Review: PowerAdd Apollo3 8,000mAh Solar Power Bank

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.

Power

Power Capacity:

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.

DevicesPowerAdd Apollo3 8,000mAh Solar Power Bank (Output Capacity = 5,600mAh )Phone CapacityPowerAdd Apollo3 8,000mAh Solar Power Bank
iPhone SE5,600mAh 1,624mAh3,976mAh
3.4 Full Charges
iPhone 65,600mAh 1,810mAh3,790mAh
3.0 Full Charges
iPhone 6 Plus5,600mAh 2,915mAh2,685mAh
1.9 Full Charges
iPhone 6s5,600mAh 1,715mAh3,885mAh
3.2 Full Charges
iPhone 6s Plus5,600mAh 2,750mAh2,850mAh
2.0 Full Charges
Samsung Galaxy S65,600mAh 2,550mAh3,050mAh
2.1 Full Charges
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge5,600mAh 2,600mAh3,000mAh
2.1 Full Charges
Samsung Galaxy S75,600mAh 3,000mAh2,600mAh
1.8 Full Charges
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge5,600mAh 3,600mAh2,000mAh
1.5 Full Charges

Output Charging:

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.

Input Charging:

Solar Recharging:

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.

Micro-USB recharging:

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.

Design

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.

Functional Components:

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.

Build

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.

Tech:

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.

Reliability

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.

Summary:

Power:

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.

Design:

A small and light power bank. The use of the flashlight isn’t very helpful because it’s really dim.

Build:

Not the best build quality because for a solar power bank it doesn’t have a shockproof or waterproof body.

Reliability:

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

Conclusion:

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?

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Review: Opteka-SC4000 Thin Solar Power Bank

Solar power banks might sound useful and even though they’re basically more useful that your regular power bank, there are still a lots reasons why you shouldn’t just go chasing these solar charging devices. They can indeed recharge themselves through the sunlight and possibly any other source of light, but these kinds of chargers are usually lacking in other areas; like their charging speeds, design and even the solar recharging itself being the main part of the device.

This is the Opteka 4,000mAh solar power bank and although it might look quite sleek and professional, we’ll reveal what it really has to offer in this Charger Harbor review.

Power

Power Capacity:

The power capacity of the Opteka is started at 4,000mAh and that’s not what you’re really going to be receiving because the power bank uses Lithium Polymer batteries that aren’t good at converting their energy and as a result, you’re most likely going to receive an Output power capacity of 3,000mAh that you can actually use to charge your device.

It’s a pretty big disappointment because what was meant to be a power capacity that would provide 2 full charges to your smartphone, this Opteka can only provide 1 full charge to most smartphones like your iPhone 6 / 6s Plus smartphones. Having a single charge is very true for larger capacity Android smartphones once you’re charging Galaxy or a Google Pixel smartphones.

If you’re thinking that you can charge tablets with this power bank, you can, but it’s not worth it at all since both the power capacity and charging speeds are not going to provide you with a good experience when charging a tablet.

 Opteka-SC4000 Thin Solar Power Bank (Output Power Capacity = 3,000mAh)Phone CapacityOpteka-SC4000 Thin Solar Power Bank
iPhone SE3,000mAh 1,624mAh1,376mAh
1.8 Full Charge
iPhone 63,000mAh 1,810mAh1,190mAh
1.6 Full Charge
iPhone 6 Plus3,000mAh 2,915mAh85mAh
1.0 Full Charge
iPhone 6s3,000mAh 1,715mAh1,285mAh
1.7 Full Charge
iPhone 6s Plus3,000mAh 2,750mAh250mAh
1.0 Full Charge
Samsung Galaxy S63,000mAh 2,550mAh450mAh
1.1 Full Charge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge3,000mAh 2,600mAh400mAh
1.1 Full Charge
Samsung Galaxy S73,000mAh 3,000mAh0mAh
1 Full Charge
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge3,000mAh 3,600mAh-600mAh
Need 600mAh of More Power Capacity for a full recharge

Output Charging:

The Output charging isn’t that fast because it can only Output 5V/1.0A. A 1 Amp charging speed is a slow one and it’s not going to charge most of your USB charging devices at their max charging speeds.

