For most people, the smartphone has become the one piece of technology that gets used all day. From waking up in the morning and checking Twitter and Instagram, to heading to bed with some YouTube or Netflix, phones are in constant use for that 14-16 hours of consciousness. Unfortunately, we now live in a time where battery life is no longer the priority for most phone manufacturers. Slimmer bodies and bezels are now all the rage, and battery size has taken a beating because of it. A phone that survives a single day with some charge left in the tank is now considered impressive, even if that means lowering the brightness and using other power saving features.
Powerstation Plus XL Review: In a Perfect World…
In a perfect world, we could all rock maximum brightness and enjoy those high-resolution displays looking their best. We could have all connectivity enabled and enjoy hours of video content before needing to worry about battery life. Instead, we immediately feel anxious when the indicator trickles below 50% before half of our day is done. It’s a horrible feeling, but that’s just how things are these days.
Of course, there is a way around battery life anxieties, but it’s an often inelegant solution. Big and bulky battery banks are now a common partner for most high-end phones and tablets. Power users have adapted to ensuring that both their phones and their battery banks are fully charged before an outing, and have come to tolerate the fact that all-day battery life for a slim phone means being tethered to a hefty brick.
For me, a battery bank is an absolute must-have for any phone owner. Even if it’s not being used every day, the peace of mind is worth it. Unfortunately, the size and weight of most high-capacity banks can be quite a turn-off.
Thankfully, Mophie appears to have the answer. The Powerstation Plus XL with lightning connectors is aimed at Apple iPhone and iPad users who want it all: small, light, and stylish; yet still powerful and rich in features.
Powerstation Plus XL Review: A Perfect Match
If you’re at all familiar with Mophie, then you’ll know that the brand oozes quality, especially when it comes to battery cases and chargers. The Powerstation Plus XL is no exception here, boasting very solid construction. It has a single, clicky button, which activates the battery level indicator. The “slate” color I was sent for review stands out, but not in the usual, unwanted way. I’m especially fond of premium fabric sides which, in addition to giving it a bit of character, also add a substantial amount of grip. Other colors include a darker blue, gray, and the more subtle black. With its stylish exterior, the Powerstation Plus XL actually looks like it belongs, earning its place below that $1000 iPhone X or expensive iPad.
The lack of long, unwieldy cables is also a huge win here. The Powerstation Plus XL comes with its own lightning cable permanently attached, which is tidily tucked away when not in use. This means you never have worry about forgetting a cable, as it’s always going to be with the charger. The color matches the slate theme and so blends in nicely.
Then there’s the ability to charge the Powerstation Plus XL wirelessly. Simply place it on a Qi wireless charger and it will begin to charge. The four battery level lights will flash and show that it is receiving power.
In addition to its wireless charging input, this product also supports pass-through charging, meaning you can put the Powerstation Plus XL on a wireless charging pad, and then plug your device in to also charge. A common use case would be setting this up before bed, and then waking up to both a fully charged battery bank and iPhone, all through the use of single wireless pad. I found this to be very convenient and much less of a headache. In the morning, it’s just a case of grabbing the iPhone and Mophie charger, then away you go. Though the option of a wireless charging output could have been nice, it would have been made pretty redundant due to the built-in lightning connector which offers much greater speeds.
Powerstation Plus XL Review: Playing With Power
Despite its size, the Powerstation Plus XL with lightning connector holds 10,000 mAh of charging power. What does this mean? Well, Mophie claims that you can get 34 hours worth of charge out of it for an iPhone X, 14 hours for an iPad Mini 4, and 9 hours for an iPad Pro. I found this claim to be accurate, with my iPhone 8 Plus managing three full days of heavy use. This makes it ideal for a weekend away, business trip, or a particularly hefty Netflix binge on a long journey.
The USB charging port also means it isn’t Apple-exclusive. The 10W port can charge Android devices quickly, and both the lightning cable and USB port can be used simultaneously.
At just shy of $100, the Powerstation Plus XL is just like Mophie’s other products: premium, but pricey. There are, of course, cheaper alternatives out there, which come in at a fraction of the price. However, with Mophie, you’re paying for that added confidence in a reputable brand, as well as the stylish, slim exterior, and additional convenient features. I would sure feel a lot more comfortable about plugging my $1000 phone into a Mophie bank, versus one of the other no-name branded chargers. In recent years, we’ve seen batteries exploding and causing all sorts of havoc on public transport. Going cheap doesn’t always have cheerful results.
There is also a non-XL version, the Powerstation Plus, which has a third less juice and no wireless charging input, but still has the same stylish looks. That version comes in at just under $80. I don’t think that’s a significant enough saving, and so would definitely say go for the XL.
Powerstation Plus XL Review: A Couple of Hiccups
While I’ve ultimately come away impressed, there are a couple of criticisms that I’d like to note: 1. Despite a lightning cable being required to charge the device (if not charging wirelessly), there isn’t one included in the box. Mophie says to just “use the cable that came with your Apple device,” but at this price point, I’d have liked to see a premium cable included. 2. Rumors point towards the next Apple devices using USB-C and not lightning connectors. This new product from Mophie may only be relevant for the 2018 range of Apple devices, which is worth bearing in mind. (Editor’s note: This rumor has now been debunked. The new iPhone XS and XS Max both use lightning connectors.)
Overall, the Mophie Powerstation Plus XL impresses with its stylish looks, lightweight yet solid build, and generous capacity. If you don’t balk at the price tag, this product more than gets the job done, and looks fantastic while doing so.
Powerstation Plus XL review unit was provided by Mophie.