It feels a little weird to be reviewing power banks at a time when more people are staying home than ever. These are accessories that mainly exist for those times when you’re out and about, not near a power outlet. But that’s not the only time a power bank can be useful. I’ve been using the AUKEY PB-Y32 and PB-Y24 for a couple of weeks, and despite mostly never leaving my house, they’ve been nice to have around.
While the names of these two power banks aren’t very attractive, the functionality they offer is pretty great. The AUKEY PB-Y32 is a pretty typical mobile power bank with 10,000mAh capacity, 18W Power Delivery (PD), and wireless charging. The AUKEY PB-Y24, on the other hand, is the more interesting of the two. It has a capacity of 26,800mAh and 65W PD capable of charging laptops.
- Capacity: 10,000mAh / 38.5Wh
- Micro-USB In: 5V 2A, 9V 2A
- USB-C In: (18W Power Delivery 3.0) 5V 3A, 9V 2A
- USB-C Out: (18W Power Delivery 3.0) 5V 3A, 9V 2A, 12V 1.5A
- USB-A Out: (Quick Charge 3.0) 5–6V 3A, 6–9V 2A, 9–12V 1.5A
- Wireless Charging Output: 5W, 7.5W, 10W
As I mentioned above, the AUKEY PB-Y32 is the more traditional offering. This is the type of power bank you’re probably familiar with. It has a compact footprint that can easily fit in a bag or pocket. There are three ports: Quick Charge 3.0 USB-A output, USB-C PD input/output, and a micro-USB input. The bank comes with a short USB-C to USB-C cable in the box.
The design is as utilitarian as most power banks. The ports are all on the bottom side along with five indicator lights, and the power button is on the left side. The purpose of these lights is a little confusing at first, along with the function of the power button. You may not think you need to read the user manual for a battery pack, but this is one time where I really needed it.
When you press the power button, all five lights will turn on. The four small white lights show the remaining power. The fifth light is orange and it indicates when the wireless charging feature is active. Wireless charging is only active for about 15 seconds when you first turn the device on, after which it will turn off if you haven’t placed a device on top. The orange light slowly blinks when a device is wirelessly charging.
The top of the battery pack is covered in very grippy rubber. If the lightning bolt icon isn’t enough of a clue, this is where you place your phone for wireless charging. The rubber does a great job of making sure your phone stays in the correct position, but it’s also a huge dust magnet. I don’t think I’ve ever used a product that picks up as much dust as this rubbery power bank.
Wireless charging begins at 5W. If no other devices are charging, it will automatically bump up to 7.5W or 10W depending on the device. You can press the power button while using wired charging to enable wireless charging. If you do that, wired charging is limited to 15W and wireless charging will be at 5W.
Wired charging works exactly how you would expect. Simply plug in the included cable or a cable of your own and connect a device. You can only fast charge one device at a time. The USB-C PD port has an 18W charging speed, which can fast charge most Android smartphones. The USB-A Quick Charge 3.0 port can also quickly charge compatible Android devices, but it downgrades to 12W for any non-Quick Charge compatible phone.
One thing to note is there’s a delay when switching from standard speed to fast charging. If there are two devices charging and you switch to just one USB-C PD device, it will take 10 seconds to switch over to fast charging.
Low-Current Charging Mode
One interesting feature that I haven’t noticed on many other power banks is a “Low-Current” charging mode. This mode is for charging devices below 60mA, such as wireless headphones or some fitness bands. You can try this mode if you notice a small device isn’t charging in the standard mode.
To enable Low-Current charging, press and hold the power button for 2 seconds. The first of the four white indicator lights will turn green when this mode is enabled. The power bank will automatically switch back to standard charging after 2 hours in this Low-Current mode.
Something I haven’t mentioned yet is the battery capacity, which is 10,000mAh. That’s a great capacity for a power bank of this size, which only weighs about 8 ounces. I was able to top off my phone at the end of the day several times before needing to juice up the bank again, and charging the bank doesn’t take long, especially with 18W PD.
I’ve used a few power banks similar to the AUKEY PB-Y32, including the Mophie Powerstation Hub, which I also reviewed. One of the things I really liked about the Powerstation was the integrated AC outlet prongs. It meant you never had to worry about having a cable to charge the actual power bank. That’s something I really miss with the PB-Y32. Thankfully, it does take micro-USB or USB-C for charging the bank, so you should have a cable nearby.
