AskBorg ChargeCube 20,800 mAh Power Bank Review
I have been testing the AskBorg ChargeCube 20,800 mAh power bank for the better part of two weeks now. The ChargeCube is now the newest addition in my collection of my high capacity power banks sitting between the Aukey PB-T11 30,000 mAh and LifeCHARGE 16,800 mAh power banks. Today, we'll be taking a look at just how this power bank holds up, highlighting the pros and cons, and ultimately determining if this is right for you.
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Output 2 (SpeedID)
Up to 3.1A
16.3 x 7.9 x 2.2cm
As mentioned before, the ChargeCube has a capacity of 20,800 mAh capacity. With two output ports, it is cable of simultaneously charging two devices at once. Like some of the other power banks on the market, the ChargeCube has its own fast charging capabilities dubbed the SpeedID. According to AskBorg, SpeedID is capable of detecting the highest input current your device accepts and can crank it up to 3A to deliver a much faster charging experience.
AskBorg has listed estimated charging experiences on their product listing page:
- Charges an iPhone 6 eight times
- Charges an iPhone 6 Plus five times
- Charges iPad Air one and a half times
Throughout this review, we will be taking a closer look to see just how this power bank holds up.
First Look: Packaging
The packaging is kept nice, simple, and clean. It's always a plus in my book when I see the contact information clearly presented. Although you know what the brand is, you should not have to go to the product website in order to find out how to contact the seller.
After exploring the AskBorg site a bit more, it appears the primary method of contact is through email. Since they do have listings on Amazon, it is possible to contact support through there as well.
Through my experience corresponding with the staff at AskBorg, they are very on top of things. They have been consistently replying within a 24 hour turnaround. In my experience, this is standard and quite acceptable for a company just starting up.
The packaging contents are standard as well. Inside, you will find the power bank itself, a short explanation of SpeedID, the instructions manual, and a micro-USB charging cord. On another note, I would've liked to see something similar to what Aukey did and provide a USB-C cord in keeping up with the latest trends as more and more smartphones are adopting this standard.
Following up with the charging cord, kudos to AskBorg for setting the record straight on their site as they explicitly state that the Apple lightning cable and AC charger are not included. Despite this being expected, it's nice to see a final warning is provided for those that did not know.
I personally take these so called fast-charging technologies with a grain of salt since they all carry a different name to differentiate themselves from the competitors. To name a few that I've noticed, Anker calls it PowerIQ, Kinkoo calls it iPower, and Unu calls it Super-X. The only exception that comes to mind is probably with Aukey's power bank as they have adopted to Qualcomm's QuickCharge 3.0.
Nevertheless, all these power banks have one dedicated port to attempt to charge your device faster. To me, this is just a nice to have. I do not consider a nice to have as the main purpose of a power bank is to provide you with a top-up where an AC outlet is not readily available.
The instructions manual is very straight forward covering topics of how to charge the power bank and how to use the power bank. What I would like to go over is the warranty policy structure that AskBorg offers.
AskBorg's warranty and refund policy is very attractive, probably the best I have ever seen. To start off with, they offer a 30-day refund guarantee provided you do not damage the power bank in any way and provide the packaging. This is a great policy for you to try out the power bank and see if it is to your liking. Perhaps this power bank is to heavy for your daily commute? Perhaps you don't like the size or dimensions? Whatever the reason is, you have 30-days to return it if it is not to your liking.
When it comes to the warranty itself, AskBorg offers up to an 18-month warranty with the following breakdowns:
- AskBorg will take care of all quality related issues with a replacement or refund with requests within country of purchase
- For requests outside the country of the country of purchase, a 50% refund will be offered provided the product cannot be returned due to shipping related concerns
- For requests for orders shipped internationally through Amazon or eBay, a full refund will be provided with no option of issuing a replacement
After familiarizing myself with their site, it doesn't appear they handle shopping and checkout options. At the moment, all order placements are redirected to either Amazon or eBay so the third bullet point of the warranty applies to most of us.
With a full aluminum construction, this power bank feels great in the hands. It has a very premium feel to it and also very grippy as well given its tall design. The AskBorg logo sits neatly near the bottom with the digital display located at the top.
