Why all the hype around XTAR PB2C and PB2SL powerbank-chargers? Honest review and discussion.

I really wanted to like the PB2C and PB2SL powerbank-chargers from XTAR. I have seen a positive reviews from

https://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%20Charger%20Xtar%20PB2C%20UK.html

https://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%20Charger%20Xtar%20PB2S%20UK.html

Amazon and elsewhere.

Ordered my first XTAR PB2C ORANGE from XTAR Official Store. They shipped BLACK. As I had a quite good deal for it, I decided to keep it. Box powered ON fine, topped up my Japanese made cells (Panasonic NCR18650) to a nicely balanced 4.19V. I left the batteries inside PC2C and two days later it does not power ON again. Zero LEDs ON, no power on the input/output.

I returned it and got a refund.

In the meantime, I ordered the newest XTAR PC2SL from the same XTAR Official Store. Arrived on time. I put the cells in, and it showed the numbers on the display just OK. Maybe 5V output might be more stable as it jumped from 4.8V to 5.0V and back all the time. Charged phone seemed unaffected through.

When I used the PB2SL to charge the batteries it became quite warm (2x2A charging) but I guess nothing to worry about.

When batteries were charged, I noticed that the display (is it OLED as I read somewhere?) became faulty. Some of the sections were not working/ much dimmer than the working rest.

Questioned XTAR, and they tried to bribe me with coupons if I cancel the return and write positive 5-star reviews about BOTH PB2C and PB2SL. Even when my experience tells me absolutely opposite – 2 of two dead/faulty. I guess that would explain the positive reviews around.

I think, I will just return it for a refund too as they want me to lie in the reviews for $20 when I paid £20 for the actual item that is faulty. No deal for me at all.

As I still wanted a tiny powerbank, I went and ordered PB2C, this time from a different, XTAR Factory Store.

Item arrived on time. When I dropped the cells in, it powered ON and stayed at 4 LEDs for some time. I could not switch it OFF using the button. The instruction manual states that the button is for powering ON, nothing about powering OFF, so I thought it will auto standby after some seconds of no activity.

After 20 minutes, to my surprise, the 4 LEDs were still ON. I took the cells OUT of the box and the 4 LEDs went OFF. The device never powered ON again. I left one cell for an hour when I was testing/ writing to XTAR and the cell went from 99% to 90%, so I guess it still draws some substantial current regardless. I do not want to risk a fire, so won’t be trying it again. To me, it is DEAD.

Do you have/had PB charger from XTAR? What are your experiences?

Are XTAR really that bad quality, or am I extremely unlucky to have 100% failure rate 3 out of 3?

Is it possible that I am missing something?

Thanks.

1 Thank

Thanks for signing up, Photolunatic!

1 Thank

I’d not heard of those xtar PB chargers, they seem very expensive for what they are.

I own a Lumintop branded PD2 (now Branded Yonii PD2) version and also a LiitoKala Lii-MP2, had both for a couple of years with no issues and they cost me about £10 each delivered back then.

1 Thank

WOW. Either you have bad luck or the quality of these things has really deteriorated.
I have the older version of the PB2S. (non L). I got it for the power bank function more than any other feature. When I got it I charged a couple of pairs of 18650 and 21700 cells. They terminated properly and I called it good. I tested it with a couple of 21700 cells in it for the power bank function. I could charge my phone at about 16 watts as well as an Amazon HD 10 tablet. I ran the cells down to about 3.5 volts. Charged them back up. Then called it good. I have had the thing for about a year and haven’t touched it since initial testing.

Honestly I never got it thinking I would use it as my primary charger or power bank. Just a backup or something to toss in a bag for a travel charger.

Maybe I shouldn’t depend on the darn thing. But at least I got the color that I ordered and it survived initial testing. Even with that, it is not a device that I would “hype”. Just something I hope will work when I need it.

1 Thank

Thanks, for a warm welcome.

I agree that they are expensive for what they are.

I researched some other options before and Lii-MP2 reportedly has conversion efficiency below 70% which ain’t great.

Can’t confirm that, but here is the sauce (I used YT translation): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMgqub_ww9Y

I do not think that I will try ordering the 4th time anytime soon.
I spent too much time researching, waiting for them to arrive and then returning.

I own good (balance) chargers and lab equipment (multimeters, lab power supply) and quite knowledgeable about Li-Ion, Li-Po technology. Just wanted to reuse 18650 cells in the powerbank as I deem those safer than flat powerbanks that became spicypillows after a while.

1 Thank

It seems like it.
I could not believe myself that I received 3 duds in a row. All from the official source.

