REVIEW: BioLite Charge 80 PD Battery Pack
There once was a time when finding a good USB battery pack to keep your gadgets charged while on the go was a real challenge. Most had inadequate batteries, not enough ports, or were simply too big and bulky. Today, the landscape has change dramatically, with literally dozens of unique and interesting options to choose from. So when BioLite entered the market with its Charge line of battery packs, we wondered if they could bring anything new to the table that would allow them to stand out in an increasingly-crowded field.
After testing the Charge 80 PD for a couple of weeks, it’s clear what the company delivers in this product. It doesn’t deliver the biggest batteries, the most ports, or the sleekest design. But, it does deliver a product that performs well in each of those categories, while also bringing the BioLite signature simplicity to the mix. The result is a great portable charging solution that you’ll be happy to carry with you on all of your adventures.
Charging (5) ★★★★
One of the most important things to consider when selecting a portable USB battery pack to fit your needs is the size of the battery that it provides. In the case of the Charge 80 PD, that’s a 20,000 mAh lithium-ion power cell, which is enough to recharge most modern smartphones up to five times. While I’m somewhat disappointed that the device doesn’t have a 26,800 mAh—the largest allowed on an airplane—the choice of this size battery was likely a tradeoff that gave BioLite the option to cut down on size and weight, while also keeping costs low. As it stands, the Charge 80 is more than adequate to fell most frequent traveler’s needs, with power left over to spare.
Ports (5) ★★★★★
The other important thing to consider when purchasing a USB battery pack is how many charging ports it offers. In this case, the Charge 80 PD comes with three ports in total—two standard USB-A and a single USB-C PD (18w). This allows the battery pack to charge as many as three other devices at once, or power up two gadgets via USB-A while also recharging itself through the USB-C PD port. That’s a nice level of versatility that you don’t always find in a battery pack of this size. And since the USB-C port is designated as “PD”—which stands for power delivery—it is possible for it to charge large devices, such as a laptop. It even works with the new MacBook Pro models, providing an extra charge even for those powerful notebooks.
Design (4) ★★★★
The Charge 80 PD sports a look that definitely identifies it as BioLite product. Its colors are distinct and unique, making it easy to identify. The unit feels solid in hand, with rounded edges that are easy to grip. The ports are accessible on one end of the device, with cables sliding in with a satisfying click. Tapping a button on one of the sides illuminates a battery indicator light that shares the current charge level of the lithium-ion power cell. Those same lights blink when the battery pack is recharging as well. Our main knock on the design is that it only has a single USB-C port. As we transition away from USB-A, it would have been nice to have an additional USB-C charging option. Perhaps that will come in a future revision of the Charge 80 PD, but for now we’ll just have to settle for using conversion cables instead.
Durability (4) ★★★★★
BioLite has been making outdoor gear for years now and it knows that market well. The company’s products are always rugged and durable, and the Charge 80 PD is no different. The case is rugged and feels drop-proof. It certainly should have no problem surviving the wear and tear of regular travel. The battery pack even has a wide range of acceptable temperatures (-4ºF to 104ºF/-20ºC to 40ºC), which makes it useful in outdoor settings, even during the winter. It should be noted that the unit is not waterproof or water-resistant in any way. If you need that level of protection, you may want to look elsewhere.
Overall (5) ★★★★★
The BioLite Charge 80 PD is an excellent option for anyone looking for a powerful USB battery pack to take with them on the road. It holds plenty of power, has enough ports to charge multiple devices at once, and it is ruggedly built. Aside from a few minor nitpicks (No pure USB-C cable in the box?) there is a lot to like from this device. And with a price tag of just $69.95, it is competitively priced as well. If you’re in the market for a USB battery pack or have someone on your holiday shopping list who can use one, this model should be on your shortlist of ones to buy.
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