Omnicharge doesn’t make your ordinary battery backup chargers. They may only be small squares, but they can handle the lion’s share of your charging needs — even your laptop. We tested out the Omni 20, the 20,400 mAh 100W model that has an AC/DC port and two USB ports, and we were seriously impressed.
Unboxing the Omni 20
The overall presentation of the Omni 20 is sleek and classy. It comes in a black box where each item is carefully placed in its own cubby, an easy organization system for the many cords and adaptors included. When you first pick up the Omni 20, you notice how substantial it is despite its comparatively small size to other laptop charging battery packs. It is about twice the size and bulk of an Apple TV box, to give you an idea of how it feels in your hand.
Getting Started Charging
With most battery packs, you only need to make sure it’s charged and plug your power-hungry devices in. The Omni 20 has a bit more of a learning curve. It has an OLED screen that you navigate to pick the right settings for your device. Is this annoying? It can be when you are first learning, but that is the trade-off for having an incredibly versatile charging device.
To charge using the AC/DC feature, you are going to want to do some research on what voltage the device you want to charge is. For example, my MacBook requires 14.5V to charge. So after a quick Google on that, I launched the menu and went into the menu and selected the correct voltage. Then the Omni 20 started charging my MacBook using the MagSafe2 connector included in the box. However, my MacBook cord also worked plugged in. The Omni 20 will automatically cease charging if the output levels don’t match your device’s needs, so you don’t have to be too shy while starting out using it.
USB charging is simple — just plug in, hit the USB button and you are charging. Simple as that, no hiccups. There is even a USB charging cable with a barrel port. The OmniCharge came with not only the MacBook MagSafe2 cable, but also another cable adaptor meant for the Surface, and one that is a general 5.5 x 2.1 cable with a barrel port. There are also multiple device-specific DC charging cables for Dell, Lenovo, HP, and a universal to cover all the bases.
The Omni 20 features safe passthrough charging, which means you can plug it in and get it charging up while you also charge devices off of that. Other protections in place are with regard to the temperature, short-circuiting, overcharging, and there are algorithms that monitor and adjust according to feedback so as to restart if an abnormality is detected or to maximize efficiency.
Navigating the OLED screen, you can see all kinds of info on the battery in real time. You can get a reading on how much battery is left, the temperature it is working at, the output/input, and charge time remaining. There are 13 little icons that can pop up on that screen and you can find their meanings in the user guide (which you won’t want to leave behind for awhile). Navigating the menu requires that you double tap the power button and then use the plug and USB symbols to go up and down, with the power button being the select button as well. This is more than a little confusing if you don’t have the guide with you, but with the guide, you will be just fine.
What Can You Charge?
Almost all 120V products that use less than 100W or less for AC charging. That means you can charge everything from a TV, laptop, DSLR, digital projector, or even a drone. It is truly versatile. You can get a full and complete charge on the Omni 20 with three hours plugged into a wall outlet, car charger, or laptop adaptor. USB will take you closer to seven hours and solar power (for all you outdoorsy tech nerds) will take about six hours on a 45W solar charger. Fully charged you can get an extra 8 to 13 hours out of your MacBook Air and 10 hours out of a MacBook Pro. You can charge an iPad fully up to three times and an iPhone up to nine times. Charging is fast too, especially impressive when it is multitasking. Omnicharge has also fit Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0 technology into the USB charging ports, and the top of the charger is actually a Qi wireless charging pad.