Portable Power for All Your Devices: We Review the Anker PowerHouse II 300

If you’re someone who spends many hours or even days away from a power source, you know how difficult it can be to keep all of your devices properly powered. With a huge battery and a variety of smart features, the Anker PowerHouse II 300 seeks to address this conundrum. In this review, we take a look at the PowerHouse and its performance.

I have always been a fan of Anker products. The company produces a variety of quality power supplies, cables, and more at competitive prices, and they have never disappointed me.

The Anker PowerHouse II 300 (Model 523) is essentially a very large battery (289 Wh) inside a handy portable case and paired with a variety of useful features and connections for charging devices. To put the size of a 289 Wh battery into perspective, the PowerHouse II 300 can charge a 2020 MacBook Air 3-4 times, an iPad Air 7 times, an iPhone 13 20 times, or a typical camera 16 times. It can also run a mini fridge for over 5 hours or a typical LED TV for around 6 hours.

Features

  • Capacity: 80,000 mAh / 289 Wh Li-ion battery
  • Weight: 4.19 kg / 9.24 lbs
  • Dimensions: 255 × 148 × 139mm / 10 × 5.8 × 5.5in
  • Production:
    • AC: 110 V, 2.72 A (300 W maximum) at 50 or 60 Hz
    • USB-A: 5V, 7.2A (2.4A maximum per port)
    • USB-C: 5V, 3A / 9V, 3A / 15V, 3A / 20V, 3A (60W max)
    • DC car socket: 12 V, 10A (120 W maximum)
  • All ports can be used simultaneously at a maximum of 516W
  • DC input: 65W maximum
  • USB-C input: 60W maximum
  • DC and USB-C input: 125W maximum
    • Note: The PowerHouse can charge via DC and USB-C until it reaches 81%, after which it will only use DC
  • Solar input: 7.9mm x 0.9mm male connector
  • 8 ports:
    • 300W mains socket
    • 60W USB-C port
    • 3 USB-A ports
    • car jack
    • 2 DC ports
  • PowerIQ 3.0 USB-C port can charge a 2020 MacBook Air to 50% in about 40 minutes or an iPhone 13 to 50% in about 30 minutes
  • Built-in flashlight with low light, full light and SOS modes
  • Built-in three-level LED light for ambient light
  • LED display showing battery capacity, current input and output status and estimated charging time
  • Charging time: 5 hours with a standard charger, 3 hours and 20 minutes via fast charging (DC and USB-C)

Content, design and configuration

In the box is this:

  • Anker 523 Portable Power Station
  • 65W adapter
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • Car port to DC cable
  • welcome guide

The device is characteristic of other Anker products, using a mix of black with blue accents, which makes it blend in well with the surroundings. It’s pretty sturdy, with a drop-proof monocoque structure and a built-in carry handle that makes it easy to transport. It feels pretty sturdy and looks good.

The screen is nice enough, with good backlighting and large characters, making it easy to read in almost any situation. In the center is a percentage indicator showing the remaining battery charge. On the left the current input power and time until full charge is reached, while on the right the current output power and time until full discharge are displayed.

The lights are a particularly well-thought-out touch, with Anker clearly designing them with the way they would be used in mind. The flashlight is at the short end so that its reach is parallel to the handle, so it can be easily used while carrying the PowerHouse. The LED light is on the long side, which helps it move evenly over a wider area, making it more suitable for ambient use.

Ports are easily accessible, with the three USB-A, USB-C and DC-in ports centrally located. On the left side, the car socket and two DC ports are covered with a rubberized flap, and on the right, the AC socket is covered with a similar flap. Note that the mains plug is three-pronged, so you don’t have to worry about being able to use grounded outlets. I wish USB ports came with similar flaps. Of course, you’re unlikely to use the device in the rain, but if you take it camping or something like that, there’s always a risk of random splashing or the like.

Usage and performance

Operation is as easy as you’d hope. At 9.2 lbs (4.2 kg), the device is heavy but not too heavy, and as far as batteries go, their weight scales with their capacity, so no one should expect a featherweight device. if he wants a decent ability.

Both lights are plenty bright for their intended use, and the warm ambient bar temperature is appreciated. Turn on the lamps or plug in a device and press the respective control button, and the screen lights up to show the remaining charge, current power and remaining time. I found it quite accurate; I plugged in my 85-watt MacBook Pro charger, and it hovered around 85 watts the whole time, and more importantly, the charging speed matched that of a permanent outlet. After a few seconds, the screen turns off again to save power, but you can press the button to see it again.

While the laptop was plugged in, I added my phone and tablet, and they also charged at full speed with no issues. It’s nice, of course, not to have to adjust anything manually; the device automatically maximizes the charging speed. Note that the AC outlet doesn’t exceed 300 watts, so don’t expect to plug anything like a space heater into the unit, but any electronic device should work just fine.

Charging the PowerHouse is just as easy. You can plug it into a standard household outlet, use your car’s cigarette lighter, use USB-C, or use solar panels. The car option is nice because you can just leave it in your vehicle for shoots or trips without having to bring it back or worry about forgetting it. And, of course, with solar, you can charge it totally off-grid and for free. A solar panel that will max out 65 watts of DC input and charge the device in 5 hours costs around $100, making it relatively cost effective and easy to handle high power demands, even completely off-grid.

So what is all this capacity? Let’s say I’m shooting with my MacBook Air (52.6 Wh), EOS R5 and four batteries (15 Wh each), iPhone (9.3 Wh), hair fan (20 W) and Broncolor monolight (72 Wh battery ). With a capacity of 289Wh, I could expect that once I used them all up, I could charge my laptop, phone, monolight battery, and all four camera batteries once, run the fan for about four hours. That’s certainly more than enough to get most creatives through a day. Add a 60 watt solar panel and you’d be hard pressed to completely drain the device. And in reality, even with my plethora of devices including a laptop, phone, tablet, numerous camera batteries, fan, purifier, two headphones, etc., my needs for load have never exceeded the PowerHouse or my ability to exceed again. It easily follows me on shoots or on all-day trips, or if you experience a power outage, you can keep yourself entertained and all your essential devices running until it comes back on.

What I liked

  • Ambient light and flashlight are nice and well thought out
  • All day power at a competitive price
  • Variety of ports with fast charging protocols
  • AC, DC car, USB and solar charging capabilities
  • Can be charged simultaneously via AC and USB for faster charging times
  • Clear and easy to read information display
  • Solid construction
  • Integrated carry handle

What I did not like

  • USB and DC-in ports are not protected

Conclusion and purchase

Overall, the Anker PowerHouse II 300 is a well-built, carefully designed, powerful, and versatile device, making it an easy recommendation. You can buy yours here. If you have slightly different needs, the closest alternatives are the 521 and 535 models. The 521 model costs about $100 less and sacrifices about 10% capacity and can only output at 200 watts on the AC port, but it uses newer LiFePO4 batteries, which have about five times the longevity of Li-ion. The 535 model costs $240 more, but adds 70% more capacity, more ports, higher output, and uses LiFePO4 batteries.

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