I own an Early 2015 12-inch MacBook and I’m loving it despite of the mere single USB-C port, although it has been a pain carrying those dongles in my bag, I’ve gotten used to them eventually, but what I seriously can’t stand is the less impressive battery life that I’ve come to expect from the MacBook, especially when I’ve been using the MacBook Pro before passing it to my colleague Tarvin. Therefore, I’ve been on the hunt for a power bank that is able to charge my MacBook, while being able to charge other devices I carry along, most USB-C powerbanks I’ve come across tend to claim that they could charge a MacBook, but they could barely cross the 50% charging mark due to the 29W power that the MacBook required. Until a couple of weeks back, I stumbled upon the ZMI 10 Powerbank on Taobao, a huge chunky piece of gadget that not only charges my MacBook properly but also serves as a rather convenient USB hub.
ZMI, otherwise pronounced as ZiMi, is a company under Xiaomi’s ecosystem focused on manufacturing power solutions and cables. The ZMI 10 Powerbank is one of the larger capacity power banks ever produced that is made for charging USB-C devices, rather than using Xiaomi’s aluninum build, ZMI has opted for a polycarbonate material that feels very high quality. Underneath the chassis is two blocks of 10,000mAh cells, which adds up to 20,000mAh in total capacity and is as heavy as a typical 10-inch tablet.
The powerbank has two standard USB ports that supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 voltage standards, a USB-C port that supports both QC 3.0 and the older Power Delivery 2.0 standard that delivers a maximum input and output of 45W.
On the left, we have the power gauge LED indicators and a button that is able to turn both standard USB ports into additional USB ports for your laptop, though it only gives you USB 2.0 transfer speeds, but you really can’t ask for more than this.
ZMI is kind enough to provide two short cables out of the box, a standard USB to USB-C cable and a USB-C to USB-C cable. In addition, you also get a soft pouch for storing the powerbank, now that’s a great value that you don’t often get when purchasing power banks.
User Experience and Performance
Since my MacBook is already a pretty lightweight device, having the ZMI 10 Powerbank in my backpack isn’t too much of an issue despite being a really heavy device. I have to admit that I don’t frequently check on my MacBook’s battery level before starting to work, hence there are times I badly needed to find a socket to charge my MacBook if I need to work out of office, the ZMI 10 Powerbank eliminated that issue. I recall there was one time my MacBook was left with only 2% of battery power, it got charged to 80% in 2 hours, the MacBook’s charge consumed three dots off the battery gauge of the power bank, there were no signs of discharging as I worked through e-mails with multiple Chrome browser tabs opened and streaming Spotify, which typical power banks will not be able to handle.
Using the ZMI 10 Powerbank as a USB hub isn’t ideal for large file transfers, I tested it with the WD My Passport Lumen and found a huge drop in performance of 42MB/s in transfer speeds, hence you should only use it for connecting peripherals or perform simple file transfers.
The ZMI 10 Powerbank does take some time to get fully charged especially when it is completely drained, the USB-C port thankfully supports either Quick Charge 3.0 or PD 2.0 input, which it can take advantage of my MacBook’s 29W AC adapter to get charged in 3.5 hours.
The ZMI 10 Powerbank is an extremely useful gadget that I don’t really mind carrying in my backpack for its functionality, while there are similar solutions from companies such as Anker and RAVPower, the ZMI Powerbank is the only power bank that offers the added functionality of a USB hub, while supporting both Quick Charge 3.0 and Power Delivery 2.0 charging standards. The ZMI 10 Powerbank can be purchased over at Taobao at the price of RMB299 (RM189 or US$44), if you aren’t familiar with Taobao purchases, you can also purchase form local e-commerce stores Lazada and 11Street, though you will be paying at a much higher price tag of RM260.
- Charges the MacBook, Nintendo Switch or any USB-C devices that requires high voltage
- Standard USB ports can be used for connecting USB devices to your PC and MacBook
- Power input and output supports both Quick Charge 3.0 and Power Delivery 2.0 charging standards
- Comes with a storage pouch
The Not so Good
- Heavy and chunky
- Charging takes a while
- USB 2.0 speeds for USB hub feature