External battery packs that support Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0 standards are quite easy to find, but when you're looking for one that can do 5V/3A output for the latest Nexus phones' "Rapid Charging" your options are ... limited. Monoprice is well known for its accessories of all kinds, and amongst its stable of Select Series external batteries it offers a USB-C version perfectly targeted at the Nexus 6P and 5X users out there.
It's a very standard 10,000 mAh battery pack that will give you all the capacity you need, but it has the added bonus of being charged by a USB-C port that also pulls double duty as an output at Nexus Rapid Charging speeds. How does it work in the real world? I've been using it for a couple of weeks, and here's what I've found.
Design and build
Monoprice has gone with a long-and-skinny style of design that tapers off to the sides like a pillow, which is pretty standard for batteries of this capacity and makes it easy to slip in a bag (or a pocket, if you really want to). It's covered primarily in hard and slightly textured black plastic, with a streak of fingerprint-attracting glossy plastic highlighting the Monoprice logo, power button and capacity indicating LEDs.
It's a very standard design, with little flair — but there's nothing wrong with that.
On the business end you'll find a single USB-C port for both input and output, as well as a standard USB-A port as a secondary output. The USB-C port can output 5V/3A of power, while the USB-A is limited to 5V/2.4A. You get a small and simple USB-A to -C cable in the box for charging, but it charges up just fine with any other USB-C cable you have. This would normally be a bit of a downside for many people who would prefer to charge it with the more ubiquitous (at this point) Micro-USB port, but as this battery perfectly targets new Nexus owners, you're going to have USB-C cables on you already.
I'm slightly disappointed by the plastic-on-plastic build after being spoiled by some batteries that sport sturdier metal enclosures, but it gets the job done and this thing is very clearly assembled well. And considering the very affordable price — about $30 — it's hard to get too upset about the build. This is just an external battery, after all. It's a tool, not a fashion statement.
Charging speeds and value
As anyone who's used an external battery pack before knows, these batteries aren't going to perfectly match the charging speeds of a wall charger, despite what it says on the box. Not only can voltages fluctuate when pulling from a battery to charge another battery, but in the case of a portable battery you're often using the phone at the same time which makes it seem less effective as well.
There's no Qualcomm Quick Charge, but Nexus users don't care about that.
That truism extends to the Select Series 10,000 mAh USB-C battery, where it purports to offer 5V/3A charging — just like the charger in the Nexus 6P's box. While it indeed triggers the "Rapid Charging" message on my Nexus 6P and 5X, the charging speeds are just a bit slower than what I can get from their included USB-C wall chargers. At full power the Monoprice Select Series battery charged my Nexus 6P at the nominal rate of about 1% per minute in testing, but over the course of a longer charge cycle, like adding 50% to the battery, power fluctuated enough to take longer than 50 minutes.
Even with that being the case, this battery offers faster charging speeds for the latest Nexus phones than the other external batteries out there that top out at 5V/2.4A (or more likely 5V/2.1A). The trade-off is not having Quick Charge 3.0 support for other devices — though you can always fall back to the 5V/2.4A port for a slower, steady charge of non-USB-C devices. (And yes, you can use both ports at once.)
If you're using a Nexus 6P or Nexus 5X as your daily phone, and you need a big battery specifically for it, this is one to check out. Very few batteries out there will offer these Rapid Charging speeds, and the rest of the battery hits the usual requirements for this type of accessory. And at $30, it won't set you back much either.
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