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Lifewire / Andrew Hayward
Versatile portable battery
It’ll jump-start a car
Powerful AC port
Bright LED lamp
Comes with accessories
No USB-C PD port
Bulky and heavy
While not the best laptop battery brick around, the versatile Halo Bolt is a very handy backup for charging all sorts of devices and jump-starting vehicles.
We purchased the Halo Bolt Portable Charger/Jump Starter so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
There are all sorts of portable laptop chargers designed for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and portable game systems, but the Halo Bolt one-ups them in one key respect: it can also jump-start your car. This heavy brick of a portable charger proves to be a very useful tool to have around, especially in the car—whether it’s for emergencies or just when you need to top up a device while you’re away from home.
Granted, it doesn’t pack as much power as some dedicated laptop chargers, which may be a better option for that dedicated need, but the added versatility gives the Halo Bolt a unique edge in the market. I tested the Halo Bolt for a week with multiple devices, including laptops and smartphones.
While certainly portable, the Halo Bolt isn’t designed to be pocket-friendly. This hefty brick of a battery pack comes in at 7.2 x 1.6 x 3.8 inches (HWD) with a weight of more than 1.5 pounds. There are smaller, cheaper battery packs available for smartphones, but this beast is made for heavier-duty needs and designed accordingly.
It’s mostly heavy black plastic on the outside, including a very glossy brushed silver top layer with an imprinted Halo logo. The front face is where most of the ports sit, including two USB-A ports (5V/2.4A), a DC input for the charging adapter, and jump start inputs hidden behind a small door. The right side, meanwhile, has the 115V AC/65W max AC power plug input for laptop chargers and other plug-in devices.
There are smaller, cheaper battery packs available for smartphones, but this beast is made for heavier-duty needs and designed accordingly.
Each set of inputs has its own individual power button to activate the ports, and you can use the AC input and USB ports at the same time, but the Jump Starter can only function on its own. Meanwhile, the left side of the device has a very bright built-in LED flashlight with its own power button, giving you another handy tool during car emergencies.
Additionally, the Halo Bolt comes with an array of accessories, including a wall charging adapter, car charging adapter, jumper cables, a USB-to-micro USB cable, and a cinching pouch for quick storage of all the above. There isn’t much else you’d need to use the device, and all of the cables and accessories are a welcome bonus.
You’ll need to charge the brick to full capacity before using it, and the four green battery lights on the right side of the front face indicate how much capacity is currently left. When all four are illuminated when pressing any of the power buttons, the battery is fully charged. Otherwise, for the AC and USB ports, the Halo Bolt is a plug-and-play charger.
The full process for jump-starting a car is detailed in the included instructions, and the Halo Bolt has built-in safety features that ensure that you have correctly aligned the jumper cables before you attempt to start the connected car, boat, lawnmower, or other vehicles.
The Halo Bolt has 58,830mWh of battery power within, and the official description suggests that it can provide up to several hours of additional usage for a MacBook Pro or iPad Air. In my own testing, the results didn’t quite match those targets.
Plugging in a mid-2019 MacBook Pro (13-inch) with its own AC adapter, the Halo Bolt charged it quickly, but ran out of juice before the battery could fully recharge. It went from 0 percent to 88 percent in 1 hour, 30 minutes, at a maximum recorded charging rate of 58.29W (20.1V/1.9A).
In a separate test, I played a locally-downloaded movie on loop at 100 percent brightness on the laptop, with the Halo Bolt plugged in to sustain the laptop’s own fully-charged battery. The Halo Bolt provided power to the laptop for 5 hours, 14 minutes before running out of battery, but that’s a fair bit less than the Mophie Powerstation AC (6 hours, 22 minutes) and ZMI PowerPort 20000 (8 hours, 4 minutes) in the same test.
Plugging in a mid-2019 MacBook Pro (13-inch) with its own AC adapter, the Halo Bolt charged it quickly but ran out of juice before the battery could fully recharge.
Not having a USB-C Power Delivery port on the Halo Bolt itself is disappointing, as many modern devices rely on the standard for speedy charging. Given that, you’ll need to bring along your own AC adapters to plug into the AC port to get maximum speeds.
For example, charging a Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphone using one of the Halo Bolt’s USB-A ports took 2 hours, 56 minutes to complete at a paltry 5.19W (4.76V x 1.09A), starting from 0 percent. However, when I repeated the test using Samsung’s own charger via the AC port, it finished in 1 hour, 34 minutes thanks to fast charging—nearly half the total time.
For a jack-of-all-trades power brick like this that can jump-start your car and charge its battery, serve as a bright flashlight for roadside emergencies, and charge a wide array of portable devices, the $100 price seen on Amazon seems very reasonable. However, given that it couldn’t charge my laptop to full capacity and that it lacks a USB-C port, there are handier, higher-capacity charging bricks available specifically for laptop and smartphone-charging needs.
Here’s a prime example. The ZMI PowerPack 20000 (see on Amazon) doesn’t have an AC port, however, it’s pocket-friendly, packs a lot of capacity (20,000mAh), and can quickly recharge laptops with its included USB-C port. It also has two USB-A ports alongside and has more than enough juice to fully recharge the same MacBook Pro from empty. Best of all, it only costs $70.
But that smaller, cheaper power brick is only meant for portable devices such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, and handheld game systems. It has no jump-start capabilities, nor does it have an AC port to accommodate a wider array of devices.
Final Verdict: A very handy backup battery and jump starter.
The Halo Bolt isn’t the best option for charging laptops, but it is a strong all-around device for providing backup power to a wider array of gadgets, not to mention jump-starting a car. This kind of versatile device is a smart one to have around if you drive a car and are frequently mobile with your portable gadgets. I wouldn’t bring it with me on vacation, but as a backup device to keep handy, it could prove plenty useful before long.