Here at eCig One, we love external battery chargers. That’s partially a matter of convenience — we’d rather use an external charger than tether our vaping device to a USB port all day — and partially a matter of safety. Any lithium-ion battery has a small chance of experiencing a fault while charging. If that’s going to happen, we’d like the battery in question to be across the room rather than in our hand. So, when XTAR contacted us and asked if we’d like to review the company’s new PB2 portable battery charger, we jumped at the opportunity. The XTAR PB2 is a battery charger with some pretty interesting features:
- Extremely portable; smaller than many box mods
- LED display tells you current status of charging batteries
- Can charge external devices via USB
- Can charge batteries and an external device simultaneously
- Can revive some batteries from 0 volts
The XTAR PB2 costs just $19.99 on Amazon at the time of writing. Let’s move on with the review.
XTAR PB2 Battery Charger Specifications
The XTAR PB2 has two USB ports: a mini USB port for charging the batteries in the charger and a standard USB port for charging an external device. If you like, you can charge an external device while the batteries in the charger are charging. In this configuration, the XTAR PB2 charges the external device directly from the power source — not from the inserted batteries — to save the batteries a bit of wear and tear.
If you have a single battery in the charger, the PB2 charges it at a rate of 2.0 amps. If you have two batteries inserted, the charger charges them at 1.0 amp each. If you have the PB2 connected to a power source that can’t supply the full 2.0 amps, the charger lowers its charging rate accordingly.
If you’re charging an external device, the output current is 5 volts, 2.1 amps — and if you do decide to take advantage of that capability, you should keep in mind that XTAR is a battery technology company — not a vaping company. The 5V, 2.1A charging current may not be ideal for some vaping devices such as eGo e-cigarettes. The PB2 works best as a portable charger for devices such as mobile phones that can work with fast-charging wall adapters.
Build Quality and First Impressions
The XTAR PB2 is a slick little battery charger. It’s about the same size as a small dual-18650 mod, so it fits just about anywhere. The charger is barely larger than the two batteries it holds. That opens up some interesting possibilities for the PB2. Have you considered picking up an emergency battery charger for use in a power outage? The PB2 costs less than most of them — and most emergency battery chargers don’t double as chargers for removable 18650 batteries. If you put together a disaster preparation kit with some charged 18650 batteries, the PB2 could potentially keep your devices charged for days in the event of an emergency. The PB2 would also be a great thing to bring along on a camping trip. The XTAR PB2 is a sparse package including only the charger with cover, a USB cable and an instruction manual. At under $20, though, it feels like a steal.
XTAR PB2 Review
As a battery charger and portable power bank, the XTAR PB2 functions beautifully. The charger holds a pair of batteries tightly in place, and the included magnetic cover is equally solid. The PB2 might use removable batteries, but you definitely don’t have to worry about the cells popping out on you during transportation. At the same time, the battery compartment isn’t so tight that you have to worry about damaging the wrappers when you insert your batteries. The design of this charger is very well thought out.
As positive as our thoughts are about the packaging and design of the XTAR PB2, we do regret the fact that it doesn’t include a USB wall adapter. If you don’t own a wall adapter, you’ll need to connect the PB2 to your computer’s USB port.
We tested the PB2 battery charger using a 1-amp wall adapter and found the performance of the charger excellent. Neither the charger nor the cells in it became noticeably hot during charging — even with the cover on. The display of the PB2 shows the charge status of the inserted batteries as a percentage between 0-100.
The XTAR PB2 has a final interesting feature in that it can detect and attempt to revive a battery that has been completely drained to 0 volts. Although we were unable to test that capability, it could certainly be useful if you accidentally kill one of your batteries.
XTAR PB2 Review: Conclusion
The XTAR PB2 is a great little portable battery charger that gives you the convenience and safety of an external battery charger with some nice additional features that most battery chargers lack. If you’re currently in the market for an 18650 battery charger and don’t already own an emergency power bank, the PB2 is a no-brainer because a portable power bank will pay for itself the first time you have an extended power outage. Although we do wish that the PB2 had included a wall adapter, our experience with this charger was excellent. We can whole-heartedly recommend it.
XTAR PB2 Review: The Good
- Great design; small but solid
- Connects to any USB port
- Doubles as a portable power bank for external devices
- Can potentially revive a completely dead battery
XTAR PB2 Review: The Not So Good
- Output current of 2.1 amps isn’t ideal for all vaping devices
- Doesn’t include a wall adapter