ZMI has launched their first Kickstarter for the ZMI PowerPack Ambi. The smallest, dual USB-C port power bank to hit the market. And unlike most Kickstarter projects product shipment is next month!
The ZMI PowerPack Ambi
The ZMI PowerPack Ambi (model number QB812) is the new power bank. At first glance it is like other 18W/10,000mAh power banks. But where others include an older USB-A port this model is pure USB-C. Making it ideal for those with several USB-C devices. And some neat pass through charging tricks. Early bird supports can get the power bank and a 50 cm USB-C cable for $25 + shipping.
- Capacity: 10,000mAh | 37Wh
- Ports: USB-C x2
- Output (Single Port): 18W USB-C PD (5V/3A, 9V/2A)
- Output (Dual Port): 20W (5V/4A split)
- Input: 18W USB-C PD (5V/3A, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A, 15V/1.2A)
- 5.81 x 2.81 x 0.58 inches | 148 x 71 x 15 mm
- 9.84 oz | 279 grams
Size and Weight
The ZMI PowerPack Ambi isn’t going to win smallest power bank in general. The Kickstarter specs list it as being 5.81 x 2.81 x 0.58 inches (148 x 71 x 15 mm). That’s larger than ZMI’s other 10,000mAh USB-C power bank. As well as the AUKEY PB-Y13 10000 USB-C PD. And about the same size as the Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 PD. But all those only offer one USB-C port, plus legacy ports. Whereas this new portable charger offers two USB-C ports.
At 9.84 oz it is also heavier than most of its peers. But the enclosure is metal, where most other models use plastic. That should help with any heat issues. Metal power banks run cool to the touch in my experience.
Performance wise the ZMI PowerPack Ambi runs as well as any other 10,000mAH USB-C power bank with a single connection. It can output up to 18W USB-C PD (5V/3A, 9V/2A). That’ll fast charge an iPhone 8/X/XR/XS or Google Pixel. It’ll charge a Nintendo Switch in handheld mode near its max rate. And will keep up with an iPad Pro.
With both USB-C ports in use total output goes up, but per port output goes down. Both ports only offer 5V. And it can output up to 20W total across both ports. That’s still enough to charge a pair of phones. Or charge your phone and Nintendo Switch while you play.
Its input specs are quite flexible. Either USB-C port can support input. Input is also up to 18W USB-C PD. But it has a larger range of power profiles (5V/3A, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A, 15V/1.2A). Unlike most of its peers the Nintendo Switch’s AC adapter would likely recharge this power bank. Total recharge time is 4 hours.
The ZMI PowerPack Ambi’s capacity is standard for its size, offering 10,000mAh (37Wh). They also list its “nominal capacity,” which is what I call actual capacity. It is how much power you can expect to get depending on the charge type used.
- USB-C, 5V/3A: 5,500mAh
- USB-C, 9V/2A: 2,600mAh
- Dual USB-C, 5V/4A: 5,000mAh
It can recharge most phones up to 2 times. A bit more if you top off rather than fully recharge. A bit less if you only plug in while the phone is below 50%.
I also expect it’ll keep a Nintendo Switch gaming for 4.5+ hours, depending on the same and settings.
In general 10,000mAh is the most common capacity in smaller USB-C power banks. It is ideal for keeping two phones or one Switch up and running away from home.
Pass Through Charging and UPS
ZMI notes the QB812 supports pass through charging, to charge both the power bank and a device. Pass through charging allows a power bank to both charge itself and a connected device. The power received from the wall charger splits. Some to the power bank’s own batteries. And some to the connected device. How it handles the split varies. And there are more inefficiencies than normal.
It can also be an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for small USB-C devices in your home. This functions differently than normal pass through charging. With pass through charging you can get a reset of output when input is lost. A charging phone wouldn’t care. But a running Raspberry Pi 4 would and could result in a shutdown/restart. With UPS there is no blip, and so no device loses power until the power bank itself is drained. ZMI shows it connected with a security camera. And mention using it with a Wi-Fi router.
If you have a solar charger with USB-C output it can smooth out the charge to your device. The solar charger recharges the power bank, at a variable. The power bank charges your phone at a regular rate. The phone charges normally, the power bank gets some (but not all) its power back. Unplug the phone and keep charging the power bank when done.
I would expect the dual port specs to come into play. Meaning no fast charging while using pass through charging. And the power bank’s own input would be less.
The Kickstarter has a Who is ZMI section. Here are the highlights:
- ZMI USA was founded by Dr. Brian Yunpeng Pan in late 2016
- Dr. Pan holds Master of Science degrees in Computer Science and Operations Research, and a PhD in Industrial Engineering
- The company is backed financially by Zimi Corporation
- Zimi is the exclusive mobile power accessory supplier to Xiaomi and specializes in charging devices and cables for mobile devices
You can check out the Kickstarter here. It runs through August 18, 2019.