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My kid needed a new portable charger, so I bought myself this instead

The Anker Prime Power Bank sitting on a desk.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

If there’s one thing a teenage kid can’t live without (and that list seems to grow longer by the month), it’s a portable battery to keep their phone charged up. Whether they’re in school and have to charge on the sly throughout the day, or if they’re running the streets with their friends, or staring into the social abyss that is TikTok, power is at a premium.

And so it was of little surprise when my youngest daughter said her old battery bank just wasn’t getting the job done anymore. That left me just one thing to do: As any good father would, I gave her my slim battery that lives in my gear bag. And I took advantage of Anker’s Black Friday deals and bought myself something much cooler.

Behold, the Anker Prime Power Bank. It’s not small. It’s not slim. It’s not what I would call inexpensive. And that’s why it’s going in my bag, and not in my 13-year-old’s. Let’s take a quick walk around the hefty charger.

The ports on top of the Anker Prime Power Bank.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

First things first: this is a 20,000 mAh battery. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of three to five full charges of your average smartphone, depending on capacity. So that’s cool. More capacity means more size and weight, though, so be prepared for that. The Prime (as I’m going to call it) is about 5 inches tall and about 2 inches wide and deep. It’s not tiny. It’s not going to slip into your pocket. And it weighs about 18.5 ounces, or just over 1 pound.

And, yes, that’s a color screen on the front. It’s ridiculous. I’ve owned phones with lesser resolution. But you get a lot of good information on the screen — something that simply can’t be done with a series of four or five little lighted dots you generally find on a power bank. I don’t want to guess at how much charge is left in the battery, or whether it’s actually charging my device. I want numbers. I want details.

And you get plenty of that here. The remaining charge is shown in percentage as well as visually. When you plug in your phone earbuds  — or even a full laptop — you can see how much power it’s pulling down, and which of the three ports — two USB-C, and one USB-A — is in use. There’s also a power button on the side, which isn’t exactly uncommon for battery banks. But this one also lets you put it in trickle-charge mode, which is what you’ll need to do for devices that don’t utilize any sort of fast charging. (Basically, if it’s not a phone or a computer or something more power-hungry.)

And when it’s time to recharge the battery itself, you’re told in no uncertain terms how long it’s going to take to top off, and the speed at which it’s being recharged. That’s excellent.

It’s perhaps a little silly to have a battery bank that actually requires reading the instructions — do it, because of that aforementioned trickle-charge thing — or actually has settings that you can adjust. It is, and this does. Press the battery button again to see the battery health (which should eventually start to drop as the battery ages), the total number of times the battery has cycled (think one full discharge and recharge), as well as temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius. You also can adjust the screen timeout from the default 30 seconds to either 1 minute, 5 minutes, or 30 minutes, and you can lower the screen brightness from high to medium.

There’s also an optional charging dock available for the Anker Prime Power Bank. I didn’t get it because I didn’t want to spend the money and I already have enough charging ports on my desk. But if you pay for it — it’s another $40 during Black Friday — you’ll get an extra USB-A port and two more USB-C ports to use while the power bank itself is charging wirelessly via the contacts on the bottom. It’s very cool and looks to be nicely designed, but also not at all necessary.

Need another sweetener? The battery comes with a travel pouch, which I’ll probably actually use so as to not scratch the screen quite so fast. And the 2-foot USB-C cable is a nice addition, too.

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Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
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