  • Nintendo Switch (2019): 12 hours of play
  • Nintendo Switch Lite: 9.5 hours of play

First Impression

The Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD fills a niche of higher capacity for smaller devices. While a 30W/20,000mAh could do the same job limiting the output to 18W saves on production cost. Allowing Anker to offer this model for $20 less MSRP than its previous USB PD supporting 20,000mAh model.

The Essential has a large, round button on top. Used for checking capacity and activating trickle charge mode. Unlike some older models there are only 4 LEDs on the button, not 8-10. Don’t expect the circle to completely fill when recharging, the LEDs cover less than half of the curve. The top also has a grip friendly surface. But the bottom doesn’t, lessening the gripping surface’s effectiveness.

 

Compared To Similar Power Banks

ChargerAnker PowerCore Essential 20000 PDAUKEY PB-Y23 Sprint Go Lightning 20000RAVPower PD Pioneer 20000 18W

Review
PortsUSB-C, USB-AUSB-C, USB-AUSB-C, USB-A x2
Output18W USB-C PD

PowerIQ 2.0 (Quick Charge compatible)
18W USB-C PD

Quick Charge 3.0
18W USB-C PD

Quick Charge 3.0
Capacity20,000mAh20,000mAh20,000mAh
FeaturesLCD shows capacity with 0-100%
CableUSB-C to USB-C cableUSB-C to USB-A cableNo cable
Dimensions6.2 x 2.9 x 0.8 in
12.1 oz
7 x 2.7 x 1 in
14.6 oz
6.2 x 2.9 x 0.6 in
15.7 oz
Price$49.99$39.99$39.99

Prices are from Amazon Product Advertising API, last updated on 2020-10-25.

 

You can see more USB-C power banks here.

Device Testing

Check with your device’s manufacturer to verify which charging standards it supports.

USB Power Delivery & Quick Charge 4+ Phones

  • Apple iPhone 8/X/XR/XS/11/SE
  • Essential Phone
  • Google Pixel
  • LG ThinQ/V30
  • Razer
  • Samsung Galaxy S8/S9/S10/S20
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8/9/10
  • Xiaomi Mi 8/9
  • ZTE Axon Pro 9/10

 

Using an iPhone 8 for testing we find USB PD phones will fast charge over the USB-C port. iPhones will need to use a USB-C to Lightning cable, not included. And Android phones will need a USB-C to USB-C cable, which is included.

For older and newer iPhones the USB-A port supports Apple 2.4A. An older, but still functional fast charging standard. Older iPhones (4-7) can fast charge using USB-A. Newer iPhones will charge ~15 minutes faster using USB-C.

Quick Charge 3.0 Phones

  • HTC
  • LG
  • Motorola
  • Nokia
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • Sony
  • Xiaomi Mi 5/6
  • ZTE

 

Using a Moto G6 for testing we see Quick Charge will fast charge over the USB-A port. Anker uses their own PowerIQ 2.0 technology, which mimics Quick Charge. As such it is considered QC compatible, and works with Samsung AFC technology.

The USB-C port is strictly USB PD, so no fast charging there for Quick Charge phones.

Nintendo Switch

 

Works well for all model Nintendo Switch in handheld/tabletop mode.

  • Nintendo Switch (original) – Charges near its max rate while playing and sleeping.
  • Nintendo Switch (2019 update) – Charges near its max rate while playing and sleeping.
  • Nintendo Switch Lite – Charges near its max rate while playing and sleeping.

It will not support the Switch’s dock, as it doesn’t offer the required output.

If you have an original model Switch (pre-August 2019) Anker’s product outperforms the rest. Their support of a 15V power profile instead of 12V allows for faster charging of the original Switch. Due to an under draw issue of that model Switch.

Learn more about charging the Switch.

Trickle Charge Mode

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD in trickle charge mode

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD in trickle charge mode

Trickle charge mode is for low power devices. Such as a Fitbit or wireless earbuds. These small accessories draw little current (<60mA). So much so a power bank thinks charging is complete, and shutdowns to save power. This means a low power draw device could get only minutes of charging.

Trickle charge mode corrects for this, by forcing the power bank to stay on for a couple of hours. Allowing small accessories time to charge.

For Anker’s power bank you double press the button to activate the mode. A green LED will turn on in place of one of the blue LEDs. After two hours the power bank will switch back to regular mode. Shutting down completely shortly afterwards. Or you can double press the button again to exit from trickle charge mode. There’s no harm in allowing the power bank to stay in trickle charge mode for the full duration.

No Fast Charging With Two Devices

If you connect two devices to the power bank it will disable all fast charging tech.

Both ports only support 5V. Which removes fast charging options outside of Apple 2.4A standard. There is a 15W total output limit shared between the two USB ports.

When you connect a second device you’ll notice the charging resets on the first. This is the power bank stepping down to a lower output level. If you disconnect the second device you’ll want to unplug and replug the first. To make sure fast charging turns back on.

This limitation is typical of many power banks. A few can allow for one fast charging and one regular charging. Fewer still allow for dual fast charging, and those are always large and heavy. There is a limit to how much current can cross its circuits without extra hardware. Which adds size, weight, and cost.

Whether you should fast charge one device or regular charge two depends on battery levels and your immediate needs. The closer both devices are to 100%, the less impactful not fast charging becomes.

Summary

The Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD is a good value option for some, depending on your devices and needs. It works bests with smaller devices, from Bluetooth earbuds up to Nintendo Switch and small tablets. Its higher capacity offers up to twice the run time as a 10,000mAh model. Good if you’re charging several devices on a day trip. Or charging one device over several days.

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD ports

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD ports

For phones it fast charges all iPhones and most Androids. Notably Samsung, Google, LG, and Motorola models.

For the Nintendo Switch it charges in handheld mode as fast as any other option. The original Switch charges faster with the Essential than its peers from AUKEY or RAVPower. But the power bank cannot power a docked Switch.

By limiting the output to 18W Anker saves on production costs, and passes that on to you. The Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD has the same capacity, but 30W output (and no PowerIQ 2.0). It costs $20 more MSRP as of this posting. If you need to charge a small laptop that extra $20 gets you that performance. But if you only have handheld devices the Essential gives you the same performance at a lower cost.

If you don’t need the extra capacity you’ll find better value with an 18W/10,000mAh power bank. Such as the Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux. It offers the same output features. But in a small and cheaper package.

About Anker

Anker has U.S. based support (web, email, phone) and a 18 month warranty. And their own online community with forums. They are a beloved brand within many USB-C communities.

Bottom Line

The Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD is perfect for charging small, handheld devices for long periods of time. It’ll fast charge iPhones, most Androids, iPad, and Nintendo Switch. At a cost less than a similar power bank made for small laptops.

Buy if you:
  • Need to fast charge iPhone, popular Androids, iPad Pro, or Nintendo Switch for long trips or over a weekend
  • Want to charge an original model Switch as fast as possible
  • Prefer the Anker brand and customer support
Don’t buy if you:
  • Need to also charge a laptop on the go
  • Only need to support a single device for a few hours

You’ll want a USB-C wall charger to quickly recharge this USB-C power bank. I recommend the Anker PowerPort III Nano. A small charger for your large power bank.

Be sure to check the Deals page to see if this or a similar charger is on sale.


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