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December 7, 2017

Omnicharge Omni 20 review: The one charger to rule them all?

by John_A

We’re at an interesting, and somewhat transitional time when it comes to what types of devices we’re carrying with us on a regular basis. Chances are good that you’re currently toting something today that has a different port than what your old device had. Further, you might even be carrying something entirely different in your bag, such as a 2-in-1 or Chromebook.

As a lot of you know the last generation or two of phones has given way to a newer and emerging type of charging: USB Type C. It’s faster and more efficient, and it’s found in a wider variety of products. If you’ve purchased a new Chromebook in the last year or so, then you probably have at least one of those ports.

For just about everyone else, it’s business as usual. In other words, who knows what your needs are today? We’re mixing and matching our devices and one day can be totally different from the next.

Perhaps you need to take your laptop with you for a few days on a business trip. Maybe you’ve got a tablet that you’ve been using quite a bit lately. Or, come next week you and the family may be taking a small vacation and each of you has a different selection of devices.

In the past, it was really easy for us to find a quality portable charger. Largely it was a case of us buying something with a standard USB port and/or a microUSB plug. Today, though, we tend to need a little bit of everything. Thankfully, the mobile charging industry has kept pace and now offers excellent options that help fit the all-in-one bill.

The Omnicharge Omni 20 is one such product that helps ensure that you stay charged no  matter what you’re carrying. It’s a portable solution some 20400mAh worth of power which can be shared through a variety of plugs and ports.

Included in the unit, and the box, are 5V USB, USB Quick Charge 3.0, 120V AC/150V HDVC (100W Max), and a DC (1V-24V) output. If you opt for the Pro Bundle ($50 extra), you’ll get tips for HP, Dell, Lenovo, and a universal plug. In short, it’s everything you’ll have something for just about everything.

When it comes to larger capacities in portable chargers, one feature we tend to appreciate most is an indicator of sorts. We like to be able to glance at our batteries to see how much juice is left to replenish our devices. You get an excellent one in the Omni 20 as it not only shows an exact percentage, but also details on battery temp, estimated time left on charge, and more.

There are more than one dozen status icons to help you get a feel for the status and health of your Omni 20. Some will show basic details such as what port is being used, but others can tell you if you’re in risk of overpowering or overheating.

We are incredibly impressed with just how much power and flexibility you can squeeze into a device this small. Just a few years ago we were carrying around 10,000mAh units that took up more space. There is a trade-off though; the Omni 20 weighs in at 1.4 pounds so it’s heftier than your old charger.

The Omni 20 is just about a square at 5-inches x 4.8-inches and is about one inch thick. You’ll not be throwing this in a hoodie pocket or a handbag but it doesn’t feel all that unwieldy or inconvenient in a backpack.

The Omni 20 isn’t cheap, coming in with a $250 price tag. You can certainly get other battery packs for much less money, especially if all you care about is having a USB port. Where this one shines, though, is that it has such a wide array of charging capabilities. Not only does it have two USB ports, but you can also charge a laptop, Nintendo Switch, digital camera, or something else by using the AC adapter.

If you have a phone that utilizes wireless charging, you’ll love the Omni 20 for its wireless output. Simply place your phone on top of the unit and you can charge your Galaxy S8 or other phones. We had to play a little bit with figuring out the exact placement of this but once we knew, it was easy from that point on.

There’s enough power here to charge a typical high-end smartphone up some 7-9 times. Digital cameras, tablets, and other products will vary, but we venture to guess you’re looking at multiple charges each. If you’re a drone enthusiast, you’ll definitely appreciate having something like this with you in the car or backpack.

If your laptop uses one of the special tips, go with the Pro Bundle ($299) and rest easier knowing you have that, too. This is handy for those times when you don’t have the power cord that your laptop requires. Or, rather, when you don’t want to bring it with you at all.

We love the flexibility and functions of the Omni 20 but we’d really liked to have seen a dedicated USB Type-C port. Incidentally, Omnicharge was offering an Indiegogo for a variant, the Omni 20 USB-C. That model has two Type-C ports, one for output and one for input/output. Funded some 42 times over, it will begin shipping this month.

While we won’t take this charger with us to dinner or around town for a night out, it’s the first one we’ll grab for a weekend outing. Camping, a trip out of town, or a day with the family… there’s plenty of reasons for us to pick the Omni 20. We don’t recommend this one for an every day sort of usage, but if you’re a remote worker or spend time in the field, you’ll appreciate having it. This goes double if you’re using multiple devices at a time.

Is it the one charger to rule them all? Pretty much, but there’s still a little room for improvement. It’s close enough for us to suggest it to you, but we’d like a lower price point and USB Type-C to really push it over the top.

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