The back of the power bank simply has the required regulatory labels detailing the model number, capacity, input and output specifications. It shares the same texture and design like the front.
Finally the moment we've all been waiting for! What makes this power bank so unique is the digital display that I have only seen on one power bank previously - the LifeCHARGE 16,800 mAh. However, this is an incredible upgrade from my old LifeCHARGE and here's why.
The digital display is a huge perk as it offers precision battery levels versus the conventional 4 LED lights representing 25% each. When a power bank is down to one of the four lights, I still don't know if it has above or below 25%. More importantly, I do not know if it is safe to take it out of the house for my daily commute! The other advantage is it allows me to estimate the time to fully charge. I no longer have to wonder what the charge progress is on the 4th blinking light as seen with other power banks.
One thing to notice is that the display shows the word "out" on it. This means that it is currently emitting an output charge to my device even though no device is plugged in. In this case, the power bank will auto shut-off in a minute or so. This isn't a big issue, but I would've liked to see the display indicate which output port is currently in use or maybe if SpeedID itself is activated.
What sets the ChargeCube apart from the LifeCHARGE is in two areas. The first is capacity. The ChargeCube's 20,800 mAh capacity is an easy choice over the 16,800 mAh offered by LifeCHARGE. The second is I will choose an aluminum body over a plastic one any day, there is no question about it.
The outlines are a bit hard to see as the labels are engraved into the case. The label on top of the port on the left side simply says "Output: 2.1A". This is the maximum current output it is capable of. The center port is a micro-USB input with the label "input" on the top. This is solely for charging the power bank itself. Finally, the port on the right side is labelled "Speed ID". This is designed to dynamically charge your electronic devices at the fastest speed possible. I recommend using the Speed ID port whenever possible as it could potentially reduce your charging time. If not, then it'll just be charged at its standard regulated pace.
The charge tests is broken down to two aspects - charging the power bank and charging my phone.
When it comes to charging the power bank, I used my Anker 40W 5-port multi-charger. It took close to 14 hours to fully charge this power bank at a regulated pace. Through constant monitoring, I detected no signs of overheating. This is a good sign indicating this power bank does regulate itself quite well. I am in no means surprised by the charging time it took especially because of the huge 20,800 mAh capacity. If you are considering this power bank, do invest in a dedicated wall charger.
When it came to putting this power bank to the test, I used my Sony Xperia XZ as the charging device. One thing to keep in mind is that Sony Xperia phones intentionally charge at a slower pace and do not utilize any fast charging capabilities. This is Sony's way of preserving battery life by avoiding heat accumulation that will degrade the battery faster. With that said, the ChargeCube held up nicely as promised.
When I did the charge test, I decided to charge it once per night before going to bed just to give a realistic idea of how long this power bank can last. I was able to get four full charges and the fifth charged to the 60% mark.
One thing that concerned me when I did the initial charge test was how fast the power bank drained on its first charge. After my phone reached the 100% mark, the power bank drained down to 65% remaining. At this pace, there was no way this power bank is able to meet the stated number of recharges.
As I continued to proceed with the charge test, I noticed that the battery indicator slowed down dropping less after the the 40% mark. From this incident, I realized that the power bank probably was not properly calibrated out of the box so I proceeded to drain it and recharge it several times over to properly calibrate it. If you have experienced a faster drain out of the box, definitely take the time and calibrate this power bank by repeatedly depleting it and recharging it full a few times before evaluating its performance.
Overall, the AskBorg ChargeCube has a solid built and solid performance. Equipped with a 20,800 mAh capacity, it can charge your devices several times over great for an emergency backup or day to day use. It is an addition to my arsenal of high capacity power banks and performs on par with my previously reviewed Aukey.
The AskBorg ChargeCube scores some major points against the Aukey PB-T11 with the digital display providing improved accuracy. Furthermore, the aluminum body gives a premium feel in the hands. The shape is more rectangular than squarish, which I find is a bit more convenient to carry or hold.
Meanwhile, the Aukey is right for you if you care more about having the highest capacity available on the market at 30,000 mAh. It is also just a tad more iPhone friendly because of its lightning input port as well as the micro-USB.