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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
Comes with a variety of laptop barrel connectors
Two USB ports
Clear LCD display
Large 23,000mAh capacity
Laptop coverage has some holes
No real power switch
No USB-C cable included (micro USB only)
The Pilot Pro2 is a fantastic replacement for your laptop charger that provides pass-through charging and can also power up your USB devices at the same time.
The POWERADD Pilot Pro2 is a little different from most power banks, as it’s designed to be a direct replacement for both your laptop and phone chargers. It includes two USB ports, a barrel connector, and comes with an assortment of laptop power adapters that provides pretty decent coverage.
Since you can never have enough power on the road, I recently stuck my laptop’s power adapter in a drawer, slipped a POWERADD Pilot Pro2 into my messenger bag, and took it out into the world. Over the last week, I tested how well this little power bank works as a laptop charger, how it holds up when charging phones and other devices, and whether or not it’s worth adding to your arsenal.
The POWERADD Pilot Pro2 isn’t the best-looking power bank I’ve ever used, but it definitely has its own style. The biggest issue is that the top is a two-tone piano black and matte silver, and the underside of the unit is made of white plastic. The three-color approach doesn’t look that great when viewed from the side, and the white plastic gives it a bit of a cheap look overall.
In terms of size, it’s about the size of a trade paperback, a little thinner, and significantly heavier. It’s small enough to slip into your briefcase, bag, or purse, but this isn’t a power bank that you’re going to want to carry around in your pocket.
The overall aesthetic is a little dated when sitting next to my Pixel 3 and HP Spectre x360, but it’s small enough that it doesn’t get in the way or draw too much attention.
The initial setup is painless. Take the Pilot Pro2 out of the box, plug it into power, and you’re good to go. It’s a good idea to charge it to full before using it, which took me just shy of three hours, but you can technically use it while it’s charging if your device doesn’t draw too much power.
If you want to use it to power your laptop, setup is just a little more complicated. First, you need to plug the included barrel connector into the appropriate jack, then locate the adapter tip that’s designed for your laptop, and plug it in. Then you tap the power button to select the correct output voltage, and plug in your laptop.
The only way the process could be easier would be if the Pilot Pro2 was capable of selecting the correct voltage output automatically. For phones and other USB devices, that process actually is automatic.
The most important thing is that you can use the Pilot Pro2 as a charger while its own internal battery is charging.
The display on the Pilot Pro2 is tiny, but it gets the job done. It shows a visual representation of the remaining battery charge, the percentage remaining on the charge, and it shows the output voltage if you tap the power button. It stays on all the time on if the power bank is plugged in, and it turns off automatically after about three seconds if the battery is being drained.
When it comes to sockets and ports, the Pilot Pro2 comes up a bit short. It features two full-sized USB ports, one barrel connector input, and one barrel connector output. Both USB ports are capable of putting out 1 or 2.5A depending on the needs of your devices, and the barrel connector can output 5, 9, 12, 16, 19 and 20V.
Since the barrel connector is designed to provide power to your laptop in lieu of your actual laptop power adapter, the Pilot Pro2 also comes with a nice assortment of adapter tips. Ten tips are included out of the box, for fairly decent coverage of Sony, Toshiba, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, HP, Samsung, and Dell laptops.
While the coverage is pretty good, you’ll want to check to make sure that the package actually includes a tip that will work with your laptop. There are two tips designed for HP, but neither one worked with my HP Spectre x360. Since that’s my daily driver whenever I’m out of the office, I had to grab a compatible tip to really put the Pilot Pro2 through its paces.
The Pilot Pro2 comes with a 23,000 mAh battery, which isn’t bad for a power bank this size and price. It isn’t enough juice to keep a power-hungry laptop like the HP Spectre x360 going all day out of the office, but it’s plenty if you have periodic access to power in your car, at a coffee shop, or anywhere else you can plug in for a while.
When plugged into my completely dead HP Spectre x360 15 and left alone, with the laptop off, I found that the Pilot Pro2 wasn’t quite able to top it off. When used exclusively with my Pixel 3, I was able to get a full five charges with a little juice left over.
POWERADD says that the Pilot Pro2 takes 12 hours to fully charge its 23,000 mAh battery, but I found that to be wildly high. With nothing plugged into it, I found that the Pilot Pro2 charges to full, from completely dead, in under four hours.
The most important thing is that you can use the Pilot Pro2 as a charger while its own internal battery is charging. That means I was safely able to leave my HP Spectre x360’s power adapter at home and run entirely off the Pilot Pro2. It charges its own internal battery slower when you ask it to simultaneously power other devices, but it saves the weight and space of packing both a power bank and a laptop power adapter.
The Pilot Pro2 has two USB ports. It says that one provides 1A and the other provides 2.5A, but I didn’t notice any difference in charging speed when plugging into one versus the other. Both ports provided 1.46A to my Pixel 3.
While USB chargers that put out 2.5A are sometimes referred to as quick or fast, the kind of charging you can expect from a device like the Pilot Pro2 is completely different than the fast charging you get from phones like the iPhone X or Pixel 4 and a factory charger. The charging speed is exactly as fast as any other 2.5A USB charger.
While the coverage is pretty good, you’ll want to check to make sure that the package actually includes a tip that will work with your laptop.
With an MSRP of $90, and a battery capacity of 23,000mAh, the POWERADD Pilot Pro2 is on the expensive side of the scale. You can find larger capacity power banks for less, and you can find similarly priced devices that offer more USB ports for a similar amount of money.
The Pilot Pro2 stumbles when compared to generic power bricks, but it shines when compared to power bricks that are designed to operate as laptop power supplies. Instead of having a power outlet to plug in your own adapter, this unit can actually replace your current adapter for travel, or replace your adapter entirely if the old one is lost or broken.
Since you’re really getting two devices in one, the Pilot Pro2 price isn’t that bad.
The Pilot Pro2 compares quite well with the Omni Mobile, which is one of its closest competitors in terms of function and price. The Omni Mobile sells for quite a bit more, typically priced at $130 (see on Amazon), and the 25,600mAh battery is only slightly larger than the Pilot Pro 2’s.
Unlike the Pilot Pro2, the Omni Mobile has a USB-C port that’s capable of 60W output, but you have to buy an additional fast charger component if you want to be able to take advantage of your phone’s fast charging functionality. It also has two regular USB ports and includes a built-in wireless charger, which the Pilot Pro2 lacks.
If your laptop is covered by one of the adapter tips that come with the Pilot Pro2, then the Pilot Pro2 represents a significantly better value than the Omni Mobile. That value is diminished a bit if you have to go through the work of finding your own adapter tip, and the Omni Mobile also makes a fine choice if you’re looking for a portable wireless charger and don’t mind paying extra for that feature.
Replaces your laptop and phone chargers.
The Pilot Pro2 is a fantastic combination of a laptop charger, phone charger, and power bank. It’s priced too high for a regular power bank, but the fact that it was able to totally replace both my laptop and cell phone chargers in my road kit makes it an easy recommendation. Consider checking out the Omni20 or Omni Mobile if you really need wireless charging, but the Pilot Pro2 makes for a tremendous economy of weight and size compared to the devices it replaces.