This is true for smartphones and very true for devices that are tablets and smartphones that are compatible with Quick Charge.

Input Charging:

Solar Recharging:

The solar recharging like on many other solar power banks isn’t that fast and when you have the power bank in direct sunlight with light hitting the solar panel, the max recharge rate of the solar charger is 5V/250mA. That’s basically a Quarter of a single Amp and so if you’re solely recharging the power bank through its solar panel, it will be able to be fully recharged within 12 hours.

However, most of the time you’re not going to fully recharge it from the sun because most of the time it won’t be in direct sunlight and of course, the Opteka can only charge to 75% when it’s being recharged through solar means.

Mini USB Recharging:

Okay, this isn’t’ recharged normally like most portable chargers on the market because you have to use a Mini USB charging cable to recharge the power bank and when you’re recharging the Opteka through the Mini-USB port, its charging speed is 5V/1.0A.

It has a recharge time of 6 hours when being recharged through the Mini-USB Input Port.

Design

Size and Weight:

Even though the power bank isn’t that powerful, it sure is portable because of its small size and weight.

This is because it has a length of 4.5 inches, a width of 3.3 inches and a thickness of 0.5 inches. The weight of the power bank is 6.5 ounces. So it can potentially fit into your pocket if you really wanted it to but it’ll still be a tight fit.

Functional Components:

It’s easy to use with all the functional pieces in the same general area. The USB Output charging port is on a short side and the Mini USB Input is there too. At the top is where you’ll find the power button and 4 Blue LED power capacity indicators. You need to press the power button to begin charging.

Build

Structure and Material:

Not the most durable Solar power bank and that’s really bad because a solar power bank is supposed to have a strong build because the assumption is that you’re going to take this into the outdoors for when you’re camping or hiking.

As a result, dropping the Opteka solar charger can result in damage, and it’s not waterproof at all, so you shouldn’t keep it out in the rain. It’s made of plastic.

Tech:

The power bank makes of a few of the main safety measures like Short-Circuit and Surge protection. It also shuts off charging once your device is fully recharged.

Reliability

For the most part, the Opteka is not a reliable portable charger. It doesn’t provide enough Output power capacity to charge smartphones multiple times, the charging speeds for the Output, Input Solar and Mini USB charging are all slow and the build quality is very poor. You can’t really justify taking this power bank into the wilderness because it isn’t built for that and it can easily get damaged.

Summary:

Power:

The power capacity is on the lower end and can at most, charge your smartphone once. Charging speeds are slow and the solar recharging is barely going to be used because it’s so slow.

Design:

Probably the best aspect of the power bank because it’s a small and lightweight charger.

Build:

It’s not a rugged solar power bank, so it can’t take falls and it isn’t waterproof. Not really meant for the outdoors.

Reliability:

With all of its aspects put into one, the reliability of this power bank solely hangs onto how portable it is because all the other parts are lacking in quality and power.

Specs of the Opteka-SC4000 Thin Solar Power Bank:

  • Capacity:            Advertised: 4,000mAh            Real Capacity: 3,000mAh
  • Output:   5V/1.0A
  • Input:    5V/1.0A Via Mini-USB Input Port
  • LED Power Indicators: 4 LED Dotted Power Capacity Indicators
  • Size: 4.5 x 3.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Weight: 6.5 Ounces

Conclusion:

The Opteka solar power bank tries but it does have the right amount of power or build quality to even be a solar power bank. It’s great that it can charge through sunlight but that doesn’t mean much when the charging speeds that your devices are going to receive are really slow.

