Intocircuit's Power Monster 32000 is a two-tone power bank that measurements in at 7.3in x 4.9 x 1in and weighs around 1.8 pounds. The front of the device offers ports for DC in / out and two USB ports. The upper lid of the unit is black with a brushed aluminum piece, small monochrome LCD and power button. The LCD display is not overly complicated and displays the ports being used, the available capacity of the battery and output voltage. The bottom half of the device is a bright orange plastic cover that offers labels for each of the ports and completes the two-tone aesthetic.
The Power Monster isn't the most elegant piece of hardware and is the definition of utilitarian design. But that is to be expected when attempting to cram 32,000 mAh worth of batteries into a small box the size of a small book or external desktop hard drive. After using it for a month and packing it in a bag, I have yet to see any scuffs or markings on the exterior. The build seems solid, despite being made of plastic and should be able to withstand a majority of the normal wear and tear thrown at it.
The power bank has two USB ports (2.1A and 1A) and a DC out. During my month with the unit, I used it to charge numerous mobile devices and my MacBook Air. For the most part, charging via USB is a familiar experience as you have the option of charging with a 1A or 2.1A USB charging port. For a majority of my USB charging, I relied on the 2.1A port due to its ability to charge devices faster. Naturally, there were no surprises when it came to charging via USB as it is mostly plug and play and does not differ from charging via a wall adapter or other external battery.
What makes Intocircuit's bank unique is its ability to charge larger devices via its DC out port. The package includes a variety of tips for laptops and other smaller devices. If you have a more specialized device (Surface, MacBook) you will need to purchase the proper adapter cord which is available online for around 6-10 dollars. While the USB charging was plug and play, the DC port required a bit more knowledge and research. Unlike the USB, the DC charging port does not auto configure the voltage to your device and you are required select the appropriate amount. The available voltage options are 9, 12, 16, 19 and 20. Naturally, this posed a bit of a dilemma that involved risking my $900 laptop to a $130 charging accessory - this led me to dig inside the box in an attempt to locate the instruction card.
While there is a fairly thorough instruction card on the product, it doesn't really offer any clues for the layman on how to properly charge your device using the DC port. It does lay out the fact that you must choose the proper voltage for your device, but gives no clues on how exactly to obtain that information for your device. You can either check your power cord where it should be listed or search online for the appropriate voltage for your product. After locating the necessary voltage, I was able to successfully charge my device. Unfortunately, I did feel a bit uneasy as the exact voltage for my laptop wasn't available, so I had to choose a higher one. But during my month of use, I have not had an issue. Naturally, I don't intend to use this on a daily basis and will reserve charging my laptop when out on assignment or when a standard wall plug is not available. Overall, the charging portion works well, but better instructions using the DC port would've been appreciated.
The Power Monster lives up to its name of being able to provide "monster power" for all of my devices. But, during my testing, I found that it does not quite offer the impressive 32,000mAh of charge the product promises. While I didn't crack open the device or test how efficient the battery transfers power using tools, I did gauge the amount of charge the power bank was able to output by recording how many times it could charge a device. During most of my tests, I found that the unit could provide around 20,000mAh of output using the DC and / or USB.
I did reach out to the manufacturer and asked about the lower charging capability, the company responded that while the power bank does offer 32,000mAh, the actual output might be less due to certain inefficiencies that could hinder the packs potential of providing the full 32,000mAh. In reality, the pack should be able to provide roughly 60-70% which equates to around 20-22,000mAh. Naturally, I was a bit disappointed, but I was still able to achieve around 20-22,000mAh of charge consistently using both the DC and USB ports. While not a deal breaker, it's definitely something to keep in mind, especially when trying to estimate how much charge you actually have left on the power bank.
The second issue that I encountered with the power bank is its gradual decrease in power while not actually using the device. What I found after multiple tests is that the power bank will discharge at a rate of 1% an hour just by having a USB or DC cable plugged in (not attached to a smartphone or laptop). I have reached out to the manufacturer on this issue as well, and apparently it was an unknown issue. The company has indeed confirmed my findings and has assured me that they will be revising the product to eliminate the issue and will attempt to educate current and future clients of the discovered problem.
While I have previously owned and used a few different types of battery packs in the past, this is the first that offers the ability to charge all of my portable products. The defining feature of being able to charge a laptop makes a world of difference. I honestly had some reservations when I first unboxed it due to its size and weight, but after being on the go and attending some conventions, this thing is a must-have. I have no issue trading off the near 2 pounds in weight, due to its versatility and its ability to charge all of my products - multiple times. The $130 price tag might be a tad high for most, but if you are looking for a versatile power bank, this is the pack for you.
I'd like to extend a big 'Thank You' to the folks at HisGadget Inc. who supplied the Intocircuit Power Monster 32000 mAh Portable Charger External Battery Pack for this review. If you are interested in purchasing this device, you can pick it up from HisGadget's official Amazon store. You can check out more at HisGadget's official product page.