Crave Plus Portable charger review: An impressively thin portable battery

A mix of old and new in a really thin design.

Credit: Crave Direct

Last week, the Crave Plus battery made its way to my desk. I've never used any of Crave's products, so I didn't know what to expect from the very, very thin battery pack.

The $50 Crave Plus is the thinnest battery pack I've tested, comparable to the profile of an iPhone 12 without a case. In fact, as I sit here looking at the pack, I realize it's roughly the same size and shape as an iPhone 12 Pro Max. That means it's portable and will slip into a backpack or pocket.

Note: This review is part of our roundup of portable power banks. Go there for details on competing products and our testing methods.

The pack has a capacity of 10,000mAh, or 38Wh. That's enough to charge your iPhone or Android phone two or three times before the battery pack is empty. The entire housing is made of metal, and almost entirely black with silver trim. There are three ports on the bottom of the pack: a microUSB port for charging the pack, and then a USB-C port for charging the pack or other devices, and a standard USB port. On the left edge of the pack, you'll find a power button, along with four status lights that represent the battery's charge level in 25 percent increments.

Overall, I like the design. It looks unique in a mostly uniform-looking product category.

61ewfedh1tl. ac sl1500 Crave Direct

You'll hardly notice this slim, 8.8oz puppy in your pack. 

Charging the Crave Plus at 5V/2.4A took three hours and 12 minutes via the USB-C port. The microUSB port will also charge at that same speed, and it allows you to simultaneously charge the pack while charging two devices—one via the USB-C port, another via the standard USB port thanks to passthrough support.

When it comes to the various charging standards the Crave Plus supports, the list isn't very long. Using the AVHzY USB Power Meter, I tested the output of both ports on the Crave Plus. The USB-A port triggered Apple 2.4A, DCP 1.5A, Samsung 9V, Huawei 9V, QC 3.0, and QC 2.0. The USB-C port triggered QC 3.0, QC 2.0, Samsung 9V, and Huawei 9V charging standards. The Crave Plus does not support Power Delivery. The product page on the Crave website doesn't mention PD support, nor is it mentioned in the text of the Amazon listing. So I'm chalking it up to error that  the Crave Plus is listed as having PD in Amazon's comparison chart.

You don't have to turn the pack on when you plug in a device—it will automatically recognize it and start charging on its own. 

Instead of including a single-serving microUSB port, I would've preferred that Crave included a second USB-C port to give users the option of charging up to three devices at once, and forgoing the need to carry around a special cable just for charging purposes.

The pack's overall efficiency was measured using our standard battery drain test. Out of the 38Wh of total power available, the battery pack turned off after 30.4402Wh. That's an efficiency rating of 80.11 percent, below the overall average of 83.66 percent, putting it in the bottom third of all the packs I've tested.

It's not horrible, but there are more efficient battery packs available. For example, the

Otterbox Fast Charge battery pack is $59.99, has the same overall capacity, with the addition of a Qi wireless charging pad, and an efficiency rating of nearly 86 percent.

Still, if slim and portable are of paramount importance, the Crave Plus is worth considering.

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Jason Cipriani

PC World (US online)
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