So, you remember to take a battery pack with you upon leaving the house, but later realise you forgot the cables you need to charge your devices? Yep, we’ve been there too. The appropriately named Xtorm Wireless Power Bank (XW200), priced at €89,00, rids the necessity of a cable by using wireless Qi charging in its place. It certainly sounds good, but is it a charging revolution for commuters or just a one week novelty that isn’t very practical?
Unlike many battery packs we review, this is a power mat and battery in an all-in-one 266g design, so it’s important that the build quality is sturdy and durable. Thankfully the familiar hearty strength of the plastics Xtorm use have kept the Xtorm Wireless Power Bank in good condition after being left on benches, kept in bags and, of course, occasionally dropped in the process. It has to be said that the all white design becomes dirty when used outdoors, but a carry pouch is included for added protection.
A 5V/1A micro-USB port (cable supplied) for charging the internal battery of the Xtorm Wireless Power Bank, along with a 5V/1A USB 2.0 out port, for charging any device that isn’t Qi compatible, are located on the front of the charger. As a device promoting itself as an easier charging solution that can be used anywhere, it does unfortunately not sport any silicone flaps to halt debris from lodging in the ports.
A row of helpful LED indicators are lined down the side of the charger broadcasting how much battery is left and when it’s charging a device. Oddly you can't turn this charger off, it does that by itself after a few minutes of inactivity. It also does this after a device is fully charged; which optimises the total charge of the battery.
Qi inductive charging has been adopted as standard by many of the big names within the smartphone and tablet industry. We’ve primarily been using this product with a Qi case for an iPhone 5/5s. In terms of straightforwardness it couldn’t be quicker or better, and a rubber grip on the top and four rubber feet glued to the bottom, prevent the devices and charger from sliding around in use. To get going, all we need to do is press the on button and drop our iPhone onto the top Qi mat and it will signal a digitised noise to inform you if it’s charging. The charging process then takes around 110 minutes to charge an iPhone 5/5s from 1% to 100%. Xtorm claim 4-5 recharges of smartphones and that’s exactly what we achieved, with 5 full recharges of our iPhone 5 from the large 10.000mAh capacity li-ion battery (an efficiency of roughly 80%). We were also very impressed by the fact the battery didn’t lose a single bar of charge from a month of being utilised too.
As much as we like the convenience of Qi charging, there are a few minor drawbacks. The biggest being the device has to be directly touching the Qi inductive mat which is impractical in certain scenarios. When on the go the supplied travel pouch will facilitate our iPhone 5 and the Xtorm Wireless Power Bank, so it can confidently charge when being moved around, but the pouch is impractical with tablets and large smartphones as they will not fit into it for charging on the go. Of course, in such scenarios the single USB 2.0 connection is at hand, but that then requires the pre-planning of having a cable. Regardless of this, it has to be said that Qi wireless charging is brilliant when sitting at your desk, at a bench eating lunch, or even as a bedside charger (we love it for that).
So to answer the question we started the review with: Qi wireless charging, integrated into a battery pack in this simplistic manner, really is a charging revolution. It’s unquestionably more straightforward to use over cables if you have Qi enabled devices and cases. Plus the Xtorm Wireless Power Bank is compact and lightweight, and yet secures a large 10.000mAh capacity which we proved could charge an iPhone 5 five times.