Laptops

Review: BioLite’s Charge 80 wants to power your laptop

Review: BioLite's Charge 80 wants to power your laptop

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I own literally a dozen phone chargers in all shapes, sizes, and forms – wireless, portable, solar-powered, and more.

But I don’t have one that can power my laptop. And of the very few charging options that feature this kind of power, portability is limited and the price prohibitive.

Last year, BioLite, a Brooklyn-based outdoor gear brand, introduced the Charge-PD series, a line of portable power banks with one USB-A port and two USB-C ports, which, according to the company, could offer “safe and efficient charging up to 18W”, which is more than three times faster than a traditional USB port. Available in 6,000mAh, 10,000mAh and 20,000mAh models, the range seemed ideal for powering everything from smartphones to laptops, in theory.

Since I had all the power options I needed for my phone and headphones, I picked up a review unit from the BioLite 80 filler PD and used it for a week, primarily but not exclusively to power my MacBook Pro.

The specifications :

  • 20,000mAh rechargeable battery
  • Charges 1x 13-inch laptop, 2x tablet, 5x smartphone
  • Can charge multiple devices at once
  • 1x USB-C PD port, up to 18W
  • 2 USB-A fast charging output ports, charging up to 15W
  • Quick Charge 3.0 Protocol
  • FAA Compliant
  • Comes with a USB-A to USB-C cable
  • 6.7 x 3.2 x 1.0 inches

The BioLite Charge 80 PD has three charging ports

BioLite

What works:

  • The Charge is an extremely intuitive charger: three ports, a button to check the battery status, four LEDs to indicate the current charge level.
  • You can power on two devices simultaneously while the device is plugged in and charging.

What kind of work:

  • I had no problem charging my small devices (including portable speakers) and doing so quickly. However, the size/weight of the Charge 80 means you should really look to the more compact 20 or 40 models if you just want a charger for your phone or headphones.
  • The device took about five hours to fully charge after being completely drained. While it’s longer than other power banks I’ve used, it also does a lot more work.
  • When my laptop hit 10%, I plugged in a fully powered Charge 80 – within four hours my MacBook Pro was at 69%, but the BioLite had run out of juice. To be fair, it charged much faster when I wasn’t working on it, so if you’re going to be using it for your laptop, consider plugging it in when you’re not actively working.
  • Admittedly, it is not as powerful as other portable laptop chargers, but it is smaller and a so much cheaper.

What needs work:

  • While definitely rugged, there’s nothing in the packaging to suggest this device is waterproof or can survive drops (although it appears to be). That said, the device would work in temperatures from -4F to 104F
  • If you’re charging your laptop, you’ll need to provide your own USB-C to USB-C cable.
BioLite 80 recharges a laptop

You’ll get nearly a full charge for your laptop…with a plug

BioLite

What others say:

“4/5 stars. It’s durable, easy to use, and versatile enough to power smartphones, cameras, tablets, and a laptop on long trips and flights. — T3

“4.5/5 stars.​​It doesn’t provide the biggest batteries, the most ports, or the sleekest design. But, it offers a product that performs well in each of these categories, while bringing the signature BioLite simplicity to the mix. — Gear

Not being able to charge my laptop while I’m using it took away some of my excitement. — the gimmick

Final Thoughts:

This isn’t the charger you want if you’re walking around and want a quick boost for your phone – it’s a heavy brick. But if you’re flying or driving, or heading somewhere with a laptop bag, the BioLite Charge 80 is a great resource for powering multiple devices at once. As for a laptop charger? Consider this an emergency backup, and preferably don’t use it if you need to work on your computer while it’s on. If you think you have access to a wall outlet, you might want to consider something closer to the Anker PowerCore Fusionwhich can act as a portable power bank, but also act as a wall charger for your computer.