Review: Omnicharge Omni 20 USB-C Portable Battery Pack

Review: Omnicharge Omni 20 USB-C Portable Battery Pack

There are way too many battery packs on the market these days. That’s just a fact. But since it came out, Omnicharge has been my absolute favorite high-end external charging system. Its USB-C model continues to deliver the quality I’ve come to expect from the company’s excellent products.

Because we have so many choices when it comes to external power, it makes sense to be particular about where we put our money. It makes sense to want something that will last, that’s as compact as possible, and that can finally actually charge a professional laptop (I’m sick of 45-watt chargers that only go halfway, aren’t you?). And that’s where the Omnicharge Omni 20 USB-C really fills the gaps.

However, let’s get my two issues with this out of the way. First, it features 60-watt USB-C output. That’s enough for any of the modern 13-inch laptops. As for the 15-inch, Omnicharge claims it can charge laptops like the Dell XPS 15, which uses a massive 130-watt charger normally. Of course, it does charge, but perhaps not as quickly as one would like. It really would have been swell to include 85-watt charging capability for full 15-inch MacBook Pro charging. So that’s my issue. That, and the smaller issue that it comes without a USB-C cable (for which it uses to charge; but of course, you presumably have one of those already).

It's definitely bigger than an iPhone, but this massive battery pack is still impressively small for its size. Other 20,000+ mAh batteries are usually quite a bit larger.

Form

With the only minor issues out of the way, let’s dive into what I am happy to consider the best battery pack around. We’ll keep this short because it’s basic, but the Omni 20 USB-C is very well-designed. It features the same build quality and design as the Omni 20 that came before it (which features an AC charging and barrel ports instead of USB-C). And the overall feel is both technical and minimalist at the same time.

A great button system turns on either the two USB-A ports and/or both USB-C ports while all the buttons along with the power button double as menu buttons to take you through a number of detailed options on the most informative display I’ve ever seen on a battery pack. Seriously, you can really do whatever you need to with this system. You can see the charge and discharge rates, current temperature, USB-C power deliver or USB-A power delivery modes, and more.

Function

With the nearly the same 20,100-mAh battery inside as the standard Omni 20, the USB-C version will give you a ton of phone charges and one and a half full laptop charges on Apple’s latest 13-inch MacBook Pro. Of course, you lose a little efficiency in the power transfer, but you can count on some serious charging capability with this pack.

The two USB-C ports are on opposing sides, which provides a nice level of flexibility, but does produce a bit of a cable branching when you have a lot of devices plugged in at once.

Of course, you’re going to lose efficiency along the way, as nothing is perfectly efficient. For example, the battery technically has three times the capacity of a 15-inch MacBook Pro. But I got just about two charges for a 13-inch MacBook Pro when all was said and done, although that was while running it for a few minutes. So we’ll call it two hours and change. Still, that’s a good amount of extra productivity for a laptop that runs hours on its own already. It should get you through any flight on Earth. And while it would be nice to have 85-watt charging, the 60-watt charge function does work well, and the other USB-C port can simultaneously do another 40 watts for a friend with a standard MacBook, perhaps. You can have everything plugged into this battery, and will actually charge on every port at a rather impressive speed. That’s neat.

USB-A charging can take place at 15 watts, which is as much as or more than any phone or even the iPad Pro (for now) will take. With the first port running at 15 watts, a second device will be limited to 10 watts, which is still quite respectable.

The display and button backlights will turn off automatically after some time to (obviously) save some battery. But they all come back on with a press of a button.

What I Liked

  • Well-designed, feels superb in hands
  • Great battery capacity, especially for its size
  • Two USB-C and two USB-A ports are plenty for any portable needs
  • USB-C power delivery is more efficient than using an AC plug with your OEM charger, which you would have to do with the standard Omni 20
  • Cheaper than non-USB-C Omni 20, which is unusual for devices supporting the fairly new standard
  • Obviously better than a portable USB charger that can only charge your phone

What I Didn’t Like

  • Would love to have 85W charging
  • Should come with a USB-C charging cable
  • Still a bit pricey, but worth it if you ask me (it's all you'll ever need)

Conclusion

Even with the few issues I have with it, the Omni 20 USB-C is my favorite charger. Omnicharge got its start on Indiegogo, but is now producing outside of the crowdfunding market as well. I do think it's a bit pricey, but I'm also a huge fan of getting products that you only need one of. I've had so many USB-only chargers over the years that it drives me nuts. I don't want to throw them away (or recycle!) them, but they're just sitting around — so many of them simply broken. But one well-built, do-it-all device really makes sense. So I'm okay paying for that quality to have something I can always count on. It certainly helps that it looks and feels great in the hands as well. These people know how to make something that's actaully — to put it simply — good.

