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RAVPOWER 5,000mAh Magnetic Wireless Power Bank hands-on and review

The RAVPOWER take on MagSafe.
The RAVPOWER take on MagSafe.
The iPhone 13 series has just launched as the second generation of Apple flagship mobile devices with MagSafe charging. Therefore, prospective customers might be looking for new charging accessories compatible with this function. RAVPOWER makes a power bank is one released with claims of wireless-charging at faster rates than normal.

A number of OEMs have released what amounts to their own version of Apple's MagSafe magnetic charging system, and are unlikely to stop now the iPhone 13 series has finally been unveiled. Perhaps it is just as well for RAVPOWER that it has released its 5,000mAh power bank, designed to work with devices such as the iPhone 12 (and its new successor) to deliver up to 7.5 watts of charge simply by placing it on the phone's back. Therefore, the OEM targets the MagSafe Battery Pack with this product. Could it be a worthy alternative?   

Unboxing and First Impressions

Quite unlike the first-party Apple product it clearly seeks to mimic, the RAVPOWER Wireless Power Bank (or RP-PB234) is presented in matte black, with a strip of glossier black running down the midline of the device. It houses the accessory's LED indicator light, as well as four other dot-like lights to indicate remaining charge levels. It comes in the OEM's signature packaging, which also contains a USB type-C to C cable.

The power bank comes in a form-factor of flat edges and rounded corners, with a wireless pad in the main matte finish above all its regulatory information.

It does seem to have an all-plastic build, based on the texture of its materials and its weight.

Nevertheless, its looks might appeal to many customers. It also goes well with the iPhone 12 - the vanilla variant, as is the unit I have. It fits the base model very well, with a slight overlap on the part of the ex-flagship on 3 sides. Accordingly, the power bank might seem a bit more dwarfed on the Pro or Pro Max model, and perhaps a little too big on the Mini variant.

Then again, I also get this general impression from images of the Apple MagSafe Battery Pack, to be honest.

That is all very well - however, what many people might wonder most is: can you pick the iPhone up by this power bank alone? The answer is: yes, you can. The RAVPOWER accessory's magnets prove strong enough for one to hold it and an iPhone 12 up in one hand. Saying that, it might be best to pick the power bank up by the phone instead, as there is a slight risk it will come loose if one's fingers dig in between the accessory and the mobile device. It also creates a silhouette more or less reminiscent of the old Apple battery cases for iPhones when in use.

It only does so in 1 direction: so that its own USB type-C port lines up with the 12's Lightning port. Trying to do otherwise causes its indicator LED to flash red rather than green as normal.

The power bank might attach automatically, but the user still has to press its side-mounted power button to initiate wireless charging. RAVPOWER asserts that it can do so at up to 7.5W, as opposed to the more normal 5W rate.

Wireless Charging Test

I found that the power bank could charge the iPhone 12 flawlessly. Then again, it would need to drain to 25% or less to charge the device from 0 to 100% (not recommended, but necessary during testing). This took about 2 hours and 20 minutes, reproducibly.

Then again, I have not been able to get a case for this iPhone as yet, and many users might prefer to leave one on while using MagSafe (or other alternatives). Improvising with the case - a decently thick Spigen Neo Hybrid - for my OnePlus 3 revealed that, while the power bank still worked through the plastic, the magnetic attraction became much weaker. The iPhone and the accessory could no longer be picked up as one - even lifting it slightly resulted in it dissociating from the iPhone and the lights turning off. 

All in all, the RAVPOWER Magnetic Power Bank may only just match up to its typical 3,000mAh capacity, never mind its 5,000mAh rated capacity. These results might be explained by a thermal-imaging test, which also serves to illustrate the waste-heat potential of wireless charging in general.

 

These results came in after a half-hour of charging. Using the power bank also made the iPhone extremely warm to the touch.

Charging Test

This power bank has to replenish itself just like any other after such a performance, obviously. It does so via its single type-C port, which is what the cable that comes in the box is for. It could charge the power bank at about 9 watts (W), taking approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes to do so.

It would typically only charge up to about 2,818mAh, although it once posted over 3,000mAh: overcharging, perhaps.

Almost surprisingly, one thing this wireless-charging power bank will not do is charge wirelessly (via the Qi standard or otherwise). In fact, any attempt to do so results in this:

USB type-C Charging Test

The RAVPOWER RP-PB234 is also rated to deliver power to other devices via its type-C port. Hooking it up to the iPhone in this manner revealed that it could indeed charge it from 0 to 100% at 10W. However, doing so completely drained the power bank, revealing that - as with the wireless charging phase of testing - it ran nearly dry on delivering 2,818mAh to the smartphone. This, admittedly, does not say much for its 5,000mAh rated capacity.

Pass-through Charging Test

RAVPOWER also claims that this power bank can charge itself while charging a device such as an iPhone simultaneously. This proved true, although I found that it could not do so until it had replenished itself to about 25% from the mains beforehand.

 

Conclusion

Based on my testing, I've come to think this is a cost-effective way for an iPhone 12-series user to try magnetic wireless tech out (although it may best if they are the type that prefers not to use a case!), particularly in the face of the first-party equivalent, which goes for US$99 and is rated to charge a vanilla 12 by about 60% per use. On the other hand, either device might be most effective as a handy solution in a charging emergency. I personally don't believe that wireless charging should be a chronic thing to be honest, and consistent use as a wired power bank might degrade its battery over time.

Otherwise, I did actually quite enjoy having this accessory around. Sticking it onto the back of the iPhone made it easier to hold (which I normally don't like to do because of the device's flat edges), and use, although one might need to switch to two-handed use thanks to the extra bulk involved. In fact, my only motivation to upgrade to a 13 would be to test how well this power bank works with that model. Equally curious consumers might order one from the OEM's website for US$36, although it seems to be out of stock at the moment.

Disclaimer: The author of this review received this item from RAVPOWER free of charge for the purpose of testing.

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Deirdre O'Donnell
Deirdre O'Donnell - Senior Tech Writer - 5132 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 09 > RAVPOWER 5,000mAh Magnetic Wireless Power Bank hands-on and review
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-09-21 (Update: 2021-09-21)