Back in June I reviewed a lesser variant of this RAVPower champion, plugging directly into a wall socket and only offering two output ports. This, the ‘Pioneer’ top of the line, has a standalone unit and flying mains lead, plus offers no less than four outputs, two PD and two ‘smart’ USB. In short, it’s a complete (mobile) mains charging solution and I was impressed. This just jumped the pile into my gadget briefcase…
There are, then, two main points here – the core circuitry of RAVPower’s designs is a known factor and much appreciated. What’s different here is the standalone hub design and the number and capability of all the ports.
Let’s start with the design. One frustration with all the existing mains chargers is that they have a mains plug integrated into their back, meaning that your mains socket has to be free of obstructions – I’m sure we’ve all faced the annoyance of mains adapters which take up too much room in a double socket or in a mains gang and therefore stop you using the adjacent socket fully. Partly to solve this problem, partly to bring the ports themselves into a more reachable position and, yes, partly to allow more physical volume for power handling and plugging things in, the Pioneer here has a standard/small mains plug and a 1m lead to its main body. This way, the Pioneer can sit wherever you like on a desk or table and then dispense power to anything you plug in.
Also helpful is the ability to charge up to four items at once, dividing up its power as needed. The headline facility is being able to charge both a Macbook Air (or similar) and an iPad Pro (or similar) at the same time, at 45W and 18W respectively. Should those two bits of kit be in your armoury. Just as likely is perhaps a Surface Go or an iPhone or Android (or Lumia?!) handset. When using Type C ‘PD’ charging, it’s important to use a capable (‘E-mark’ chipset, apparently) cable and not the cheapest, since you’re potentially handling a lot of power. I used an old Lumia ‘Continuum’ C-to-C cable and all was well, charging my phones and my Surface Go happily.
The two USB-A ports are ‘smart’ in that they can ramp up to 12V at 1.5A, i.e. 18W, more comonly dispensed at 5V/3A, so 15W, but it depends on the device connected. Happily, phones these days are happy to ‘tell’ chargers what they can accept and I didn’t have any problems.
It goes without saying that if you want to max out any port (such as charging a MacBook!) then plugging in anything else might have an impact. At worst case, with all four ports charging something, the two USB-A ports might be down to 10W each and the two PD ports to 20W each. Which is still seriously cool multi-device charging, but if you wanted to charge a Type C laptop then it’s best to disconnect a few other things, I’d suggest.
The Pioneer body does get warm when fully used, but was never hot. At £45 on Amazon UK, the RAVPower Pioneer isn’t cheap – but it’s a smart and flxeible way to deliver a lot of power to most of the stuff in your life in 2020/2021. On Amazon it currently has over 500 ratings and sits at 4.9 out of 5, which is the highest rating I can remember seeing for any accessory. So it’s not just me that thinks this is a solid product and worthy of consideration.
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World news – GB – Mini-review: RAVPower 65W PD ‘Pioneer’ 4-port desktop charger