From taking gallery-worthy photos to gaming on the go, most of us expect our smartphones to do more than ever. The good news is that the best smartphones are more than capable of keeping up. But sometimes they need a little boost, and that’s where a portable charger comes in. I recently tested out the Nimble Champ Portable Charger while traveling across the country, commuting around town and even just around the house.
Despite the admittedly steep price, I still think this is one of the best portable chargers for a day spent on the move, largely because it ticks off several boxes that its competitors don’t.
I started looking for a high-quality portable charger after I upgraded to the Galaxy S22, my first flagship phone in a number of years. I opted for the base S22 model over the more powerful versions, because I wanted something smaller and more affordable, and I didn’t expect to need the high-end features packed into the S22 Ultra or the S22+. The S22 is a great phone with a stylish design and excellent cameras, and I love that I can actually use one-handed. But the trade-off is the battery life. The battery is a small 3700mAh, and when I’m running multiple apps like Maps and Spotify, it drains quickly, too.
After perusing multiple portable chargers, I settled on the Nimble CHAMP 10,000 mAh, first released in 2021. Here’s why I think it’s one of the best portable chargers to buy, especially for Android and Pixel devices.
Capacity: 10,000 mAh
Charging Speed: Up to 18W PD Fast Charging
Weight: 6.4 ounces
Size: 3″ x 2.2″ x 0.99″
Included in the box: Portable battery, USB-A to USB-C cable, startup guide, electronics recycling bag
Tech is tough on the planet, and e-waste is a major issue, especially cables and batteries. The batteries that are used in phones, portable chargers and electric cars are all lithium-ion. Lithium has to be mined, which has substantial environmental costs. It’s a tricky issue to get around, as lithium-ion will be essential to our electrified future. But at the very least, companies can take steps to minimize the impact they have on the environment and promote practices like electronics recycling. Nimble is taking those steps.
For starters, Nimble skips the plastic packaging in favor of recyclable cardboard. The only piece of plastic is a (recycled) plastic bag included in the box. You can fill this bag with up to a pound of old electronics, which you then send to Nimble for them to recycle. One drawback is that if you don’t use this bag, you might just throw it out.
The box contains a USB-A to USB-C cable, a startup guide and the 10k mAh charger.The charger is made from 72% post-consumer recycled plastic, and the company aims to be carbon neutral. It’s a Certified B Corporation, a member of 1% For The Planet and Climate Neutral Certified. None of these certifications are without their own criticisms and shortcomings, but it’s nonetheless an encouraging step for a tech company to take.
It’s Actually Compact
Phones have gotten bigger, which means that in many cases, portable batteries have gotten bigger, too. I picked the S22 for its (relatively) compact size, so I didn’t want a portable charger that would be big and bulky. The Champ isn’t the thinnest, but it is small, and it fits comfortably in the palm of my hand. Its width and length are smaller than that of a credit card.
It’s reasonably lightweight, too. The Champ weighs 6.4 ounces, making it one of the lightest 10K mAh batteries from a major brand. You could reasonably keep it in the back pocket of your jeans. It also won’t take up too much space in a sling bag or fanny pack while hiking or traveling, so you can make room for what’s most important (snacks, obviously). As a casual cyclist, the small size would also work inside my handlebar bag or seat pack.
It’s Built To Keep Up
This is one of the smallest chargers to provide 10,000 mAh, which is handy for everyday use. A larger size will deliver more power, obviously, but it’ll be less pocket friendly. There are some cheap 10,000 mAh options from no-name Amazon brands, but I personally wouldn’t want to take chances with my smartphone using those.
This power bank also offers up to 18W fast charging, which is a big benefit when using a phone like the S22, which drains quickly but is fast charging compatible. Plus, you can charge two devices at once. There’s one USB-A port and one USB-C port, the latter of which is also used to recharge the power bank itself. Some smaller chargers on the market still use micro-USB.
If you’re carrying an Android or Pixel smartphone, wireless earbuds or pretty much any device that isn’t an iPhone, you’ll be able to keep the Nimble Champ and your devices charged with just one cable. iPhone users will still need obviously need their lightning cable, for now.
However, since there’s only one kind of each port on the Champ, you’ll need two different kinds of cables if you need to charge multiple devices at once. But if you want to charge multiple devices throughout the day, you might be better off opting for a 20,000 mAh or larger charger.
Nimble’s Champ charger is also easy to use and it comes in attractive colors like turquoise and dark green. There’s a single button with four LED indicators to tell you the charger’s remaining battery life.
The Verdict: Should You Buy It?
Some users will find the 10,000 mAh size to be insufficient, especially if they’re charging a larger phone or other power-hungry devices. But for peace of mind on a day spent on the go, this charger should be more than sufficient to keep your phone and wireless earbuds topped off. Depending on your device and how you use it, the Nimble Champ should be able to charge your phone at least twice. The fast charging speeds offer added convenience, so you don’t have to spend the whole day hooked up to a charging cable.
- Stylish design
- Dual device charging
- Fast charging friendly
- Steep price
- Not as thin
- Will need extra cables for dual charging
- No carrying pouch included
The charger is also very compact and easy to take on the go, whether that’s in your pocket or a bag. Nimble also has eco-friendly commitments that go beyond other brands in this space, such as eliminating plastic from the packaging and making the unit out of recycled plastics.
However, for $60 on Nimble’s site and $50 elsewhere, this is undoubtedly one of the more expensive chargers in this power range. But it’s arguably the only one that ticks as many boxes in terms of size, power, design and sustainability. Simply put, this is one of the best options for anyone looking for a portable charger.