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This surprisingly stylish power station looks as good as it works

When you find yourself in need of power, you'll be glad you have this battery station that charges well and looks great doing it.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
The PONY 500 battery bank.
Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Winter is coming, and that could lead to power outages. Or maybe fall camping is your jam and you want to still be able to use and charge your devices (because not having a charged phone when camping can be a problem). 

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Oftentimes, I've carried with me small battery packs that are capable of giving me roughly two full charges for my Android phone. When on vacation, that's all I need. But should I find myself in a situation where power isn't an option for an extended period of time, I need something more capable. And trust me when I tell you that I've lived in houses where the power went out so often that battery backups became a necessity. 

Recently, I was sent a power bank that is capable of charging a phone 30 times, a laptop 6 times, a drone 22 times, or a camera 30 times. The device in question is the FJDynamics Pony 500 Power Station and, although it's a bit pricey ($399 at the time of writing), the value it delivers is significant.

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The specs

For those who like to view a list of specs, here they are:

  • Constructed with high-quality aluminum alloy material and can withstand shock, water, low temperatures, scratches, and dust.
  • Starts with just a press of a button.
  • Weighs only 7 lbs.
  • Provides superior endurance, lighter weight, and better performance in colder temperatures than LifePO4 batteries.
  • Operates at nearly 0 dB.
  • Built-in UPS
  • Output ports - 1x USB Type C 100W, 1x USB Type C 65W, 2x USB Type-B 18W.
  • Input ports - 1x USB Type C 100W and a pair of 48V XT-60 input/output ports.
  • Dimensions - 8.5"L x 5.3"W x 3.2"H.
  • Cost - $399

The FjDynamics Pony 500 has a sleek aluminum body and is very user-friendly. The noiseless operation means you can charge your devices even in the quietest of environments and includes an efficient heat dissipation design, to prevent the device from getting even remotely warm. I've charged the device to capacity and used it to charge other devices and have not once felt the Pony 500 get even remotely warm.

How does it perform?

I've charged numerous devices with the Pony 500 and have yet to see the charge indicator dip to the lower levels. This beast just keeps on charging and doesn't blink an eye. And, much to my surprise, most devices charge fairly quickly. Even devices that have been drained to nearly 0% charge as quickly as if they were plugged directly into a wall socket. And, of course, you can use the devices as they charge. 

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When you first pull the Pony 500 out of the box, there are two things you'll need to do. First, you must attach the port plate to the end of the device. Once you've done that, use the included charging cable (that also doubles as a power brick with two USB Type-C and two USB Type-B ports) to charge the battery bank to full. My device arrived at about 20% capacity and it did take a few hours to bring it to a full charge.

The PONY 500 dismantled.

You must first attach the port plate and then charge the device to capacity before using it.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

One thing to keep in mind is that you charge the power station using the USB-C input port that is hidden behind the removable rubber plug on the back of the device.

The back side of the PONY 500.

Charge the Pony 500 using the USB Type-C input port.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

After that, the Pony 500 is ready to go. To charge a device, press the power button on the back and connect your phone, tablet, laptop...or whatever you need. With the leather handle, you can carry it wherever you need or simply put it away, to be used during a power outage or any situation when electric power isn't an option for an extended period.

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I've had enough extended experiences where keeping devices charged has been problematic and would be more than glad to have the Pony 500 around for such situations. If you're in the market for a powerful battery bank that will go the distance, you'd be remiss if you didn't consider this stylish option.

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