Jul 24, 2023
Mobile Edge CORE Power Portable Laptop Charger review
I’ve got an awesome 24,000 mAh battery from a no-name company. It’s capable of delivering 65W directly to whatever device I plug into it…as long as it’s USB-C. Using the USB-A drops that in half.
I’ve got an awesome 24,000 mAh battery from a no-name company. It’s capable of delivering 65W directly to whatever device I plug into it…as long as it’s USB-C. Using the USB-A drops that in half. Other than my Steamdeck, that presents a problem in both connectivity options and wattage. Simply put, that’s a single-purpose battery. On any given day traveling I’m carrying my laptop, Steam Deck, Black Magic 6K Pro camera and battery packs, lavaliers, and more. Of that list, only the lavaliers and Steam Deck can use this battery pack. I needed a better solution, so I turned to Mobile Edge and their Core Power 24,000 mAh portable charger.
Inside the box are just a handful of components. The Mobile Edge CORE Power Portable Laptop Charger, of course, a 20W USB-C PD wall adapter, a 3’ USB-C to USB-C charging cable, and the instructions and warranty paperwork. I do wish the cable was longer, doubly so in fact, but I do appreciate the attached velcro strip to keep it tucked and tight.
The Core Power 24,000 tells you up front the first attribute, which is the 24,000 mAh capacity, but that’s very, very far from the whole story. First and foremost, this device is beefy. Measuring 7.3” x 5” x 1.3”, it’s a bit larger than other devices at this capacity, but it also has a number of things that no other battery pack I’ve seen has built right in. First and foremost, it has one USB-C port, able to deliver a full 65W, meaning it’ll charge a Steam Deck at full speed. Most large capacity batteries tend to max out at 45W meaning you’ll see the dreaded “Slow charger” pop-up when you fire up your device, but not here. In total, it weighs 25oz, or 1.56 pounds.
Adjacent to that USB-C port are two USB-A connectors. These deliver 5V/2.4A at 12W. This is enough to pull normal charging on a phone, but shy of the 18W mark necessary for rapid charging. That said, the capacity will keep that phone charged for roughly 2 entire months, so maybe there’s something to be said for bigger is better than faster. Besides, if you plug that phone into that 65W USB-C port you’ll get MORE than enough juice to charge your phone at a blistering pace.
If you happen to have a laptop that will charge via a USB-C or Thunderbolt port, then you are in luck because you can use this same USB-C port on the CORE Power 24,000. Specifically, you’ll need USB 3.2 Gen 1 Superspeed, Superspeed+, USB4 Gen 2×2, USB4 Gen 3×2, or Thunderbolt 3 or 4 to take advantage of USB-C charging. Just about every mobile platform like the iPad or Microsoft Surface laptops made in the last five years or so will have the required equipment to run off the device, but if you have something other than one on this list you’re dead in the water with the vast majority of batteries, including the 24,000 mAh battery I purchased. With the CORE Power Portable Laptop Charger I’ve got an alternative – a standard two prong 120V AC plug capable of delivering a whopping 80W of power. While you’ll be out of luck for a laptop like my Predator Triton 500 (it uses three prongs and draws 120W when using Max-Q power profiles), many newer devices can take advantage. For example, the Razer Blade 15 from 2021 with an RTX 3080 Ti can pull 80W of power through the USB-C port, running games like God of War at 70fps in 4K. Let me say that another way – you can power a Razer Blade 15 laptop, pulling 70 frames per second at 4K, off of a battery, and do so for nearly 6 hours with the battery in the laptop and this battery combined. Granted, that’s an obscene power draw, but it’s possible.
Between the USB-A ports and the AC plug lies another unique aspect of the CORE charger – an LED flashlight. This makes it an excellent addition to your camping gear as it’s multipurpose, meaning there’s less to shlep up the mountain to wherever you plan to tuck in with your sleeping bag. I know the idea is to get out in nature, but having a few electronics can make camping downright comfortable. For example, a micro pump to fill air mattresses will save your lungs, a rechargeable USB LED light can offer light where your campfire doesn’t reach such as inside your tent, a small portable and waterproof Bluetooth speaker can bring tunes with you rather than having to endure somebody’s guitar shenanigans, a Nanospresso coffee maker if you don’t want to fight with the fire first thing to get your cup of joe, a USB portable fan, heated blankets, a USB-rechargeable mosquito repeller, and yes — you’ll want to keep your phone charged in case of emergencies. They happen, and a dead phone could mean no help coming for you. If you are feeling really adventurous, you can even grab something like a Pico Projector to watch stored movies. Yeah, I like to glamp, and there’s no reason to not enjoy your home away from home. Surprisingly, this 24,000 mAh battery will go a very long way towards that goal. Best of all, you can recharge it to full during the day with a portable solar panel like the Anker 625 Solar Panel. Brilliant!
