The mythical Phoenix bird arises from the ashes of its previous reincarnation, but Powertraveller’s Phoenix 90 has stamina to spare when powering video lights like Akurat’s on-camera A1 and Vibesta’s Peragos disc lights all at the same time.
Where the Phoenix 90 is similar to the mythical bird is that the former can be recharged quickly with a Powertraveller Falcon 40 solar panel when there’s bright sunshine, arising from an almost empty state to ready-to-go in less than a day. Luckily, though, it doesn’t look like its namesake at all.
No, Powertraveller’s version has much better looks. I didn’t know that you could actually design an LCD screen so that it blends in with the unit’s design the way the Eames chair is in perfect harmony with its ottoman, but this power pack has that. The small, rounded-corners LCD displays the USB-C and DC output ports’ current voltage and the percentage of remaining battery power. However, there’s a minor caveat to the design — minor because I love great design and often put form over function — and that’s readability. If it had been a little bit bigger, it would have been much easier to read the data. It would also have ruined the harmony of the whole and that would be a shame, but I must admit my 60-years old eyes had a hard time reading the small characters, especially in bright sunlight.
The Phoenix 90 weighs 695g, is waterproof and dust proof to an IP65 rating and — need I repeat — looks gorgeous. The same design agency that took care of the appearance of the Condor 100 designed the Phoenix which is more elegant because it lacks the mains power port of the Condor.
So, the Phoenix comes with the tried-and-tested power tips for a whole bunch of laptops and other devices. I tested the Phoenix 90 with the video lights I mentioned earlier and as a power supplier for my Hahnel 12V Sony NP-F970 batteries charging station. I also used it to power a GoPro HERO 8 and the Akurat and one Vibesta light simultaneously. Although the unit distributes power across the different ports when you use them at the same time and will decrease the amperage if the total exceeds its maximum possible output, I never got to that point with my setup.
As with all Powertraveller equipment, the Phoenix 90 is robust and can take some rough handling. However, I will be handling it gently so its surfaces don’t get scratched too much. That’s why I found it a pity there’s no carry case for the Phoenix in the box as there is with the Condor 100. I solved that ‘problem’ with an old hard protection case for two 3.5in disks I still had lying around. The Phoenix fits the case perfectly with ample room for the accessories next to it. Those accessories include a charger — the same nicely designed one that comes with the Condor 100 — a thick and strong lanyard, the tips and cables.
As with the Condor 100, I think the lanyard is a detail that’s important in that you can hang the Phoenix instead of having to find a place where you can put it in — which is why I think the Gorilla range is somewhat less appealing now than it was before Powertraveller introduced the Condor and the Phoenix.
To me, the Phoenix 90 is an object of desire as much as it is an efficient and powerful power pack. To people who just want to run or charge their equipment off a power pack it’s hard to see what could be better.