NITECORE Carbo 10000 Power Bank Review
The NITECORE Carbo 10000 Power Bank squeezes 10,000 mAh worth of juice into an exceptionally slim package—ideal for the efficient traveler.
- Very slim for its 10,000 mAh capacity
- Easy to slip into pockets thanks to its rounded corners
- Unibody carbon fiber design enhances build quality
- Tricky to determine charge level as LED indicators bleed light into each other
- Conspicuous branding and warning labels
- Can be easily dragged around with heavy cable
5.54 oz (157.1 g)
4.88 in x 2.32 in x 0.45 in (12.4 x 5.9 x 1.1 cm)
Get up to 15% off NITECORE • Join Pack Hacker Pro
We have plenty of praise for NITECORE’s NB10000 Power Bank because of its small size and high capacity. After a while, it’s easy to forget that it’s a 10,000 mAh power bank until we use a similarly-sized one and find out it’s only half the capacity. The ease of packing, while giving us the most juice per ounce, made the NB10000 one of the best-suited power banks for our needs. However, that doesn’t seem to have stopped NITECORE from improving its design. Enter the Carbo 10000 Power Bank.
To be clear, NITECORE says this isn’t an outright replacement for the NB10000, as the Carbo 10000 will exist alongside it. Still, we can clearly see the DNA shared between the two units. You still get roughly the same shape, size, and even aesthetics to a certain extent. So what’s the big deal, then? Well, let’s just say they’ve cut a few corners—and not in a bad way.
We’ll start with the exciting part by immediately discussing the Carbo 10000 shape. Yes, it’s also a thin slab of a power bank like the NB10000, whether you’re talking about V1 or V2. However, the unibody chassis is the most striking departure from the NB10000’s design. There are no screws or seams around the carbon fiber body. In fact, the only breaks in the construction are the top ends (they needed a way to get the lithium-ion batteries in there, after all). And yes, it’s also IPX5-rated water resistant, though we still wouldn’t throw it in the pool.
The most noteworthy side-effect of this unibody design is the rounded corners. They make it a lot easier to hold in the hand when you’re trying to clutch it behind your smartphone. There’s another, more significant, side effect, but we’ll save that for the packability section.
As much as we’d like to say that the Carbo 10000 Power Bank is all carbon fiber, black plastic, and metal, it does have its fair share of accents and trim. There are yellow outlines for the ports that make them easy to spot under poor lighting conditions. That’s a good feature, and we welcomed it on NB10000’s updated version. However, NITECORE takes it a step further with the Carbo 10000 Power Bank.
The branding on the side is big, yellow, and very noticeable. Alongside are the obligatory warning labels most electronics come with printed in very bright white. The whole ensemble looks very utilitarian, or, to put it another way, the Carbo 10000 Power Bank looks equally at home in a toolbox as it does in a tech pouch. If that sounds appealing to you, then there you go. Other brands try their best to balance this out by printing labels and branding in subtler colors that match the rest of the body—and that’s honestly what we prefer.
Now, let’s talk about ports. The Carbo 10000 Power Bank has one USB-A port able to output between 15W (5V*3A) and 18W (9V*2A, 12V*1.5A), while the USB-C port can do up to 20W (9V*2.22A, 12V*1.68A). Supported fast charging standards are Quick Charge (QC) for the USB-A port and Power Delivery (PD) for the USB-C port. But keep in mind that using both ports to charge two devices simultaneously drops the output to 15W (5V*3A) each.
The USB-C port doubles as the Carbo 10000 Power Bank’s charging input. The charging rate is between 12W (5V*2.4A) and 18W (9V*2A), though that will depend on the charging adapter you’re using to charge the Carbo 10000 Power Bank. You’ll have to use your own, although a USB-C cable comes included in the box.
Simultaneous input and output is also supported. Use the USB-C port to charge the Carbo 10000 Power Bank while using the USB-A port to charge a device. It’s a clunky setup, though, and one that won’t efficiently charge either device, but the option is there if you need to use it.
As its name suggests, the Carbo 10000 Power Bank has a 10,000 mAh capacity which—on paper at least—is enough to fully charge an iPhone 14 Pro Max’s 4,323 mAh battery twice over. That said, charging isn’t a 100% efficient process, so it’ll be less than that. On that note, how do you keep track of and manage the Carbo 10000 Power Bank’s charge level?
With LEDs and a mode button, of course! There are four dots beside the USB-C port, with the three nearest to the port emitting blue lights to indicate charge level. Simply tap on the mode button to make them light up. One light on means the Carbo 10000 Power Bank is 30% charged, two lights mean 70%, and three mean 100%. It’s a simple system, but one that has a flaw. The blue light tends to bleed into the neighboring dots, so it can be quite tricky to tell whether you have 30% or 70% charge levels. The NB10000 V2 gets around this issue by having bright LEDs, making them more distinguishable, but the Carbo 10000 Power Bank’s LEDs aren’t as bright.
So what about that fourth LED? Unlike the rest, it emits a white light to indicate that the Carbo 10000 Power Bank has entered low current mode. Simply long-press the mode button to activate and long-press again to deactivate. Low current mode is ideal for charging low-power devices such as wireless headphones, smartwatches, or other wearable devices.
The Carbo 10000 Power Bank is technically bigger and heavier than the NB10000. We’re talking about differences that are fractions of an inch and an ounce, only noticeable once you have both in your hands. That said, the technically bigger Carbo 10000 Power Bank is a clear winner in terms of packability simply because of its rounded edges and corners.
The roundness of the Carbo 10000 Power Bank makes it easier to slip into tight-fitting pockets, whether they are in a tech pouch, travel backpack, or pants. This translated to less worrying on our part if the corners will snag on a loose thread or fabric. It’s a subtle but clever change, which goes to show there’s more to packability than just sheer size and weight.
As you can see below, the Carbo 10000 Power Bank looks nearly identical to the NB10000 (V1 on the left, V2 on the right), even though they exist in NITECORE’s lineup together. Features-wise, there’s not much of a difference, save for the brighter LEDs on the NB10000 V2 and the Carbo 10000 Power Bank’s more rounded edges and corners.
We’d still go for the Carbo 10000 Power Bank since it’s easier to pack. As for the light bleed issue, we treat anything below three blue lights as “need to charge,” so it’s not a deal-breaking issue for us.
Features-wise, the Carbo 10000 Power Bank falls short of its beefier competition. The Anker PowerCore Lite 10000 mAh, for example, has one extra Micro USB port. A much closer size comparison would be Anker’s PowerCore Magnetic 5K. Though it has MagSafe-compatible charging, it’s only half the capacity at 5,000 mAh.
Then there’s the Satechi Quatro Wireless Power Bank. This power bank includes two wireless charging spots plus a plethora of charging ports. You can charge up to three devices simultaneously, with two charging wirelessly. The catch? It’s more than twice the size of one Carbo 10000 Power Bank.
- Very similar to the NB10000 but the key differences are that it’s slightly heavier, and more durable due to the unibody carbon fiber material
- Digging the round edges so far—it’s a lot cleaner than the previous model
- The giant text on the side is aesthetically off-putting in an otherwise beautiful form
- Great that you can charge 2 devices at once
- LEDs can certainly bleed into one another making it hard to see if it’s at 1, 2, or 3 bars
- Low current mode is easy to activate, but the LEDs for this and charging are a little dim
- The unibody carbon fiber frame is excellent and the curved corners make it really easy to pack away
- Overall, prefer this iteration to the other NITECORE powerbanks