MacBook battery packs are a thing now. Since the adoption of USB-C, it has allowed third-party manufacturers to create portable batteries for MacBook and MacBook Pro. There are a few big players on the market, most recently Mophie. Aukey has also released an upgraded version of their massive 30,000mAh battery, so we went hands on to test it out.

Hands on with Aukey 30,000mAh USB-C battery pack

Like similar batteries, it is quite large. That is just something you want when the battery is meant to power a laptop for any real amount of time. The exterior is a bit on the bland side. Basically a large plastic shell, similar to the ravPower model we reviewed. It’s not my favorite by any means, but at least it is unassuming and the plastic won’t damage any of your gear when tossed in a bag.

There are no crazy LEDs lined up the side to let you know the charge. Instead, they are built into the button. They aren’t as useful I had I hoped though. When you power the battery on, they will be one of 3 colors. White, green, or red. If it is white, you have 70%-100% remaining. Green represents 30%-70%, and red represents the remaining 30%. Most batteries usually break it up into 25% sections, but in this case, you have roughly thirds. I’d prefer a little more information on the remaining power.

Advantages

On the positive side of things, they include a solid USB-C cable you can use to charge the battery, or your Mac. The 30,000mAh (111 watt hour) battery is the highest capacity we’ve seen, at a very good price. It also incorporates other handy features like multiple USB-A ports, utilizing their AiPower and Qualcomm Quickcharge 3. You also have options when charging the battery. You can use the USB-C port, or you can use the micro USB.

Disadvantages

One disadvantage is the efficiency of the battery. Compared to the non-Power Delivery version, it dropped from 80% to 76% efficiency. That is how much of the capacity is actually delivered as power to whatever it is you are charging. That number isn’t bad, but it is squarely in the middle of the pack. Another downside for me was the inability to charge the battery from your MacBook. The battery won’t power itself by plugging the cord into your Mac, unless you use the Micro USB. That said, the would take a long time to charge. Think like 10-12 hours.

Other small downsides include the boring exterior, and lack of communication on the remaining battery level.

Wrap up

The Aukey PB-Y3 is unquestionably the largest Power Delivery battery out there, at least right now. That is a huge advantage, and it comes in with a great price tag of only $60. That’s really hard to beat. The question is, does capacity and price make up for the design, battery gauge, decreased efficiency, and lack of charging from your Mac? I think for most people, the answer could be yes. If you fall in that boat and you’re looking to pick one up for yourself, you can find it over on Amazon for $69.

  • Charlie

    These are great but there is no way you can carry these with you when you fly, many airport securities won’t let you carry something like this anymore. To me that just defeat the purpose

    • Andrew O’Hara

      Hi Charlie! Actually, you totally can! But lets be more specific! So! Airline rules!

      The FAA says all airlines allow you to carry a portable battery pack all the way up to 100 watt hours, That means all the previous batteries we’ve looked at for the MacBook Pros are totally fine. This one is above that list at 110 watt hours.

      But don’t worry! You aren’t out of luck! The FAA has approved fliers to carry up to 2 batteries that are between 100-160 watt hours. You may need to check with the particular airline to make sure its ok with them though, as that is optional for airlines to agree to.

      That said, its really not a big deal. I’ve flown with a 150 watt hour HyperJuice battery for my Mac for many years. If you look at the airlines website, they specify what they allow, and I haven’t found any major airlines that won’t allow 2 batteries, per person, up to 160 watt hour.

      Here is the text from American Airlines for instance!
      Lithium-ion battery acceptance by Watt-hour (Wh):
      Less than 100 Wh – Unlimited quantity in carry-on baggage
      100 – 160 Wh – 2 spares in carry-on baggage
      160 – 300 Wh – Contact Special Assistance