Other than that, this is a very solid and well-built power bank. Having wireless charging wherever you want is great. I found myself using that a lot as I sat at my desk. The Low-Current mode was also very useful for my headphones, which don’t charge well over normal currents.
- Capacity: 26,800mAh / 99.16Wh
- USB-C 1 In: 5V 3A, 9V 3A, 12V 3A, 15V 3A, 20V 2.25A
- USB-C 1 Out: 5V 3A, 9V 3A, 12V 3A, 15V 3A, 20V 3.25A
- USB-C 2 Out: 5V 3A, 9V 2A, 12V 1.5A
- USB-A Out: 5V–6V 3A, 6V–9V 2A, 9V–12V 1.5A
Of the two power banks, this is the one I was most excited about. I’ve used a lot of power banks in the past, but I’ve never had one capable of charging my laptop. With so many laptops these days coming with USB-C for charging, this is something more and more people can use. The AUKEY PB-Y24 can do that and more.
Compared to the PB-Y32, this is a much chunkier power bank. The reason for that is the large 26,800mAh battery capacity. You’re probably not going to stick this thing in your pocket, but it can still be easily stored in a bag. AUKEY includes a nice carrying pouch for it as well, which I’ve pretty much kept on the entire time.
There are three ports on the AUKEY PB-Y24: Quick Charge 3.0 USB-A output, USB-C PD output, and USB-C PD input/output. These three ports are on the bottom edge along with the indicator lights and the power button. The lights show the battery level and they indicate when you’re in “Low-Current” mode. It comes with one USB-C to USB-C cable.
The AUKEY PB-Y24 is all about wired charging and it can do that very well thanks to the 65W USB-C PD port. That high output is what allows this power bank to charge laptops. As mentioned, there are three output ports for charging. The 65W port that you’ll want to use for laptops is the one labeled as “In/Out.” It is possible to charge a laptop with the other ports, but you’ll likely see a warning about the device charging slowly.
As with the previous power bank, the Quick Charge 3.0 port only supports Quick Charge compatible smartphones, otherwise, it downgrades to 12W charging speed. The USB-C port labeled as Output has a max speed of 18W, which will do fast charging on most Android smartphones.
The 65W USB-C output is downgraded to 45W if you are using both USB-C ports. 45W is still a great speed for charging a laptop, which means you can easily charge a phone and laptop at the same time. That’s an extremely handy thing to have. If you are using either USB-C port with the USB-A port, the max output is only up to 15W per device.
I normally wouldn’t dedicate a section to charging the power bank itself, but with a battery capacity of this size, it does matter. The AUKEY PB-Y24 has a 26,800mAh battery, so the charging speed you use will greatly impact the time it takes. It can be charged at 12W, 18W, or 45W. You likely got a 12W or 18W charger with your smartphone; 45W is more likely to have come with your laptop.
My laptop uses USB-C for charging and it came with a 45W power adapter. Using that, I was able to charge the power bank pretty quickly. If time is not an issue, you’ll be fine with any charger you have – just know it may take longer. Also, be sure to plug it into the port labeled “In/Out.”
The ability to charge a laptop is a big selling point for me. Even before the world went into lockdown mode, I was not someone who was on the go a lot. I’m much more likely to run the battery of my laptop down to zero than my smartphone. Even in the comfort of my own home, there are places I like to use my laptop that aren’t near an outlet.
It’s been really nice to be able to grab the power bank and sit wherever I want, especially if I forget to charge up my laptop overnight. The laptop I use is the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302, which has great battery life on account of being a Chrome OS device. I can charge up the laptop several times before needing to recharge the power bank. Once I am able to leave my house and work at a coffee shop again, I can see this being a constant in my bag. No more scoping out a seat next to an outlet.
Low-Current Charging Mode
Just like the PB-Y32, the AUKEY PB-Y24 has the “Low-Current” charging mode. It works in the exact same way as the other power bank. Simply hold down the power button for 2 seconds to enable this mode, indicated by an orange light.
I really like the AUKEY PB-Y24. Obviously, it depends on your lifestyle and gadget usage, but for me, this is the power bank to get. I’ve used a lot of mobile battery packs in the past and while I love the concept, they didn’t find their way into my daily life. A power bank that can not only charge my phones but also my laptop is much more powerful (by multiple definitions).
A power bank like this is more expensive, but it also offers more versatility. You can charge basically every gadget you own, from the high-powered laptop to the tiny wireless earbuds. If you’re someone who works from a laptop a lot, I think this is a great product to add to your arsenal. I can also see this being great for road trips and camping in areas that don’t have power.
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