Apple World Today readers have probably had their fill of reviews of battery packs. There are battery cases, external battery packs, USB-C battery packs, and just about every other external power source you can imagine. But what if you need an AC outlet when you’re out in the woods? Today we’re going to look at the Renogy Phoenix 100 Mini Power Station (US$159.99), a battery pack that leaves most of its competitors in the dust.
Batteries aren’t lightweight, so you can imagine that a 27,000mAh capacity power station like this weighs a bit more than the usual external battery pack. At 17.8 ounces (705g), the Renogy Phoenix 100 isn’t lightweight. It’s also a bit larger - 2.7 x 2.7 x 6.1 inches (6.9 x 6.9 x 15.4 cm), so you’re not going to pop it into the pocket on your pants.
That extra weight and size gives you an amazing advantage, though. Not only does the Phoenix 100 have a tremendous amount of power available, but it also has USB-C and USB-A 5V outlet ports as well as something you won’t find on most other external battery packs — an AC outlet.
That AC outlet means that the Phoenix 100 contains an inverter, a device that takes the DC (direct current) output of the battery and converts it into AC (alternating current), the same type of power that is used in your house. With an AC outlet, the Phoenix 100 can power any 110V/60Hz device up to 85W (100W max).
The Phoenix 100 can be charged through a micro-USB port on the top of the device as well as through the USB-C port. In fact, for ultra fast charging it’s possible to use both the USB-C and micro-USB ports as input.
What can you plug into this other than the usual consumer electronics? Here are some ideas:
A fan to keep you cool at your campsite
A portable projector, for movie nights anywhere
Some in-home medical devices, like CPAP machines and breast pumps (perfect during extended power outages)
Small coolers and mini fridges
Power a telescope drive
Plug in a small amp for an impromptu outside concert
Really, anything that draws less than 100W of power can be powered by the Phoenix 100. It has a small built-in fan to keep the battery cool during discharge, and also comes with overcharge, short circuit and current surge protection.
The device also comes with a small canvas carrying bag with hand strap, a USB-A to USB-C cable, and a USB-A to micro-USB cable.
The review Phoenix 100 came with just a small amount of charge. The charge level can be checked by pressing the power button once, and there are five bright blue LEDs that show the relative battery level. For most consumer electronics, just plugging them into the USB-C or USB-A ports will start charging. To start the AC output, the power button is held for three seconds. A small green LED indicates that the AC outlet is live, and the cooling fan turns on.
27,000mAh of power sounds like a big number, and it is. Here’s how many times you can recharge popular Apple products with that much power:
2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro — 2.8 times
2019 13-inch MacBook Pro — 1.7 times
2019 15-inch MacBook Pro — 1.7 times
2019 MacBook Air — 1.9 times
iPhone XS Max — 8.5 times
iPhone 8 Plus — 10 times
You’d even be able to run a 27-inch iMac Retina 5K off of the AC outlet of the Phoenix 100, although only at “idle”.
For my tests, I decided to light up my office “aspen tree” — it’s a faux tree that I outfitted with multiple strands of white Christmas lights a few years ago, and it is plugged into a Koogeek HomeKit-compatible power strip. No problem — the hundreds of small lights lit up, powered by the Phoenix 100. Once I turned the lights off using Siri, the fan on the Phoenix 100 continued to run for a minute before shutting off.
Just because Renogy suggested that I could run a printer from the Phoenix 100, I plugged my old Epson WF-3540 printer into it and ran it off of battery power while printing a few pages. I don’t think the Phoenix 100 even breathed hard, as the printer only uses 17W of power.
If you’re looking for a high-capacity portable power source or if you need the ability to power low-wattage AC devices, look no further than the Renogy Phoenix 100 Mini Power Station.
Want to buy one and help support Apple World Today at the same time? Click this link to purchase a Renogy Phoenix 100 Mini Power Station through the Amazon Affiliates program.