If you’re interested in more information, check out my original review of the Omnicharge Omni 20 (with AC and barrel ports). The Omni 20 USB-C is available now, but backordered for about a week, from B&H for $199. The standard Omni 20 is available now for $249.99, while a smaller, 13,600 mAh version goes for $149.

Log in or register to post comments

16 Comments

Alex Armitage's picture

Adam, what is the weight?

Adam Ottke's picture

It weighs 1.1 lbs. It has some heft, but it's not terrible...

Johnny Rico's picture

"For example, the battery technically has three times the capacity of a 15-inch MacBook Pro" I believe this to be incorrect. According to spec sheets they are roughly the same size.

Adam Ottke's picture

Thanks for the correction. That was incorrectly written, there. I have updated it (and it makes more sense now that it's a bit less than two charges for a 13" and perhaps even a bit less for a 15", etc.).

Alex Armitage's picture

Would love to know how many times I could 20%>85% my MBP (Avoiding the hardest charging %'s)

Johnny Rico's picture

I'm really still not understanding your numbers.

" For example, the battery technically has three times the capacity of a 15-inch MacBook Pro"

Omnicharge Omni 20- 73 Wh

13" MBP 49.2-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
15" MBP 76.0-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery

Since your are not measuring as a straight discharge test to verify the manufacture numbers, you are letting your aged MBP chemistries overinflated what these battery packs and what they offer.

Adam Ottke's picture

Agh. Thanks. It's the 13" that gets the 1.5 charges and the 15" gets about one. That works in real-world testing, too, which makes sense.

Matthew Saville's picture

I'm still on the hunt for a ~7.5V battery power source that can be plugged directly into a camera "dummy" battery, instead of the juice-wasting (converting voltages upward from 3.5V 1-cell) 5V USB type batteries, such as the Case Relay. This sounds awesome, but not sure if I need all the fancy tech. I'm currently just using 7.5V LiPO batteries for RC cars, spliced directly into a dummy battery...

Johnny Rico's picture

SWIT S-8972 7.2V, 47Wh

Came across this when I was looking for V-Mount to BMMCC dummy LP-E6. The cheesycam guy uses it and wrote about it.

Matthew Saville's picture

6,600 mAh, that's pretty respectable for something that actually spits out 7.2V! I've considered those stylye batteries in the past, maybe I should consider again.

You could buy an Anker Powercore with a 26,800 mAh battery for $87 or half the price of the Omnicharge. It will also come with QuickCharge 3.0. [https://www.amazon.com/Anker-PowerCore-Portable-Capacity-PowerPort/dp/B0...

The Omnicharge isn't worth the price.

Joe Martinez's picture

I dig the digital read-out on the Omni, but yeah, the Anker Powercore is awesome. Been using it for about a month now, and although it is a brick (1.3lbs), it's been a great addition to my camera bag, and it's gotten me through some tight situations while on the road.

Bill Peppas's picture

Anker is a much more proficient company in this segment, with most definitely better products in term of electrical design, durability and performance.
They also had a magnificent, relatively mobile power bank with 3 usb quickcharge 3 ports and a regular AC outlet for any kind of chargers.
Now they replaced it with the PowerHouse 120000... not so mobile anymore :D

Adam Ottke's picture

I get that it's half of the price. And not sure it's worth double for the added power output, but it is still a bit more limiting compared to the Omni's dual USB-C output that's also rated higher. I think Anker's 30w max is a bit limiting for pro users...

Two things, Adam:

1) Most folks still aren't on USB-C. If anything, you will find that most pros are still using older USB outputs because they are carrying around so much legacy tech (including their cameras, most tablets and even laptops). So the USB-C output argument doesn't really matter much in the real world for most folks.

2) There are some even more-powerful options than either the Anker or the Omnicharge, all of which cost less than the latter. This includes offerings from Maxoak (which has a 50,000mAh battery pack that charges up to 90W) for around $136, and Zerolemon's offering (at $169).
Given how little the Omnicharge is providing at its price point (and given that there are plenty of pros who use an Anker, Aukey or RAVPower power bank), it becomes really hard to justify the purchase.

Certainly I understand why you may prefer the Omnicharge. But it must also be noted that a preference doesn't necessarily mean best or even good. In the marketplace, for pros and hobbyists alike,the Omnicharge is expensive compared to what it offers.

I think that the whole USB-C transition is indeed in the very early stage and that is why most folks don't have it yet. However, these companies are targeting people that are aware of the changes and want to be ready. Now, I completely agree with your second point there and I would like to add the Lifepowr A3 which includes USB-C Power Delivery and AC output as well as supporting Pass-through charging. Worth checking out! Thank you for your comment.