This light could be insanely helpful while camping.
If you aren’t the camping type, but prefer to burn dogs and burgers at sporting events, well, there’s plenty of opportunity there as well. There are plenty of coolers nowadays, and nearly all of them run off of a 12 volt power supply. Neck cooling fans are great for the heat, and they can be recharged off the CORE unit, and the same goes for individual beverage coolers. The same waterproof Bluetooth speaker and LED lights can come along for these events. A small USB monitor can be just the thing for catching the pregame analysis from your favorite sportscasters. A wireless meat thermometer will make sure your proteins come out perfectly every time. Heck, you can even bring a small electronic portable scoreboard to showcase just who is tearing it up in those all-important games of cornhole. Just like my camping setup, I drag a lot of gear when I head to sporting events, but it means everyone is having fun, and that’s what’s important to me. Thankfully, with four outputs on the CORE Power Charger, there’s plenty of power to go around.
The best use I’ve found for the CORE is travel. Whether I’m using my laptop for work or some light gaming, or I’m watching movies or playing video games on my Steam Deck, this device works perfectly for any scenario. I throw the CORE into the seatback net and then just run a USB-C cable out to any of my devices (or that of my neighbors, if I’m feeling generous) and I’m able to enjoy whatever I’m doing at full brightness for as long as I wish. Even a flight across the pond isn’t enough to exhaust this battery. Thankfully, 24,000 mAh doesn’t upset the TSA, making the CORE Power travel friendly in your carry-on.
Under the hood, there’s plenty of safety tech making sure you don’t blow out whatever you plug into it. In the example above, I plugged my phone into the USB-C port. It doesn’t have the capacity to handle 65W of power, maxing out at 22W. What happens in that scenario? Well, the Smart Chip technology detects the device attached and automatically regulates flow to ensure it only gets what it needs. This prevents the device from overcharging, triggering an overvoltage event (which could be very dangerous for the battery of the attached device), and overheating. In the case of a short-circuit failure the device will stop throwing power to the malfunctioning device, preventing damage or something worse.
Standard two prong AC connection
Charging the CORE’s lithium-ion battery is handled via the included 20W USB-C brick. Surprisingly, it’ll charge the core from empty to full in about 3 hours. I grabbed my 65W brick from my Steamdeck and tried to charge it, but apparently the same Smart Chip that regulates power output also handles input as it made no difference – just under three hours, just like the included 20W cable and brick.
I would like to point out that this device, despite offering a huge amount of power, is actually TSA-approved. The maximum size of a power bank you can bring on an airplane is 27000 mAh, which this comes in just shy of that number. You can’t put it in your checked luggage, but why would you want to? The whole point here is to slip it in your seatback and power all of your gear while you fly!
To quote the Keaton-era Batman, “Let’s get nuts.” I plugged my PlayStation 5 into the CORE and fired it up. The PS5 consumes roughly 350W of power at startup, backing down to about 200W after boot. Not only would this drain the brick extraordinarily quickly, it also was a bit too much of a draw to fire up. The same goes for the Xbox Series X which has an initial draw of about 250W. That said, it handles the Switch and Steamdeck just fine, able to keep both charged and running easily.
My only real complaint with the CORE Power Portable Laptop Charger is the warranty. Unfortunately, it’s just a year. Lithium-ion batteries can’t develop memories, that’s actually a myth. What does happen is that over continued cycles, Lithium-ion batteries can lose overall capacity, reducing their overall maximum charge capacity. In my personal experience, most Lithium-Ion batteries last between 400 and 500 charges before they lose capacity, but how long will that take? Well, let’s do some math. If you discharged the battery five days a week five hundred times, that’s 2500 days. 2500 days is 6.85 years. Realistically, you probably aren’t using this battery in this fashion, meaning it should last far longer than the one year warranty. That just makes it all the more baffling that Mobile Edge doesn’t back it for three years or longer.
How much does all this largesse of options cost you? The MSRP on the Mobile Edge CORE Power Portable Laptop Charger is $169.99 (and as a special offer for our readers, you can get a whopping 23% Off with Code ‘GamingTrend’. This code is good for all CORE Gaming, Alienware, and Mobile Edge products, with free shipping on orders over $75! Enjoy) Doing a quick check of the market, there are a few other batteries with similar capabilities and capacities, and all around this price. Some are far larger, coming in the size of a small dinner plate, which is less than ideal for travel. Another one I found with a plug had a plug, but only half the overall battery capacity, albeit at about half the price. This one seems like a solid blend of performance and capabilities, though the price is about $20 higher than its competitors.
Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming.
Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter.
Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 27 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
Flexible to excess, the CORE Power Portable Laptop Charger offers up a ton of battery capacity, 65W of USB-C power delivery, and a standard 110V DC power plug, meaning it can power and charge just about any portable device you might have, and for quite some time.
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