Solar chargers occupy an interesting space in my mind. On the one hand there’s the ability to charge a phone or tablet while camping or in the event of an emergency, but on the other hand there’s the average electrical cost per year of charging a phone off of wall juice is under a buck.
While the average person probably isn’t going to save themselves with a solar phone charger (keep in mind you’ve probably got a car, or a wall outlet, or there’s no cell service due to the apocalypse,) there are some niche audiences that really could benefit from the CHOETECH 19W solar charger.
I’m thinking campers who want some juice to power the toddler’s bedtime cartoon (ok, really, it’s you catching up on the last three episodes of Game of Thrones,) motorcyclists who want to juice up their helmet cams, and backpackers who want to keep their devices charged so they can take pictures and occasionally escape the joys of nature to let people know they’re not dead.
Maybe you just want to power a flashlight for use that night. Who knows.
On a cloudless sunny day I took the charger out and charged at a rate that seems to be the full speed that anything that is not a Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 will give me. Unfortunately I didn’t bring multiple phones to monitor the positive charge on both, but it was functioning well and I won’t doubt that it was capable of delivering 2.4 amps to a port, or 3amps across both.
My HTC One M9 being what it is, without that Quick Charge 2.0 spec, I see about 850-1amp positive.
I noticed while I was out playing with this that it’s got a magnetic latch to keep it folded. This latch also seems to hold it onto a car in case the sun is setting and you want to charge that way. I don’t think this is a designed feature, but if you’ve got a motorcycle it will grab onto the tank and not blow away, which is useful if you’ve chosen not to wire in a power port.
There are two USB outputs and a zippered wire/phone pocket that you can use. For the amount of power you’re going to be dealing with you could rig up a tiny 6000mA battery in there and charge it and then charge your phone when it’s dark if you wanted to just leave this at camp/on the bike.
It’ll charge up to 2.4amps on a port, but a total of 3amps across both ports. Assuming all is well you could charge a phone and a tablet at near full speed assuming blue skies and all right with the world.
Overall, as solar chargers go, it’s the lightest one with the highest charge and conversion efficiency I remember playing with, and although it’s not quite my thing, but I’m not opposed to its existence. They designed a very nice very light portable solar charging product, and if it fits your needs it’s probably about the best bang for your solar buck.
That said, you might want to consider exactly what scenarios you’d want this in as although very neat, I do wonder how many people will find they need one of these. Then again, if a major power outage hits, you might be the one person able to play Angry Birds after the sun goes down and watch movies on your tablet.
For most emergency/disaster scenarios however, a small $15 portable battery charger will probably do you well. Plus in the event of storm-related outages, chances are it’s cloudy ;) .
Some things to note though when charging are keep your phone in the shade. With my phone charging and in the sun the phone reached 110 degrees in about four minutes. It was hot, the black faced phone absorbs all sorts of heat when touch-side up. I’d advise getting a longer USB cable than they provide just so you can stash the phone or battery in the shade.
The CHOETECH 19W/3AMP portable solar charger is available from Amazon for $54.99, which if it included a battery in there I’d be really inclined to say get it.