Xtar has a new compact battery charger out on the market that doubles as a power bank; This is an update to last years PB2 and addresses many of the criticism the previous model had. I was pretty excited to get this in and to show you on the channel. Thanks to Xtar for sending it to me to take a look at and review.
YouTube Version of this Review:
Packaging is very similar to what we have seen from Xtar recently. A white retail box with a nice photo printed on the front of the PB2 and some stats around the box. Inside you get the PB2s, a manual, and a Xtar branded USB-A to USB-C cable to support the QC3.
The Xtar PB2s is made from a soft touch mat plastic that will show any moisture or oils on your fingers, but it does a pretty good job of hiding scratches. Mine is in black, but it’s also available in blue, yellow, and red (Illumn Exclusive). On what I am going to call the top of the PB2s you have a screen under some plastic that goes through what’s happening at each bay when charging or the output power when using as a powerbank. The screen is a black background, with white characters. It’s a fuzzy due to the texture of the plastic, this is better then a glossy plastic piece that shows scratches though.
The cover is held on with a 15mm bar magnet on each side, there is a small nail knick on one side to give you a little assistance to pull the cover off. It’s a reasonably secure cover, and survives the drop test from waist height onto carpet if your using 21700 batteries inside. However this isn’t the case if your using 18650’s, as they are not held in place as tight and the batteries are more likely to come out, and pop the cover off.
On the front you have a USB-C port used for input and output of power, and then a USB-A port that supports QC3 that’s only output. Inside the PB2S you have 2 battery bays, with a cloth ribbon that you can place underneath the cells to make it easier to get the larger 21700’s out. This is a nice touch. Instead of springs for the rear contact there is a spring loaded rod. These provide a lower resistance which allows for better efficiency and a better secure connection. On the outside bottom you have some details about the PB2S too just in case you forget.
As A Charger
As a charger I found the PB2S to be pretty good with few complaints. Input power can be either USB-C PD or Via USB-A using QC3. Input values accepted were:
5V @ 2A = 10W
9V @ 2A = 18W
12V @ 1.5A = 18W
There isn’t an ability to change charging speed here which isn’t a problem for the most part. When charging 1x 18650 I saw charge rates be a bit aggressive starting at about 2.4A but dropping quickly to a more safe 2A over the first 10 minutes. This was only a concern with 18650’s since that’s a pretty safe amperage for most 21700’s. When charging 2 batteries at 1 time I saw charge rates at a more common 1-1.2A. Both charging bays stopped charging each battery at exactly 4.2V.
Charging time via the 2 different power sources were very close in my testing with QC3 edging out USB-C ever so lightly by 5 minutes. Average charge time on 2x 4200mAh 21700 batteries were 3 hours.
As a Powerbank
I did some charging of my Samsung Note 8 recently with this power bank. With the PB2S at 100% and my phone at 50% I started a charge with fast charge enabled. This took just at an hour to reach 100% on my phone and drained the powerbank to 77%. One great note is that it will charge both your phone and the batteries at the same time. To accomplish this I plugged the PB2S in via USB-C and then plugged my phone into the USB-A port. Lastly it’s nice Xtar gave the PB2s the ability to charge in low current mode, by pressing the button on the side. This is great for devices with small batteries like fitness trackers and wireless headphones.
I used 2x Xtar 21700 4200mAh batteries for my efficiency testing and having previously tested these cels their ratings are pretty accurate. My efficiency test drew 2A at 5V for 2:33 minutes resulting in 26.19Wh of useful energy. This means at least in my test as a power bank it was about 87% efficient.
Low voltage protection kicked in very evenly between cells. The Left bay kicked in at 3.221v and the Right at 3.201v.
- I like that it has a display that shows each battery status when charging and when acting as a Powerbank the pair.
- Low power charge mode for low current devices like wireless headphones.
- Can be used as a powerbank while being charged.
- The magnetic cover isn’t secure enough if it’s dropped and using 18650 batteries. It needs a rubber band or something around it for additional security. This isn’t a problem if your using 21700’s.
- Protected 21700’s are too long to be used inside.
- LCD values for each bay didn’t always match my external meter.
The Xtar PB2s is a nice update on the first PB2 to take advantage of the now more popular 21700 battery size. I didn’t have the original PB2 to compare it to directly but from reading a few reviews of the prior model this model addresses most of the complaints people had.
I like the screen on this as it gives you all the info you want to know but I find myself wiping my thumb across it trying to make it more clear when in fact it’s the textured plastic underneath. A little disappointing but much better then just a few LED lights to indicate charge status.
I find the size to be a little big big for it’s capacity when used as a power bank, but when you consider it can charge 21700 and 18650 batteries it’s actually small. This will be my new travel charger because of it’s small size and USB-C input. That said I don’t think I will put it in my pocket to walk and charge my phone just because of its thickness. That said it’s strength really is as a combination device to charge your electronic devices and charge your batteries for flashlights and or vapes especially at it’s low price of under $20 at the time of this review.
If you are interested in picking up the Xtar PB2S check the description for a link to where you can pick this up. If you want the Red version with the Red screen, make sure you hit up Illumn as they have it as an exclusive at least here in the US.
Full Image Gallery https://imgur.com/a/5BAiNCs?
Pick up the Xtar PB2S from Amazon https://amzn.to/2O9syb4
Or the Red exclusive from Illumn bit.ly/2kn3ocr