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Review: Innoo Tech 10,000mAh Solar Charger

Solar power banks are just your plain old power banks and the only difference is that they have a solar panel installed within them so you charge the power bank via solar panels. That’s really it. The thing that most people don’t understand is that a solar panel actually doesn’t charge that quickly with its solar recharging power, and you’re most likely going to be recharging it through the Micro-USB Input port that you use with most other portable chargers.

With that said, the solar charging isn’t the only valuable asset that Solar power banks take advantage of and they can be very useful in a lot of ways that more conventional chargers can’t be. This is the Innoo Tech solar charger, read on in this Charger Harbor Review to learn more about it.

Power

Power Capacity:

Starting with the power capacity, it does pretty well. You’re started off with an initial power capacity of 10,000mAh and with conversion during charging that’s knocked down to about 8,000mAh. The solar power bank doesn’t take advantage of any special hardware like Pansonic battery cells or any other tech that is able to improve conversion during charging. With that said, we gotta say that the conversion rate is actually pretty good and this is mostly because of its charging speed having a max Output of only 2.1A.

With a power capacity of 8,000mAh, the power bank does a great job at being able to charge most smartphones 4 times or more. Although if you’re charging something like the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, then it’s going to fair a bit lower and being able to give about 2.5 full charges. As for tablets, this charger can do well but only if you’re charging a tablet alone. This is because power capacity won’t be split and all the power capacity will be focused only on a single device.

It doesn’t have the highest power capacity, but it will be able to last you for a few days, and we think that it’s a perfect amount of power capacity for hiking, camping or a simple outdoor venturing for either a few hours or days. So long as you’re charging devices that are within the portable charger’s capabilities of charging.

Output Charging: Max Output: 2.1 Amps    Per Port: 5V/1.0A

The charging speed could use some work. There is 2 Output charging ports and each of them is only capable of charging at 1 Amp. You’re not going to be getting very fast charging for most of the devices that you plan on charging. This goes for most smartphones and definitely for tablets like iPads that have a max charging rate of 2.4 Amps.

However, the charging speed is actually quite good in a way, when you’re charging a device alone. This is because charging speed is shared through the charging ports. So if you’re charging only a single device at any one time, then that device can potentially receive a max charging rate of 2.1 Amps. This is great for higher Amperage charging devices like tablets, and even for smartphones since they can charge beyond a 1 Amp rate as well.

So if you’re using both Output ports then charging speeds can be quite limiting as the power bank is splitting a source of power that is only 2.1 Amps.

Input Charging:    Solar Charging: 5.5V/250mAh      Micro-USB: 5V/1.0A

The main attraction for this power bank is the solar recharging aspect and as we said before at the beginning of this review is that recharging with solar isn’t anything special. The same stands here.

What we mean by that is that the recharging speed through the solar panel is the only 5.5V/250mA. So if you’re recharging it through ONLY the solar panels then it can take up to 40 hours for the power bank to fully recharge. Although that’s not really happening unless you’re constantly keeping it under solar rays. Also, Innoo Tech recommends that you do not leave it under sunlight for very long periods of time because it can actually overheat and get damaged. So if you think that you’re going to be able to recharge it as a respectable charging speed through solar power, then you’re wrong.

Then there’s the traditional way of recharging the power bank which is through a Micro-USB Input port. if you’re using the Micro-USB Input to recharge the solar power bank, then it will take about 6-7 hours to full recharge. It doesn’t matter what wall charger you use since the Input recharge is only 5V/1.0A.

Design

Size and Weight

It’s quite a large power bank, Innoo Tech states that you can place it into your pocket and although that might slightly be possible, we don’t feel like it’s a comfortable possibility.

The length is 6.1 inches, it has a width of 3.1 inches and a 1.6 inch in thickness. It also has a heavy weight of 10.4 ounces. So now we hope you know what mean when we say that we simply don’t think it’s possible to comfortably place it into a pocket.

