Even though some solar power banks are better than other ones, most of the time, solar power banks are mediocre. This because they’re just your normal kind of power bank but they can also charge with a solar panel when they’re put into a source of light. However, most of the time the solar recharging for these chargers is so slow that the solar charging part of them is just irrelevant. Then again, the fact that you can recharge through the light while still having the parts of Output and Input charging is what makes it most intriguing.
This is the PowerAdd Apollo3 Solar power bank that does a pretty good job at being a power bank but let’s see if the solar part of it goes anywhere special.
The power bank starts with a power capacity of 8,000mAh and that going to change because of the inefficiencies during charging. It’s important to know that the power bank uses Lithium Polymer batteries and it has 2 charging ports. For the most part, the solar power bank has a regular conversion rate of 70% and that’s going to result in Output power capacity of 5,600mAh that you can actually use. This kind of conversion rate is quite common with most portables chargers, however, just because it’s the norm, doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing.
You’re losing about 2,400mAh of power capacity that could have been used to charge smartphones a whole nother time and the now with that amount of power gone, you can’t charge a tablet closers to its full power.
With all that said, the 5,600mAh of power is still enough to charge most smartphones about 2.5 times. It’ll be able to charge tablets on the Mini end of the spectrum to about 80% of the way through and it can charge bigger Full-sized tablets about halfway through. So for the most part, you’re going to want to just charge smartphones so you can use the solar power bank a few times before it needs to be recharged.
|Devices||PowerAdd Apollo3 8,000mAh Solar Power Bank (Output Capacity = 5,600mAh )||Phone Capacity||PowerAdd Apollo3 8,000mAh Solar Power Bank|
3.4 Full Charges
3.0 Full Charges
|iPhone 6 Plus||5,600mAh||2,915mAh||2,685mAh
1.9 Full Charges
3.2 Full Charges
|iPhone 6s Plus||5,600mAh||2,750mAh||2,850mAh
2.0 Full Charges
|Samsung Galaxy S6||5,600mAh||2,550mAh||3,050mAh
2.1 Full Charges
|Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge||5,600mAh||2,600mAh||3,000mAh
2.1 Full Charges
|Samsung Galaxy S7||5,600mAh||3,000mAh||2,600mAh
1.8 Full Charges
|Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge||5,600mAh||3,600mAh||2,000mAh
1.5 Full Charges
There are many power banks that have the same kinds of charging port powering design and by that, we mean that the charging ports on this power bank have their charging speeds fixed to a certain speed.
In this case, one charging port has an Output speed of 5V/2.1A and another one has a charging speed of 5V/1.0A.
5V/2.1A Charging port:
Use this charging port at all times because most modern USB charging devices are able to charge faster than just a single amp and by using the 1 Amp charging port you’re just limiting yourself to slower charging speeds.
So if you’re charging 2 devices at once, use this charging port to charge the device that you want to charge the fastest. Even though it won’t charge tablets at a max charging speed it comes pretty close.
5V/1.0A Charging port:
This charging port should be avoided if you’re charging only one device with the solar power bank because it’s only outputting 1 Amp of power. If you’re charging 2 devices at once, then you should know that whatever device you connect to this charging port will be charging slower than the other port.
We know that PowerAdd recommends using smartphones with the 1 Amp port and tablets with the 2 Amp port but it doesn’t really make sense when most smartphones would charge faster with the tablet charging port.
Also, the reason why we think this kind of powering design is just downright bad is because when you’re charging 2 devices at once, you’ll always have 1 device that’s charging slowly.
Let’s start with the main attractions of this power bank, the solar panel recharging.
If you have the solar panels of the solar power bank in direct sunlight the power bank will be able to recharge itself but at a very slow charging speed.
Just how slow? Real slow at 5V/150mA and that’s basically less than a Quarter of a full Amp. If you’re using the solar charging to recharge the power bank fully, then that can take up to 50 hours to happen, and we know that you’re most likely not going to be waiting around that long for the power bank to fully recharge because the Sun itself sure won’t.
The Micro-USB way of recharging the power bank is the more sensible option because when you’re using a 2 Amp wall charger the solar power bank will be able to fully recharge within 7-8 hours at a charging rate of 5V/2.0A. Much faster than solar charging.
Size and Weight:
The power bank itself is quite small and it’s actually very portable. This can’t be said about too many other solar power banks.
It has a length of 5.5 inches, a width of 2.9 inches and a thickness of 0.6 inches. The weight of the charger is surprisingly light at 5.6 ounces. You’ll have no problems holding this in your hands, or placing it on or in your backpack.
It’s easy to use.
The PowerAdd Solar power bank has 2 USB Output charging ports on its short-side and in-between those charging ports is a LED flashlight. The power button is found on one long side of the charger and on the opposite side is where you’ll find the Micro-USB Input charging port.
Charging automatically starts when you plug a device into the USB charging ports and that leaves the power button with 2 main features.
- Checking the power capacity
- Turning on the flashlight.
To turn on the flashlight of the power bank, you just hold the power button down for 3 seconds and to turn it off you do the same thing. The flashlight isn’t that bright and it’s actually comparable to that of a keychain flashlight.
At the corner of the solar charger is where there’s a wrist strap that you can either use on your wrist but it’s better to use it on something like a backpack because that way you could use a carabiner to connect it to your backpack and hopefully the solar panels will have more sunlight exposure.
Structure and Material:
The PowerAdd solar power bank is made of plastic and unfortunately, it’s not a rugged power bank. This is surprising because most solar power banks are rugged meaning that they’re shockproof and waterproof because they usually have covers that are able to cover the charging ports and provide water protection.
So if you’re taking this into the wild then you have to be careful not to drop this from great heights and to keep it away from water.
On the tech side, the solar power bank doesn’t do anything very special but it does things right with the use of safety tech features.
For the most part, it’s a mediocre power bank.
With that said, we give it credit for having the ability to recharge itself using solar energy; but if you’re purchasing this power bank thinking that the solar part of it is what makes it most reliable, well it’s not.
It’s usual parts that make this power bank reliable with its 2 charging ports and Micro-USB recharging.
The power capacity has regular conversion rate and provides a good amount of power to smartphones mostly. Charging design could use some work because you’ll always have a device that’s charging slower than the other one.
A small and light power bank. The use of the flashlight isn’t very helpful because it’s really dim.
Not the best build quality because for a solar power bank it doesn’t have a shockproof or waterproof body.
It’s reliable for the usual reasons, and that’s the fact that it’s a portable charger that can provide power to your devices. Not because of the solar panel.
Specs of the PowerAdd Apollo3 8,000mAh Solar Power Bank:
- Capacity: Advertised: 8,000mAh Real Capacity: 5,600mAh
- Output: Port 1: 5V/2.1A Port 2: 5V/1.0A Max Output: 3.1A
- Input: 5V/2.0A Via Micro-USB Input Port
- LED Power Indicators: 4 LED Dotted Power Capacity Indicators
- Size: 5.5 x 2.5 x 0.6 inches
- Weight: 5.6 Ounces
There you have it, a solar power bank where the best part about it is the power bank itself. With all that said, we understand the limits of the portable charger because it has such a small solar panel, how it can it possibly recharge fast. Well, that’s the thing. Does it really make sense to use solar panels with something as small as a power bank?