The powered armor provides a +50% defense bonus against combat damage while powered on. When the power is depleted, it provides no defense. It requires Strength level 3 to equip. As with other items powered by electrical energy, the Powered Armor can be recharged with a Portable Battery or by interacting with an Energy Recharging Station. Also, a higher Maintenance skill allows it to have a higher maximum power charge capacity.
While its tendency to run out of charge at the most dangerous possible moments is a significant liability, the high protection value and relatively low Strength requirement make this the armor of choice for most people.
Powered Armor uses up its charge twice as fast as implants do, so if you have the inventory space for it, a good idea is to swap it out and equip regular armor when you are simply exploring, and only equip the Powered Armor when you know you are in for a major fight (or if there is a readily accessible charge station).