Excitrus Power Bank Ultimate4.0 / 5
The Excitrus 105W Power Bank Ultimate is a powerful battery bank that can charge all of a road warrior's accessories, from earbuds to notebooks, with style.
We're finally starting to see an array of power banks that can output significant wattage, in some cases enough to charge larger devices from Apple and other makers, all the way up to notebooks. The Excitrus 105W Power Bank Ultimate is a good example of this, while somehow only slightly bulkier than traditional oblong-brick banks.
This particular model — one of several from Excitrus — features a USB-C PD and USB-A port, with the USB-C also used to recharge the battery itself. The package comes with two cords included: a USB-C to USB-C, and USB-C to USB-A.
Neither a wall charger — 45W or higher — for recharging the battery itself, nor a USB-to-Lightning cord, is included in the package: these are two big missteps, in our view. The company says that the battery itself can be recharged fully in approximately two hours, using a 65W USB-PD charger like those included with some MacBook Pros.
Excitrus 105W Power Bank Ultimate - The details
The Excitrus 105W Power Bank Ultimate is an 18,000mAh Lithium-ion battery in a stylish, grippy brick shape weighing about 14oz (382g). For a single device being charged, it can supply 87W through the USB-C PD port — and with two devices being charged, the USB-A port can supply up to 18W, for a total of 105W output.
In addition to speedy charging, the battery has a "low-power device" option, oddly referred to as "Bluetooth power mode," intended for small devices like wireless earbuds and smartwatches. To invoke this mode, users should press the mode button twice — the "percent" sign flashes when it's in that mode.
The power bank is a Class B Digital Device, meaning it can be brought onto a plane in carry-on baggage. Excitrus says the battery features eight levels of safety protection to prevent overheating, and that the power bank can be recharged up to 1,000 times — about three times more than some competitors, according to the company.
The Power Bank Ultimate usually sells for $120, but has been on sale during the holiday season for around $90. As is typical of power banks, the company does not recommend using the battery in direct sunlight, high temperatures, or in low-ventilation environments.
In our testing, using the battery for a couple of weeks to charge a 15-inch MacBook Pro, an iPhone XR, an iPhone 12, and a iPad Pro 11-inch, we did not experience any significant battery heat, except when charging two devices simulateously. Even then, the hottest spot (near the connectors as you would expect) was never more than "warm" to the touch.
Most devices we tried went into quick-charge mode — which is indicated by two small lightning bolts above the percent sign in the indicator display — when connected to the Excitrus Power Bank Ultimate. We were careful to use the mode button (which also displays percentage when not in use) to invoke the lower-wattage "Bluetooth power mode" for charging our AirPods Pro and Apple Watch.
What impressed us the most, in addition to how quickly the devices charged, was how little this seemed to affect the battery. We charged the MacBook Pro from 20 percent to 85 percent in an hour, with the battery only showing a drop of 35 percent.
Likewise, the iPad Pro was taken from 14 percent to 64 percent charge in just over 30 minutes, and the battery dropped a further 30 percent. This left 35 percent to "top up" an iPhone 12 from 60 percent to full, and an Apple Watch from 50 percent to full in the low-power-device mode before the battery came close to exhausted.
For the "nearly zero to full" test, we used the MacBook Pro. It got to 80 percent full in just over an hour and 15 minutes before the battery-saving features on the MBP kicked in to slow down the charge rate. This is, in fact, not far from the amount of time to do the same thing with the MBP's own 96W charger.
Remarkably, this also did not fully exhaust the battery. We still had enough power left to almost fully charge our iPhone XR, using the USB-A cord so we could compare some simultaneous charging.
The company says that a typical laptop using USB-C PD can be charged to 60 percent from flat in one hour, while your average smartphone can be charged to 85 percent in about the same amount of time. Premium smartphones like the larger iPhones and top Samsung models will take a bit longer.
We also fast-charged an 11-inch iPad Pro attached to a Magic Keyboard from 12 percent to 82 percent in about 45 minutes, while the device was still being used actively for web surfing, social media, writing, and viewing short videos. Doing so left the battery with half of its charge remaining.
If you carry multiple devices around with you away from outlets, or enjoy the outdoors with your smartphone or iPad, this may well be the power bank for you. While it is limited to charging a maximum of two devices at a time, the battery is pleasingly difficult to exhaust, allowing for at least one-and-more recharges of a MacBook or iPad Pro, or multiple recharges for smaller devices.
Excitrus Power Bank Ultimate pros
- 87W power output suitable for nearly all notebooks, even while in use
- 18W output from the USB-A port ensures quick charging of smaller devices
- Airplane-safe, not too heavy, only slightly thicker than the standard oblong power bank
- Safety features, solid build quality, stylish looks, a bright battery indicator
Excitrus Power Bank Ultimate cons
- No Qi-charging surface — the company makes a different model that does have that, however
- Cords are wrapped by easily-lost black wire ties; attached velcro ties should have been used
- No Lightning cable to either port included