With that said, though we do think that it’s possible to either carry it around, but even then the weight of it can weigh you down. So it’s best to just use a carabiner on the latch that the power bank has and connect it to a back-pack. This way, you can hopefully get some recharge done if you’re walking outside on a sunny day.

Functional Components

Since the power bank has an IPX5 waterproof rating, the charging ports are covered by a flap and under the flap is where you can the 2 USB Output ports and the Micro-USB Input port. On the side of the charger is where you find the power button and on top is where there are 5 LED Power capacity indicators.

Charging automatically begins once you get a device to the charger and this leave the power button to either check the power capacity that’s left or to turn on the flashlight. Also, one bizarre thing we just mentioned is that there are 5 Power capacity indicators, and here’s why.

1st Indicator: Green: The charger is being charged by sunlight / Blue: 20% Power

2nd Indicator: Blue: 40% Power

3rd Indicator: Blue: 60% Power

4th Indicator: Blue: 80% Power

5th Indicator: Blue: 100% Power

This isn’t to say that solar charging stops when you reach a power capacity of 20%, it’s just that the LED light displays Blue when it reaches 20% of power capacity and Green when it’s recharging to 20%.

One portable side that we mentioned of how portable it is. There’s a latch on the bag where you can hook a carabiner and place it in a backpack. If you want to hold onto the power bank it does have some grooves and indentations that make it comfortable to hold.

Build

Structure and Material

This can basically consider a rugged power bank and this mainly because it’s not only waterproof but also because the build is really solid. On the outside, it’s mostly made of plastic and has rubber in various places and this is mainly so that it withstand shock damage in the event of a fall. Another thing is that the siding that you see aren’t exactly parts of the charger because most or at least all the circuitry is in the center and safe from the environmental effects.

Then there’s the waterproof part. Okay, so the first thing you should know is that the power bank is only waterproof when you have the Output ports covered with the flap. When the charging ports are covered then it has an IPX5 water resistant rating. This means that it can withstand water jets in any directions, and it also means it can withstand rain. However, it CANNOT withstand immersion into water.

Tech

On the tech side, there’s nothing out of the ordinary as the power bank has the basic safety tech to keep you and your devices safe during charging. With that said, it can still overheat and get damaged if you leave it in the sun for too long. Also, don’t charge your devices while it’s being charged from the sun as that will increase heat.

Reliability

For the most part, this solar power bank is reliable. With that said, it’s the solar part that makes it not so reliable for the main feature it was made for. We really think that charging electronic companies should come out with a solar power bank that is able to charge just as fast through its solar panels as it does with its Input ports. This is because recharging speed that is done through the solar panels is not very fast or realistic to even use because of how slow the charging speed is.

Another thing about this power bank is the Output charging speed. It does well if you’re only charging 1 device but if you’re charging 2 devices at once then the 2.1 Amps of power being split up isn’t going to provide a fast charging speed at all.

Summary:

Power:

The power capacity is really the only impressive thing when it comes to its powering capabilities. The Max Output of only 2.1 Amps isn’t very versatile. The recharging that is done through the solar panel is VERY slow and most of the time you’ll find yourself using the Micro-USB Input port.

Design:

It’s quite a large power bank and a heavy one at that too. It’s fairly easy to use and can even use a carabiner with it so you can latch it onto a backpack.

Build:

The build quality is good if we’re talking about the structure and material with it being IPX5 water resistant and it can survive falls. Other than that, the tech side could use some improvements with faster charging.

Reliability:

It’s a reliable enough power bank that does well when you’re using it like just any other portable charger. When it comes to actually using the solar part of it, that when it is very unreliable.

