Gear Review - Pocket Power Solar Battery

One little neato device given to me by my dear wife is a backup power battery for phones and tablets. The particular brand is Pocket Power, but I discovered that there are a few other sources selling it with different names. I couldn’t get a good picture of it in the lighting I have at my desk right now, so I “borrowed” an image from Amazon, of what is essentially the same exact animal.

Image from Amazon.com

This little guy is about the size of a Samsung Galaxy phone. It comes with a cable and multiple adapters to charge just about any phone or tablet. I am using it for my iPhone and iPad.

You’ll notice that almost the entire top of this thing is a big solar cell. It takes a few hours to fully charge the device in the sun. Still, funny enough, the charge indicator lights up even in the light of the overhead in our office at night. It will charge my phone very quickly, twice over, and my tablet almost as fast from dead to full. With a full charge in it, this type of battery backup is very useful. It’s nice to know that both of our phones can be serviced by this in an emergency.

It has four blue LEDs used in bar graph style to show charge level. But they are so powerful that a lit LED can bleed over into an unlit LED and make them both appear to be on. You’ll have to look at it carefully.

I tried charging my phone by attaching the tow together and setting it in the sun. The charge rate is very slow at that point. Can’t say for sure, but I believe the unit’s controller has a hard time figuring out how much power to take in and give out simultaneously. It will receive a charge quickly and without much heat buildup when attached to my PC’s USB port. I’ve found this to be the quickest way to get it fully on line.

So, for camping, here is how I see it being employed. Since it will charge two phones completely, and since our phones can run for more than two days, that leaves the Pocket Power a day to completely charge and maintain the usage cycle. As a result of this, our little charger will take a big place in our “oops, I forgot to charge” events and also for camping or scenarios we’d rather not see.

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