We purchased the POWERADD Pilot Pro2 (Check latest price on Amazon) so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
The POWERADD Pilot Pro2 is a little different than most power banks in that it’s designed to replace both your laptop and phone chargers. It has two USB ports, a barrel connector, and a set of laptop power adapters with decent coverage.
I recently put my laptop’s power adapter in a drawer, slipped a POWERADD Pilot Pro2 into my messenger bag, and went out into the world, because you can never have enough power on the road. I put this little power bank to the test over the last week to see how well it works as a laptop charger, how well it holds up when charging phones and other devices, and whether it’s worth adding to your arsenal.
Design: Sleek and compact with questionable color choices
The POWERADD Pilot Pro2 isn’t the most attractive power bank I’ve ever seen, but it has its own distinct style. The most serious flaw is that the top is two-tone piano black and matte silver, with white plastic on the underside. When viewed from the side, the three-color approach doesn’t look so great, and the white plastic gives it a cheap appearance.
It’s about the same size as a trade paperback, but slightly thinner and significantly heavier. Although it’s small enough to fit into a briefcase, bag, or purse, this isn’t a power bank you’ll want to keep in your pocket.
When compared to my Pixel 3 and HP Spectre x360, the overall aesthetic is a little dated, but it’s small enough that it doesn’t get in the way or draw too much attention.
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Initial Setup: Good to go after an initial charge
The initial setup is straightforward. Simply take the Pilot Pro2 out of the box, connect it to the power source, and you’re ready to go. It’s best to charge it completely before using it, which took me just under three hours, but you can use it while it’s charging if your device doesn’t use a lot of power.
Setup is slightly more difficult if you want to use it to power your laptop. To begin, insert the included barrel connector into the appropriate jack, then locate and insert the adapter tip designed for your laptop. Then you plug in your laptop and tap the power button to select the proper output voltage.
The only way the process could be made any easier is if the Pilot Pro2 could automatically select the appropriate voltage output. That process is actually automated for phones and other USB devices.
The most important feature is that the Pilot Pro2 can be used as a charger while its internal battery is charging.
Display: Crisp little LCD display is very bright
The Pilot Pro2’s display is small, but it does the job. If you press the power button, it displays a visual representation of the remaining battery charge, the percentage remaining on the charge, and the output voltage. If the power bank is plugged in, it stays on all the time, and if the battery is being drained, it turns off automatically after about three seconds.
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Sockets and Ports: Two USB and a barrel connector
The Pilot Pro2 falls short when it comes to sockets and ports. Two full-size USB ports, one barrel connector input, and one barrel connector output are included. Depending on the needs of your devices, both USB ports can output 1 or 2.5A, and the barrel connector can output 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, and 20V.
The Pilot Pro2 comes with a nice assortment of adapter tips, as the barrel connector is designed to provide power to your laptop instead of your actual laptop power adapter. Out of the box, ten tips are included, providing adequate coverage for Sony, Toshiba, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, HP, Samsung, and Dell laptops.
While the coverage is adequate, you should double-check that the package contains a tip that is compatible with your laptop. There are two HP-specific tips, but neither of them worked on my HP Spectre x360. Because I use that as my daily driver when I’m not at work, I needed to find a compatible tip to put the Pilot Pro2 through its paces.
Battery: Beefy 23,000 mAh capacity for plenty of portable power
The Pilot Pro2’s battery capacity is 23,000 mAh, which isn’t bad for a power bank of this size and price. It’s not enough to keep a power-hungry laptop like the HP Spectre x360 running all day outside of the office, but it’ll suffice if you have access to power in your car, at a coffee shop, or elsewhere.
When I plugged the Pilot Pro2 into my completely dead HP Spectre x360 15 and left it alone with the laptop turned off, I discovered that it wasn’t quite up to the task. I was able to get a full five charges with a little juice left over when I used it exclusively with my Pixel 3.
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The Pilot Pro2’s 23,000 mAh battery takes 12 hours to fully charge, according to POWERADD, but I found that to be an exaggeration. I discovered that the Pilot Pro2 charges from completely dead to full in under four hours with nothing plugged into it.
The most important feature is that the Pilot Pro2 can be used as a charger while its internal battery is charging. That meant I could safely leave the power adapter for my HP Spectre x360 at home and run entirely on the Pilot Pro2. When you ask it to power multiple devices at the same time, it charges its internal battery slower, but it saves the weight and space of carrying both a power bank and a laptop power adapter.
Charging Speed: Automatically sets 1A or 2.5A for cell phones
There are two USB ports on the Pilot Pro2. I noticed no difference in charging speed when plugging into one versus the other, despite the fact that one claims to provide 1A and the other 2.5A. My Pixel 3 received 1.46A from both ports.
While USB chargers that output 2.5A are sometimes referred to as quick or fast, the charging experience you’ll get from a device like the Pilot Pro2 is nothing like the fast charging you’ll get from the iPhone X or Pixel 4 and a factory charger. The charging speed is the same as any other USB charger with a 2.5A output.
While the coverage is adequate, you should double-check that the package contains a tip that is compatible with your laptop.
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Price: Expensive for the power you get
The POWERADD Pilot Pro2 is on the pricey side of the scale, with an MSRP of $90 and a battery capacity of 23,000mAh. You can get larger capacity power banks for less money, and you can get similar-priced devices with more USB ports for the same price.
When compared to generic power bricks, the Pilot Pro2 falls short, but it shines when compared to power bricks designed to be used as laptop power supplies. Rather than having a power outlet to plug in your own adapter, this unit can either replace your current adapter for travel or completely replace your adapter if it is lost or broken.
The Pilot Pro2 price isn’t bad considering you’re getting two devices in one.
Pilot Pro2 vs. Omni Mobile
In terms of function and price, the Pilot Pro2 compares favorably to the Omni Mobile, which is one of its closest competitors. The Omni Mobile costs a lot more, around $130 (see on Amazon), and the 25,600mAh battery is only slightly bigger than the Pilot Pro 2’s.
Unlike the Pilot Pro2, the Omni Mobile has a USB-C port that can output 60W, but you’ll need to purchase an additional fast charger component if you want to use your phone’s fast charging capabilities. It also has two regular USB ports and a built-in wireless charger, both of which are missing from the Pilot Pro2.
If your laptop is covered by one of the adapter tips included with the Pilot Pro2, the Pilot Pro2 is a much better deal than the Omni Mobile. If you’re looking for a portable wireless charger and don’t mind paying a little extra, the Omni Mobile is a good choice.
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The Final Word
The Pilot Pro2 is a fantastic laptop charger, phone charger, and power bank all in one. It’s a little pricey for a regular power bank, but the fact that it completely replaced both my laptop and cell phone chargers in my road kit makes it a no-brainer. If you really need wireless charging, the Omni20 or Omni Mobile are better options, but the Pilot Pro2 saves a lot of weight and space compared to the devices it replaces.