Specs of the Innoo Tech 10,000mAh Solar Charger:

  • Capacity:            Advertised: 10,000mAh            Real Capacity: 8,000mAh
  • Output:  Max Output: 2.1 Amps    Per Port: 5V/1.0A
  • Input:     Solar Charging: 5.5V/250mAh      Micro-USB: 5V/1.0A
  • LED Power Indicators: 5 LED Power Capacity Indicators
  • Size: 6.1 x 3.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Weight: 10.4 ounces

Conclusion:

Solar power banks, we feel, just aren’t there yet. Or at least this one isn’t. It does a pretty good job at being a base power bank, but when you consider what the solar part of it has to offer, it doesn’t deliver a strong package.

buy-now

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Review: Aukey PB-P8 12,000 mAh Dual USB Port Solar Power Bank

pic-10

Solar power banks chargers are a kind of power bank that can be better than your normal power bank chargers. This is because their main attribute is their solar charging capabilities. They can charge by having solar rays from the sun charge the power bank itself and as a result, you don’t have to plug it into the wall to recharge it. However, it can very well be used as a regular charger even if you don’t take advantage of the solar charging.

With that said solar power banks offer a little change with when it comes to power banks and can be a better preference depending on your usage of it. With that said, this review is about this Aukey 12,000mAh solar portable charger. Take a read about if it gives a good standing to the solar arena of chargers.

Power

pic-1

Power Capacity:

So the capacity of this solar charger is 12,000mAh. That’s only the initial power capacity though and you can expect the power capacity that you’re really going to get to be about 9,000mAh. This is because this power bank doesn’t have much focus on good conversion and the heat during charging can make the power capacity lower. Although it’s common for normal power banks to have this problem, one would think that it would have a better conversion rating considering that it’s a solar power bank and will mostly be used outside.

However, the lower power capacity of 9,000mAh can still provide enough charges to smartphones and tablets to still last long enough. You can expect many smartphones to get 3 full charges or much more. Tablets will mostly be able to charge 1 full time or 1.5 times. Altogether, the real capacity is much lower than the initial capacity and we still think it should have lived up closer to its 12,000mAh power because this charger is at crossroads where it can really impress or just be another portable charger. In this case, the power bank’s capacity can last for a few days but for it to last a week without being recharged is not really apparent.

DevicesAukey PB-P8 12,000 mAh Dual USB Port Solar Power Bank (9,000mAh)Phone CapacityAukey PB-P8 12,000 mAh Dual USB Port Solar Power Bank
iPhone SE9,000mAh1,624mAh7,376mAh
5.5X
iPhone 69,000mAh1,810mAh7,190mAh
4.9X
iPhone 6 Plus9,000mAh2,915mAh6,085mAh
3.0X
iPhone 6s9,000mAh1,715mAh7,285mAh
5.2X
iPhone 6s Plus9,000mAh2,750mAh6,250mAh
3.2X
Samsung Galaxy S69,000mAh2,550mAh6,450mAh
3.5X
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge9,000mAh2,600mAh6,400mAh
3.4X
Samsung Galaxy S79,000mAh3,000mAh6,000mAh
3X
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge9,000mAh3,600mAh5,400mAh
2.5X

Going into the charging speed of the power bank, it does quite well. One of USB charging ports has a charging speed of 5V/2.4A. The other port has a charging speed of 5V/1.0A.

pic-2

USB Charging Port 5V/2.4A

This port has the max standard charging speed and the logical usage of this port is for it to be used by a tablet. This is because most tablets like iPads are able to charge at a 5V/2.4A rate. However, with that said, I actually recommend using this port anytime you’re not charging an iPad with the power bank. This is because there are many smartphones and other devices that can charge above the 5V/1.0A charging speed. By using the other charging port that only offers 1.0 Amp charging, the charging speed for the device that you use with it will have slower charging.

So use the 2.4A port at all times if you’re not using the Solar power bank to charge a tablet; the device will be able to charge at its maximum charging speed.

USB Charging Port 5V/1.0A

This port offers a slower charging rate, and that’s all that can be said about it. 1 Amp charging is a very limited charging speed for devices that can charge beyond the 1 Amp rate. So the only time you should use this port is if you’re going to be charging two devices at the same time. However, you should connect the device that you want to charge fastest to the 2.4A port.

