I have backed a number of different items on Kickstarter to varying success, in this post I wanted to talk about a USB-C battery bank called the SuperTank Pro” which I backed and received not that long ago. The post on the Kickstarter page reports the device as SuperTank Pro, The Surprisingly Compact Mobile Power Station. These are just my own experiences, yours may be different.

Brief Primer on Kickstarter:

For those who are not aware of Kickstarter, it is a crowdfunding platform where backers usually contribute (or ‘back') a campaign which helps the campaign creators get enough funding to create their product and bring it to life with the expectation that the backer will receive a product at the end relative to how much they backed and the level, this amount is usually less than what the predicted retail cost will be. For example I backed this campaign at a tier (Super early bird @ $149 USD) that provides me with a SuperTank Pro however, there are higher and lower levels that can be backed. The important note is though that Kickstarter is not guaranteed, so there are a number of stories where backers contributed to a campaign, but because of a number of reasons, the company went bankrupt and the items were never delivered, so as always do your own due diligence and know there is a level of risk associated with Kickstarter.

About the Device

The SuperTank Pro is a high powered (26,800mAh) battery bank with a range of features listed below:

  • OLED Display (showing power remaining, and power draw per port).
  • Four USB-C ports, with two being capable of high power input / output (of up to 100W in a single port at a given time),
    • Ports 1 & 2 can supply up to 100W, whilst Ports 3 & 4 can supply up to 18W each. The maximum output is 138W
  • High capacity 26,800 mAh battery (the highest that can still be considered as airline approved / safe).
  • Pass through charging, capable of charging the SuperTank Pro and powering the other three USB-C attached devices (assuming the total input wattage is greater than the output wattage, and of course less than 100W total).
  • Support for a range of Fast Charge Protocols including: PD 3.0, QC 3.0, PPS 5A, AFC, SCP/FCP 22.5W
  • Upgradable firmware.
  • Supplied USB-C to USB-A adapter.

The SuperTank Pro has a touch aluminum case which houses Samsung 18650 35E batteries inside. the dimensions of the SuperTank Pro are around 124 x 74.5 x 45.5mm, and the unit is reported to weigh approximately 600g

Photos

Note, I have used this device for some time now so you can see the dints and marks which has been from daily use.

My Opinion

I received the SuperTank Pro late 2020 to early 2021 and in my using the device to the date of this article I can say the SuperTank seems fairly sturdy. Whilst I have not been rough with the device, I can honestly say I have not been gentle either and it is still in one piece and working fine (albeit with a few scuff marks).

My use for the SuperTank Pro has been varied, I typically use an iPad Pro in addition to a DELL XPS laptop so I commonly use the SuperTank to charge these devices, when I am out on site away from mains power, in addition to charging or powering some of my smaller items (e.g. headphones and so on) and the Sony A7R 4 and other assorted camera gear. When I do have power (e.g. in the Car with my 60watt USB-C adapter, or at home with a 90 – 100W adapter), I commonly charge up the SuperTank Pro using port C1 (left), and then run my Laptop through Port 2, my iPad Pro through Port 3 and any other device through Port 4 and that seems to work very well.

In addition to my daily travels at a range of remote sites, I have also used the SuperTank Pro when travelling throughout the states of Australia for work (due to international closures there has been very little international travel). My first thought with the device is that it is not a small device and does have some weight to it, but in reality given the capacity of the battery there is little that can be done about the size. The device did come with a case however, I found personally it just created too much bulk and extra items for me to travel, and since I prefer to travel as light as I can, I opted to not use the case and just carry the battery with me in my backpack or whatever bag I have been carrying.

In terms of capacity, I have found it to be more than enough for most cases. Whilst more capacity would always be great, the trade off is that then it would not be airline safe so it would limit its usefulness so in my mind its a good balance between meeting the airline travel requirements, as well as being a good capacity. Typically when I am charging the device (without any draw) from my 100W charger it usually takes between 90 – 120 minutes to charge. Because I don't have much in the way of devices to measure capacity I can't speak to its expect capacity, but I do find it is able to power my XPS laptop (about 60 watts) in addition to my iPad Pro and other devices (around 30+ watts) so for my use it seems fairly good.

One thing I did notice is that whilst the device does come with a USB-C to USB-A adapter, I found out that if you leave this in the device (even with no USB-A item connected) it does use a small amount of power and will very slowly drain the battery. I am guessing this is due to some of the circuitry in the adapter but it is a shame as the adapter is fairly small so can be easy to lose. I attached the USB-C to USB-A adapter directly to the multiple output charging cable (Baseus) but it would be great if it could be left in the device, or if there were more suppliers that made USB-C cables that had multiple outputs (e.g. iPhone, USB-C, Micro-USB) as these cables seem to not be very common.

All in all I have been very happy with the SuperTank Pro and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good USB battery bank, of course if all of your devices are USB-A based then its use might be a little bit more limited, but if you have multiple USB-C devices (e.g. USB-C laptop, iPad Pro and more) then I think the device is a great addition. Do note that the device does not come with a charger itself, so you will also need to make sure you have a USB-C charger (ideally up to 100W if you want to make use of pass through charging).

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