Xtar PB2S Charger Review by Craig Chambers

Review Date: 
09.10.2019

Xtar PB2S Charger

The PB2S portable charger/power bank is the latest offering from Xtar and is the big brother to the PB2, offering more options than its smaller sibling. Many thanks to Xtar for sending this for review.

In the box

The box is the normal white Xtar branded packaging, with multi language descriptions & specifications. Inside is a plastic tray with the PB2s fitting snuggly and underneath is a USB C charging cable along with a comprehensive instruction manual.

Specifications

This is a feature packed two battery, QC3 compatible portable charger giving the end user a range of options both as a charger & power bank.

  • 18650/18700/20700/21700 unprotected/protected 3.6/3.7 Li-on/IMR/INR/ICR compatible
  • Input  QC3 5v-2A/9v-2A
  • Output QC3 5v-2A/9v-2A
  • Charges 2 x 2A, 2 x 1A, 1 x 2A
  • USB A out/USB Type C in
  • Information screen giving Output/Input/Voltage/Current & Capacity %
  • Side button for info selection
  • Magnetic battery door
  • TC/CC/CV three-stage charging to maximise battery life
  • 0V battery recovery for over discharged batteries

The unit itself has a rubberised finish which is the same as the PB2, a large black display area and very well fitting door. The XTAR branding is printed on the magnetic door, again same as its little brother. All round it is a well-made product that feels like it should last.

In use

Using the PB2S is simplicity itself, pretty much plug & play. Insert the batteries, plug the USB lead into a suitable power supply & the unit checks the batteries. If you charge two unpaired batteries, the PB2S will start to charge the lower discharged battery first to balance the load.

Fitting the batteries is easier with the spring loaded pins on the negatives, as is removal either with or without the fitted ribbon. The pins are a better choice than the spring loaded sliding terminals seen on most table top chargers and are highly unlikely to result in damaged/torn wraps. As previously noted, all sizes from 18650 to 21700 are catered for and with its balanced charge/discharge, different sizes can be used at the same time.

The display screen shows the Input voltage, current & capacity percentage (Output voltage when used as a power bank) and using the side button you can scroll between cell 1, cell 2 & both.

I was fortunate enough to be sent an Xtar QC3 18W 3 pin wall plug so was able to fully test charging on QC3. Charging started at 9v/2A (two 18650 cells) and was completed in a little over an hour from 17% to full. I had an issue with using an inline USB tester with the supplied USB lead cutting the voltage back to 5v which showed on the PB2S. Taking the tester out allowed the cable to supply the full 9v. I checked with another USB C cable and this worked as intended so I can only assume there was a conflict with the original cable & tester. In use there was some heat generated at the top of the unit, not excessive but I’d be cautious and not charge unattended. Batteries get slightly warm but no hotter than being charged at 2A on the Xtar Dragon. The heat was significantly less when charging at 5v but there is a trade off with longer charging times. These were slightly slower than the Dragon but for an on the go charger, this fits the bill more than adequately. Charging a 21700 battery took longer but then my batteries have between 500-1000 more mAh capacity than the 18650 cells I used.

The side button allows you see the current state of each function.
During charging, the numeric display shows the input voltage, current and battery capacity percentage.
Pressing the button will alternate the information shown on the display.
Press once to show battery voltage and slot 1 charging current. Second press shows the cell 2 status & a third press takes you back to the main info. This is replicated when in power bank mode.

In power bank mode, depending on type of battery, you can get up to 8000mAh for charging a phone, mod or earphones (or whatever is in need of a charge via USB). On a non USB C connection, this will charge at the lower 5v/2A (1A on a Samsung works phone). On a compatible QC3 phone you should get the full 9v/2A but I couldn’t test this as Oneplus use their own proprietary Dashcharge so I could only charge it at the lower power. 

Conclusion

Owning the original PB2, I was already taking advantage of the charging/power bank/battery storage capabilities and now I have the option of using larger cells in the PB2S. Personally I would buy this just for that option, and USB C & QC3 are great additions. Empty, this is surprisingly light but in no way flimsy. And even with 21700 cells, it never felt too heavy. There’s no battery movement and the strong magnets hold the cover on securely. Only negatives (minor) are that it only comes with a USB A to USB C cable so a micro USB lead will be needed for the majority of products not yet using USB C or the oddball lightning connection so loved by Apple. Also the QC3 plug I was supplied with is a separate purchase, so around £5 extra needs to be factored in for a quality QC3 wall plug.

If you don’t own a PB2, get this and if you do, still get this. 

The PB2S is due for release on 21/08/19, hopefully with a comparable price (PB2 is currently £13.99) around £16. There will be 4 colours available, Orange, Red, Blue & Black.

Many thanks to Xtar for the opportunity to review this item.

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 Craig Chambers
Article by Craig Chambers
Started vaping 3+ yrs ago in an attempt to stop smoking & generally improve my health after 40+ years smoking up to 30 cigs a day. 3yrs on I'm now no longer gasping for air after 2 flights of stairs or lugging work gear from van to site. Taste has improved & yearly health checks keep showing improvement.