Overall, the two charging speeds of the power bank are standard and are kept constant because the max output of the charger is 3.4A. This means that it’s possible for the 2.4A port to maintain a 2.4 Amp Current and for the 1.0A port to maintain a 1.0 Amp current at the same time and as a result the max output is 3.4A.

Recharge

Recharging can be done with two ways. Since this is a solar power bank charger, it can recharge via solar power. This means it can recharge when sunlight is directly hitting the solar panel, the power bank can recharge.

But does this mean that the power bank recharges itself as fast as being recharged from a wall charger?

No, it does not. The recharging speed with solar panel only provides a conversion rate of 23.5%. As a result, if you wanted this power bank to charge to its full capacity using only solar power, then it could take days. We’re not saying the solar part of the charger is a gimmick but it has its situations that it’s most useful and in some instances when it’s not useful. The solar charging is most useful if you’re using it when the actual solar charging is taking place. Or at least, using the power bank while you’re periodically using the charger and recharging it via the solar panel.

If there’s something very important to remember, it’s that the power bank only recharges when sunlight is hitting it directly.

Another recharging option is to use the Micro-USB Input port and honestly, this will be the more preferred kind of recharging option to use. The recharging speed via the Micro-USB Input option is 5V/2.0A. You can fully recharge the power bank in about 7-hours by using the Micro-USB method.

Overall, the solar power bank’s powering capabilities don’t provide that much of a different charging experience. Sure, the power bank can charge via the sun, but it’s not to the point of absolute awe.

Design

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Solar portable chargers are mostly made for the outdoors. This is because the solar panel can be most useful when someone is outside and the sun is hitting the charger’s solar panel allowing it to recharge. Not only that, solar power banks tend to have a tougher body structure and provide a more sturdy feel to them. That’s definitely the case with this Aukey Solar power bank.

The charger isn’t actually that large, when you consider what it’s capable of. The length of it is 5 inches, a width of 3 inches, and a thickness of 0.73 inches. Its weight is what can make it seem quite large by weighing in at 9.7 ounces. It’s the just the right size and weight for it to be taken into the outdoors setting. However, there are design choices that make the power bank not so friendly for hiking or camping purposes. Like the lack of a hook attachment. There’s no way to connect this solar power bank to your backpack. Instead, you have to opt to hold the charger or place it in a bag.

The body of the power bank features ridges  and grooves, that make it easier to hold and give a sense that it’s made for the outdoor world as they make it easier to carry.

You can find the two USB charging ports on the short side of the charger with the Micro-USB port near the 2.4A port and they’re both covered by flaps that can keep water out. But it’s important to remember that is power bank is not fully waterproof. It can handle a light drizzle but not full on rain.

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In between the two charging port is a LED Flashlight that can be turned on by holding the power button down for 3 seconds. You can find the power button on the long side of the power bank, along with 4 LED power indicators. Of course, then there’s the solar panel that takes up an entire face of the power bank’s side. It makes sense for it to be so big and such a prevalent design aspect of the charger; because solar rays need to hit it for the solar power bank to recharge.

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Build

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The main body structure of the solar power bank is made of plastic. The charger is nearly uni-body designed, it just has a large body structure as a base and a slim part where the solar panel sits on. There aren’t any signs of the panel coming off and that’s good because the solar panel is the main attraction for the charger.

So as we mentioned in the design section, the solar power bank is not waterproof. It can only handle light rain or splashes of water. If you place this charger out into the heavy rain or submerge it into water, then it will get damaged. Also, it’s very important to remember that its few water resistant capabilities only work if the flaps are covering the charging ports.

