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Lifewire / Andrew Hayward
Attractive fabric lining
USB-C, USB-A, and AC ports
It’s a heavy brick
USB-C charging capped at 30W
The Mophie Powerstation AC gets a lot of things right, but is overshadowed by comparable competition that costs a lot less.
Ever since gaining prominence with its incredibly handy iPhone charging cases, Mophie has established itself as a go-to brand for sleek, effective, and undoubtedly premium accessories for portable charging solutions. That usually means paying extra compared to some competitors’ products, but again, it’s usually matched with a commensurate level of quality.
Mophie’s Powerstation AC portable laptop battery is such an offering. This bulky power bank is built for laptops, packing enough power to top up a MacBook or similarly premium notebook, not to mention smartphones, tablets, handheld game systems, and other portable devices. It works well and looks nice, but the sizable price gulf between the Powerstation AC and similarly-equipped alternatives makes it tricky to recommend.
I tested the Mophie Powerstation AC for more than a week across laptops and smartphones alike, measuring charging speeds and comparing them to other power bricks.
Mophie’s Powerstation AC has a sleek allure to it, looking almost like a journal at a distance thanks to its fabric-lined exterior—but pick it up and it definitely feels like a power brick. At 7.48 x 4.49 x 1.1 inches (HWD) and a hefty 1.67 pounds, this is a weighty power cell. You might be able to jam it inside a very large pocket, but make sure you’re wearing a belt if so.
Mophie’s Powerstation AC has a sleek allure to it, looking almost like a journal at a distance thanks to its fabric-lined exterior—but pick it up and it definitely feels like a power brick.
Really, though, this larger power bank is an ideal one to stick inside a bag while traveling or working away from home or the office. The soft-touch fabric exterior is set upon hearty black plastic casing on this dense device, and the Powerstation AC really feels like it can withstand heavy usage over the years.
On the upper right side of the frame are the USB-C and USB-A ports, which are near four small lights that indicate the current battery capacity when the adjacent button is pressed. The AC power port is smartly covered and concealed beneath the flap on the top, which automatically closes via a magnetic connection when not in use. You’ll get both USB-C to USB-C and USB-A to USB-C cables inside, giving you a bit more flexibility in charging your devices.
On its own merits, the Mophie Powerstation AC is a compelling portable battery pack.
Using a laptop or smartphone power adapter that you already have, simply plug one end of one of the included cables into the Mophie Powerstation AC and the other into the adapter, and then plug it into a wall outlet. Once the four lights on the power bank are fully illuminated, then you can use the Powerstation AC to charge portable devices by plugging them into the USB ports and/or the AC input.
The Mophie Powerstation AC has a hearty 24,000mAh cell inside, giving you plenty of additional power for your portable devices. That said, the maximum 30W charging rate of the USB-C PD port isn’t as high as on some other charging bricks, such as the ZMI PowerPort 20000, which hits up to 45W with its USB-C PD port.
The difference was clear in testing. Using the USB-C port, the Mophie Powerstation AC charged a 2019 MacBook Pro (13-inch) from 0 percent to 100 percent in 2 hours, 12 minutes (at 27.9W, or 19.5Vx1.43A). While that’s a reasonable speed for completely charging a powerful laptop, it did take 19 minutes longer than with ZMI’s pack. The Mophie Powerstation AC showed one illuminated light afterward, suggesting a small amount of remaining power in the cell.
Faster laptop charging is possible if you plug your laptop’s own power charger into Mophie’s 100W/100V AC port, although that’s less convenient than simply popping in a cable—especially if you are traveling and away from home for a stretch of time. I plugged the MacBook Pro’s own charger into the AC port and charged the laptop from 0 percent to full in 1 hour, 52 minutes, nearly identical to the ZMI PowerPack’s USB-C port. The Powerstation AC did have an audible hum when charging from the AC port, however.
The Mophie Powerstation AC has a hearty 24,000mAh cell inside, giving you plenty of additional power for your portable devices.
In a separate test, I looped a locally-downloaded movie in full screen at 100 percent brightness on the MacBook Pro, which started at 100 percent battery. With the Mophie Powerstation AC plugged in via USB-C, the film played for 6 hours, 22 minutes before the power brick ran out of juice. With the same film and conditions, the ZMI PowerPack 20000 lasted much longer at 8 hours, 4 minutes in the same test. If you are, say, stuck on an international flight, that’s potentially a full additional film that you can watch, or nearly a couple extra hours of work time.
A Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphone charged faster with the Mophie Powerstation AC via the USB-C port, however, going from zero to 100 percent in 1 hour, 37 minutes—that’s 10 minutes faster than with ZMI’s power brick.
At $200, the Mophie Powerstation AC is a good $70-80 more expensive than comparable alternatives that are well-reviewed by Amazon customers. Mophie’s design is strong and the battery pack works well, but function outweighs form when it comes to a battery pack that you’ll only pull out occasionally, and it’s difficult to justify that kind of massive price bump. I’d happily use the Mophie Powerstation AC to charge my laptop, smartphone, and Nintendo Switch... but I wouldn’t buy it at that price
Aside from the differences in charging speeds and capabilities mentioned above, the biggest functional difference between these laptop-friendly portable battery packs is the lack of an AC power port on the ZMI PowerPack 20000 (see on Amazon). On the upside, it’s about half the size and weight and costs only $70. It’s an ideal power brick for charging MacBooks, smartphones, and other USB-C devices, and certainly the much more appealing bargain.
A great portable laptop battery at a rough price.
On its own merits, the Mophie Powerstation AC is a compelling portable battery pack. It’s sturdy and well-designed, holds a lot of power, and does a good job of charging an array of portable devices. However, there are comparable devices that charge at a faster wattage, and perhaps more pressingly, the $200 price tag here makes it significantly more expensive than many other laptop-centric power bricks available today.