I do not want to ruin their sales operation, but I feel the need to share my findings with the community in the hope that XTAR will take quality of the components more seriously.

It looks like it is more cost-effective for them to make high % of duds instead of testing every single one before selling to customers.

I am disappointed as I had an impression that XTAR is a higher tier Chinese production, especially seeing those anti-fraud/counterfeit stickers.

I reviewed (and thus got for free) both the OG version of the PBwhatever and then the newer version of the otherPBwhatever. No idea about any newer versions that came out since.

No problems with either one. They always seemed to work reliably for me, and I liked having a “powerbank” that I can use as a charger for flashlight batteries.

1 Thank

After some research I’ve bought PB2SL mainly to get more recent version.
Also on AliExpress are few clones, including nice looking Liitokala. I don’t know if their internals are the same, so I’ve put my bet on Xtar.

I’ve chosen it mainly that is uses 21700 which I’ve a lot and I can multiply capacity of powerbank just taking more cells. And also works as charger too.

In price of PB2SL and two 5000 mAh 21700 you can buy decent 20000 mAh powerbank (or probably more) which weight ratio will be better. But I wanted something where I can replace cells, so it was main factor.

3 Thanks

Just to keep you guys updated.

As a solution to the PB2SL being faulty, XTAR offered to sent me a new replacement with a battery if I pay $5 for shipping and cancel the return/refund case.

I was silly enough to do it.

The replacement PB2SL arrived today without battery, cable, charger or even packaging.

It also has a much more blurry display that the one I had before. I mean, the ‘glass’ is more opaque, so the display appears to be blurry and not that crisp as the one I had before.

It also seems not to switch to 9V or 12V and only charges at 5V. Well, not even that, the voltage drops to 4.8V during the charge.

I am shocked. Four items ordered - 2 DOA, third faulty and the fourth not complete and definitely not working at 18W that was advertised to do.

If the product they’ve made in the past were good, that would only mean that they decline in quality significantly.

What a waste of money and time that experience with XTAR was.

Definitely, I won’t purchase anything from XTAR any more and would suggest you do the same.

My PB2SL still ‘works’ after a year and a half - but it’s super finicky and inconsistent. I don’t really think there was much ‘hype’ around this product, at least not when I purchased it. I saw like 1 youtube review and there weren’t any others at the time. I think it’s more so there’s no other alternatives that do the same thing. It’s an interesting concept that hasn’t been executed in quite the same way by any other manufacturers. There are similar looking items from I think lumintop and klarus - but they look so similar I just assumed they were all rebadges/clones of the same products. Could be wrong about that, but that’s what it looked like to me.

I do have to agree with you - Xtar’s QC leaves a lot to be desired. I have a bunch of their tabletop chargers and all have had issues of various kinds. They still kind of work though, so I keep using them, but I probably will try another brand after this.

2 Thanks

Your experience really sucks, and I don’t know if you’re just terribly unlucky or if their quality has gone to !@#$.

I bought a PB2S a few years ago, and it’s been pretty good. I bought it because I wanted to get into the 21700 world, and my charger at the time couldn’t handle them. I really liked that it could do double duty as a powerbank- at the time I got it there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of good 10,000 mAh powerbanks on the market either.

It’s always worked well for me. It’s ridden around in my backpack with a pair of 50Es in it since I got it, and it’s been reliable both as a charger and as a powerbank. I don’t use it every day, but I bet I use it often enough that it’s got a few hundred charge/ discharge cycles on it. Nobody else seems to really make anything that works like it either, so I’ll just keep using it until it dies I guess.

4 Thanks

A year ago I purchased two XTAR PB2SL from AmazonUS ( Amazon.com ) for $24 each which is still the asking price today.

Both appear to function identically and correctly, but there is an issue identified in the HKJ review mentioned later in this post concerning parasitic drain for the earlier PB2S which from my understanding is also an issue present in the updated PB2SL.

I do not have and have never seen the PB2S which was the earlier version before XTAR updated it in 2023 with a removable spacer for changing the effective length of the battery compartment and renamed it to be the PB2SL.

But using unprotected flat top 21700 cells in the PB2SL is not ideal in my opinion. They are too tight when using the removable spacer and too loose without the removable spacer.

Also, in the review of the PB2S by forum member HKJ at Review of Charger & Power bank Xtar PB2S there is this warning:

“The charger has a very low discharge current when not used, except if the batteries are completely empty, then it will drain them too much. This means it is a bad idea to leave batteries in the charger/power bank when not used.”

And this graph in the review by HKJ demonstrates the behavior:

1 Thank