My kid needed a new portable charger, so I bought myself thi…

The Anker Prime power bank is sitting on a desk.
Phil Nickinson/

If there’s one thing a teen can’t live without (and that list keeps getting longer by the month), it’s a portable battery to keep their phone charged. Whether they’re in school and have to work secretly all day, or if they’re running through the streets with their friends, or staring into a social abyss like TikTok, the power is immense.

And so it was a bit of a surprise when my youngest daughter said her old battery bank was no longer working. That left me with only one thing to do: like any good dad, I gave him my thin battery that lives in my gear bag. And I took advantage of Anker’s Black Friday deals and bought myself a pretty cool thing.

See, Anker Prime Power Bank, It is not small. It is not thin. It’s not what I would call cheap. And that’s why it’s going in my bag, not my 13 year old’s bag. Let’s take a quick walk around the heavy charger.

The port on the top of the Anker Prime Power Bank.
Phil Nickinson/

First things first: it’s a 20,000 mAh battery. This is around three to five full charges of your average smartphone, depending on the capacity. So that’s great. However, more capacity means more size and weight, so be prepared for that. The Prime (as I’m going to call it) is about 5 inches tall and about 2 inches wide and deep. It is not small. It will not go out of your pocket. And it weighs about 18.5 ounces or a little more than 1 pound.

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And, yes, that’s a color screen on the front. This is ridiculous. I have low resolution phones. But you get a lot of good information on the screen – something that can’t be done with the series of four or five little illuminated dots typically found on a power bank. I don’t want to have to guess how much charge is left in the battery, or whether it’s actually charging my device. I want the number. I want details.

And you get a lot of that here. The remaining charge percentage is shown visually as well. When you plug in your phone’s earbuds – or even a full laptop – you can see how much power it’s drawing, and there are three ports – two USB-C, and one USB-A. – Which one is in use. There’s also a power button on the side, which isn’t at all unusual for battery banks. But it also lets you put it into trickle-charge mode, which you’ll have to do for devices that don’t use any kind of fast charging. (Basically, if it’s not a phone or computer or anything else that consumes a lot of energy.)

And when it comes time to recharge the battery, you’re told in no uncertain terms how long it will take to top off, and at what speed it’s recharging. that’s excellent.

It’s probably a little silly to have a battery bank that requires you to actually read the instructions – do it, because of the aforementioned trickle-charge thing – or actually have settings you can adjust. It is, and it does. Press the Battery button again to see the battery condition (which will eventually begin to degrade as the battery ages), how often the battery ran (think about a full discharge and recharge once), as well as the temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius. Press with. You can adjust the screen timeout from the default 30 seconds to 1 minute, 5 minutes, or 30 minutes, and you can reduce the screen brightness from high to medium.

there is also one An optional charging dock is available for the Anker Prime power bank. I didn’t get this because I didn’t want to spend the money and I already have enough charging ports on my desk. But if you pay for it – it’s an extra $40 during Black Friday – you’ll get an extra USB-A port and two more USB-C ports to use while the power bank works wirelessly via the links below. Charging properly. This is great and seems like it’s well designed, but it’s not necessary at all.

Need another sweetener? The battery comes with a travel pouch, which I’d probably actually use so the screen doesn’t get scratched so fast. And the 2-foot USB-C cable is a nice addition, too.

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