There’s nothing quite like disconnecting when you spend time in nature. I make the effort to do so as much as I can and you should, too.
However, sometimes I need my gadgets. Whether it’s because I’ve got writing to do, photos to take, or I’m camping with the kids and I need to give them half an hour on their iPads before bedtime because it’s the best thing for everyone involved.
Whatever the gadget, it’s obviously no good to anyone if it isn’t charged, so I was keen to try out the Powerall Deluxe, especially considering it also claims to be able to jump-start a dead car battery.
Functionality & Ease of use (Rating: 70%)
Obviously, there’s something that immediately stands out about the Powerall – I’ve never heard of a portable device charger that doubles as a booster for your 12V car battery.
Let’s face it, though, you don’t come to me for my knowledge on cars… Which is good because I have very close to zero knowledge on cars.
Not only did I not have a flat battery to test the Powerall’s jump-starting capability on, but if I did, I wouldn’t know what to tell you apart from “it works!”.
So I did some research and by all reports, this thing lives up to its claims. This model apparently will start any engine up to 5.7 litres (there’s a more powerful model available if you’re looking to charge anything bigger). Don’t take my word for it – read more here and here.
Sounds like it’s easy as anything to use, too. Just plug in the provided jumper cables (which are professional grade, with a larger inline fuse than ordinary jumper cables), attach the clamps to your battery, leave it attached for a few seconds, and then crank the engine. It also offers reverse polarity and spark proof protection, as well as over current, short circuit, overload, over voltage and overcharge protection.
Now onto what I know better – gadgets. There are two 2.5V/2.1A USB ports on the side of the Powerall, allowing you to simultaneously charge any two devices that can charge via USB. Think phones, iPads, portable gaming devices, etc.
In case you forget to bring the USB charging cables for said devices, the Powerall comes with a variety of adaptors to suit almost any charging socket you can think of. The only disappointing omission is an Apple Lightning connector, so if you’ve got any of the more recent Apple products don’t forget your charging cable.
I tested it by charging a Samsung Galaxy S5 and an S6 simultaneously from completely flat to fully charged. This took just under two and a half hours, which is fantastic, but unfortunately took 80% of the Powerall’s charge according to the LED indicators on the device. I find it strange that it can jump start so many vehicles without being recharged, but can only charge two smartphones. However, this doesn’t make it much less useful in my book.
Once you’ve used the Powerall to charge your devices or start your vehicle, you can charge it up again with the included wall charger or 12V cigarette lighter cables. Battery status LEDs on the side of the Powerall give you an idea of how much charge is left (and let you know when it’s all charged up). This isn’t something I’ve seen on any other portable device charger, making it less of a guessing game to stay prepared. Charging the Powerall from flat took me about 6 hours while plugged into the wall. I haven’t tested it from the cigarette lighter in my car, but I imagine it would take longer. So long as I remember to plan ahead, I envision this function being more helpful for a quick boost during one of my camping trips anyway.
It’s also worth mentioning that at one end of the Powerall is a bright, 86 lumens LED torch. The device is a bit too heavy to carry around as your primary torch, but this would be handy when plugging in your devices to charge or getting it hooked up to your car battery. It also features strobe and “SOS” modes, which could be very handy in an emergency.
Build & Durability (Rating: 90%)
The Powerall Deluxe comes in a heavy-duty carrying case which houses the power bank as well as all of its cables and adaptors. It’s small enough to fit in some glove boxes but would take up hardly any room in your boot.
The device itself weighs just under a kilogram and its dimensions are 165 x 75 x 30mm. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket (or your hiking backpack) but too heavy for this to be very practical. It’s more ideal for leaving at base camp when car camping, which is exactly what I’ll be using it for.
I’m still on the hunt for the ideal portable charger to keep in my hiking pack, but this definitely isn’t it.
Inside the Powerall Deluxe is a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 12,000 mAh, which is a fair bit bigger than most other portable chargers.
Nothing about the Powerall feels like it’s delicate or poorly built. In keeping with my “I don’t need to drop test because I’m incredibly uncoordinated” theme, I’ve already managed to drop it from desk height onto floorboards. It hasn’t left a mark and still functions perfectly.
The only issue I had with the unit was trying to plug the jumper cables into their designated socket. I could immediately see when I pulled the socket cover aside that the round socket didn’t seem quite, well, round. It took a bit of manoeuvring to get it plugged in, but when I’d done this once it became easier on subsequent attempts (even though it still doesn’t look round).
What I Like
- Ability to jump start a car (or multiple cars)
- Included LED torch / emergency light
- Charges up from the car’s cigarette lighter
- Charges two devices at once
- Battery indicator allows you to see remaining charge
What I don’t like
- No provided lightning charger for more recent Apple devices
- Not an ideal size and weight to take hiking with you
- Only charged two devices (in my testing) without needing to be recharged
The model I’ve mentioned that can jump-start engines over 5.7 litres is the Powerall Supreme. It retails for $239.95 and is also available at Repco stores.
We were provided with a Powerall Deluxe to review. The links above are affiliate links. This has no influence on the opinions presented in this article.
A portable power bank that can also jumpstart a car!? What do you think about that? Got any questions or comments? Please let us know by commenting below.