Review: AUKEY PB-Y14 20000mAh Universal Power Bank


Sometimes bigger is definitely better - yet in this case also slimmer. And while smartphones themselves have been getting rather too thin in recent times, power banks have remained necessarily bulky, usually because the internal Li-Ion cells are cylindrical. But what happens when you use phone-style 'flat' cells and arrange these to form a power bank? The PB-Y14 is the answer. Quad output, triple input, 20,000mAh, yet only just over 1cm thick. And yes, I said triple input.

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The 'PB-Y14 20000mAh Universal' is something to behold, with large plan form factor in textured matt plastic but it's only 14mm thick, which is perfect for slipping into a briefcase document pocket, for example:

Universal power bank

So it's large and thin - and with a very generous 20,000mAh of capacity (at 3.7V), enough to charge half a dozen current smartphones from empty to full. But what's even more unusual about this accessory is its array of inputs and outputs. 

Starting with the latter, there are three (count 'em) USB-A ports, all of them rated at a full 3A, i.e. USB 3.0 'Power Delivery'. No 'Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0' or '3.0' voltage options, but 3A is still a very fast charge without stressing phone battery and electronics unduly. To the right of these three is a USB Type C port, also rated at a full 3A. That's four full current outputs!

Universal power bank

Now, obviously, if you connect all four at once (as shown above) then you're not going to get 3A out of all four at once - the electronics and battery simply can't deliver that. But I estimate that you can get at least halfway to this, with 1.5A average supplied by all four at the same time.

In the real world, of course, some connected devices will need less than others. So if one was charging a wearable, for example, then that would only need a fraction of an Amp at 5V. Freeing up current for the other ports. Most of the time you'd only need two or three ports in action at once, and so would be able to max these out most of the time. But it's nice to have the four output option up your sleeve!

When it comes to charge the massive 20,000mAh up, the Type C port also acts as an input, again at 3A, meaning that this needs an overnight 7 or 8 hour charge in reality. Still, well within the use case, I think.

The final port on the right (above) is an Apple Lightning port, i.e. also reversible (like Type C) but a dedicated input here, at 1.5A. So only half the current but if you're stuck somewhere and only have a partner's iPhone charger (for example) to hand then you can use this to top up this AUKEY power bank too.

In fact, I mentioned triple input, and on the side is a third input port, not shown in the photos here, traditional microUSB and rated for 2A. I was hoping that you could hook up all three inputs for maximum power bank charging speed, but it seems that this isn't supported. Oh well, still a very flexible system. Basically, whatever charger you have to hand, you can plug it in somewhere to help fill the power bank back up.

On the opposite side to the microUSB input port is a familiar LED array to indicate charge state and a button to check/activate the outputs if the recipient device doesn't auto-initiate charging.

Universal power bank

The power bank's sides are rubberised, helping with grip in the hand and rather essential given the profile! There are no sharp corners and the idea, I think, is that this might even go into a jacker pocket. Though as usual, be careful in public places like train stations when sprouting charging cables from your person - police are liable to get jumpy, as a friend once found out to his cost.

It does seem, with power banks, as with phones, that you can never get everything you want all in the one device. The PB-Y14 here concentrates on maximum capacity, minimum thickness and maximum connection flexibility - and it does it superbly well. At £35 this is well priced and this is now my default go-anywhere power bank in my gadget bag.

Universal power bank

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