Other than being a light waterproof power bank, the charger is also able to be dustproof and shockproof. This means that dust can’t get inside of it and it also means that dropping it will have a less chance of damaging the power bank. Like many solar chargers like it, the power bank is meant to be taken into the wilderness or a place that you wouldn’t take conventional power banks. It’s really great to use if you’re not taking it into the outdoors and instead using it in everyday situations; because there’s not much that will be able to damage it.

Along with its strong physical structure, the power bank offers a multi safety tech protection system. Although Aukey doesn’t specify what this means, it could mean that it offers the standard Over-Current, Over-Voltage, Short-Circuit Protection and maybe Temperature control. You’re probably wondering why I said “Probably” to Temperature control. This is because the charger can heat up quite a lot when it’s being charged from the sun and so Temperature increases are basically unavoidable. This might be why the output capacity of the charger is much lower than the initial capacity. But even so, the charger can heat up with just normal charging happening and no solar rays present.

Reliability

By being a solar power bank, the charger can be reliable beyond its base operations as just a power bank. If you plan to use this power bank for rough situations while hiking and camping, then it’s going to deliver quite well. It may not be fully waterproof but it is water resistant, and along with the dustproof and shock-resistant capabilities, the charger can be very resilient in the wild.

The solar part of the charger is good but it doesn’t break any records. It’s important to know that overall, solar charging is not that fast and this power bank will recharge itself at 200-300mA if you’re recharging it through the Solar Panel. It can recharge the power bank in increments but don’t expect it to recharge it fully because that can take days.

It’s a portable solar power bank, that offers toughness and solar charging capabilities, with just enough power capacity that can keep you going for days.

Summary:

power

It’s power capacity can be very underwhelming if you expect to use the full 12,000mAh power capacity but it ends up being 9,000mAh. You can still charge most smartphones a few times over and tablets can take a full charge or 1.5 charges. There are two USB charging ports and overall they can total up an Output of 3.4A. Two options of recharging power bank: Solar can be very slow and uses solar rays, or you can use the Micro-USB Input port and recharge the power bank fully in about 7-8 hours.

design

It’s actually not that large of a portable charger and it’s somewhat heavy at 9.7 ounces. Grooves and ridges on the charger make it easy to hold but the solar charger does not have any hook that can be attached to a backpack.

build

Nearly the entire body is made of plastic, the charging port can be covered with flaps and as a result, the solar power bank can have a very advantageous build. It’s lightly water-resistant but nothing too serious. It’s dustproof and shock resistant. This makes the user experience much smoother and opens doors for it to be taken for activities that require the outdoors.

reliability

It’s a reliable enough power bank that should be taken into consideration of a purchase if you plan on taking full advantage of the solar panel. This doesn’t mean that you’ll use the solar panel to fully charge the power bank, instead, it means that you’ll rely on the power bank to charge itself in increments. The charger is also very resilient against dust, drops, and some water. So if you take all those things and think that it far surpasses what a regular power bank can offer, then this portable charger is for you. Simply because it has add-ons that can be worth it.

Specs of the Aukey PB-P8 12,000 mAh Dual USB Port Solar Power Bank:

  • Capacity:            Advertised: 12,000mAh            Real Capacity: 9,000mAh
  • Output:      Port 1: 5V/2.4A      Port 2: 5V/1.0A     Max Output: 3.4A
  • Input: 5V/2.0A via Micro USB Input
  • LED Power Indicators: 4 LED Power Capacity Indicators
  • Size: 5 x 3 x 0.73 inches
  • Weight: 9.7 ounces

Conclusion:

Ultimately, solar power banks are not a revolutionary way for power banks to go. Sure, solar power banks are able to recharge without a wall charger, but the technology just isn’t there yet. The solar charging aspect is just too slow to be considered acceptable as a sole way of charging. However, solar power banks do offer the same aspects as regular power banks with a few upgrades. Such as better build by being dust-proof, water-resistant and shock-resistant. If you value these add-ons and find that these things will provide more value to portable chargers, the solar power bank charger is definitely for you.

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