Given the current state of battery technology, it’s no surprise that we have become dependent on external batteries, a.k.a. power banks, sometimes even too dependent. Those small batteries wrapped in plastic, however, can only get us so far, especially when you consider the growing number of devices one carries and their equally growing power needs.
Anker, whose claim to fame has always been its wide variety of portable power sources, also has a line of not so pocketable portable power station and its PowerHouse 200 may have just the right mix of features to make it your go-to backup when you’re out and about.
The Anker PowerHouse 200 is obviously no power bank. Its size will definitely look daunting to many who are used to the relatively minuscule trinkets they put in pockets or bags. Of course, they serve different purposes and you will want to hold on that power bank of yours (probably from Anker, too). But when you need to power your smartphone, your tablet, your laptop, and maybe even your mini cooler, you’ll need a power station to do the job.
The PowerHouse 200 definitely puts the “mini” in “power station” category and it’s easily one of the lightest and most portable among its peers. Its closest rival, the Jackery 240 is definitely heavier and larger, though it admittedly also offers a bit more juice.
Needless to say, Anker’s portable power station is not one you’d hesitate to carry around places when you know you’ll need to top-off your devices eventually.
And you won’t be ashamed of being seen with it either. Despite practically being a power station, it almost doesn’t look the part with its sleek metal body capped at both ends by soft rubber. Instead of a carrying handle, it uses a comfortable yet durable strap that gives it a more tasteful look than your typical power stations.
Like many of Anker’s products, the PowerHouse 200 is made to look like a part of your mobile office setup rather than something you took out of the garage.
Output and Input
Fortunately, it isn’t all looks either. The Anker PowerHouse 200 comes with just enough number of power outlets to meet most needs, though we definitely wished there could be more. One thing that separates power station from power banks is the presence of an AC outlet, a 110 VAC, 60Hz/100W one here, that should serve laptops without USB-C power options well. There’s also a 12V/5A car charger port that can also be used to power small coolers.
The ports that will get the most use will probably the USB ports, two 5V/3A regular USB-A ports, and one USB-C port. The last is, of course, the most interesting since it can be used to charge a wider variety of devices, including laptops and even power banks. Sadly, it’s also one of the more disappointing aspects of the PowerHouse 200. For all its utility, it only has one of these and while it does support Power Delivery, it maxes out at 30W only, which might not be sufficient for more power-hungry laptops or a MacBook Pro for that matter.
That same USB-C port can be used to actually charge the power station itself, though you might prefer the dedicated AC port that’s thankfully at the back. That said, if you ever do want to top off the PowerHouse 200 through the USB-C port, you’ll have to make sure to press the button to turn off charging. Yes, the PowerHouse 200 has push buttons for all three kinds of outputs that need to be pressed to actually charge connected devices. It’s more than inconvenient, especially when you’re so used to how power banks work and forget to push that button, only to be greeted by a device that has even less battery left than when you plugged it in.
The Anker PowerHouse 200 advertises a capacity of 218.8Wh, which does feel like a step down from the Jackery 240’s 240Wh. Again, you are paying for that power quite literally as well as in the weight department. All things considering, Anker’s PowerHouse 200 offers an acceptable compromise of power, design, and portability.
Charging an iPad Pro, three iPhone 11s, and an iPhone 11 Pro Max, all to full, still left 76% of the PowerHouse’s battery available for use. Another round of charging, this time with a Surface Go LTE via the AC outlet, knocked off 11% more.
There’s definitely plenty of power left to get your devices through the day when there is no power outlet in sight. And considering how fast it tops up those devices, you won’t have to spend your day tethered to the box either.
The Anker PowerHouse 200 is far from being the perfect portable and rechargeable compact power stations in the market. Its combination of lightweight and pleasing design, variety of ports, and reliable performance do make it stand out among its peers and rivals. It is priced at $299, similar to Jackery 240.
There are some points we wished could have been done better, especially with the buttons and the USB-C PD output, but, all in all, the PowerHouse 200 is something you’d want to have with you whenever you brave the new world outside.