If you’ve ever wondered how you’ll continue to take selfies and play Candy Crush after the zombies take over, look no further than the enCharge Folding Solar Charging External Battery. Fully charged, it packs a 8000mAh punch. That’s enough to charge my Z10 4.4 times. When the juice runs out, simply unfold and expose the 4 solar panels to the sun’s harmful rays.
If the zombies haven’t overrun the power grid you can charge the battery by plugging the included microUSB cable into a computer or wall charger. On the enCharge, the microUSB port is input (charge the battery) and the standard USB port is the output (charge your phone or tablet). The power button turns the unit on and the blue LED lights display how much power it is storing. When it is charging via the microUSB port or by solar power, the 4 LED lights turn on and off in a successive line.
The charging output is listed as 1.5A which is double the power of the standard charger that comes with a BlackBerry Z10. However, as I was testing the battery, it didn’t charge my phone noticeably faster than when I was plugged into a wall charger. As for charging the enCharge battery by solar power, that definitely takes longer than plugging it into a computer or wall charger. I haven’t had a solid sunny day to test it out on but I would estimate that it would take around 6-10 hours of full sun to charge from dead to full power. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could charge my phone while the enCharge was charging by the sun or using the microUSB input port. I am confident that the draw of charging a phone or tablet is more than the solar panels can provide, but it’s pretty cool to see that multitasking is possible.
The size of the unit (179 X 105 X 39mm) surprised me at first, as did the weight. It is heavier than I was expecting (490 g) but it makes sense considering the large battery capacity. The solar panels fold neatly and 2 velcro strips secure the enCharge shut for safe keeping. The outer canvas is quite rugged with a small amount of extra padding for added protection.
My own little man-purse/solar powered life saver.
Along with the battery and attached solar panels, included in the box are a standard USB cable with adapter at the opposite end, and 3 attachments: microUSB, Lightning, and Galaxy Tab adapter.
Overall, I am quite pleased with this charger. The solar panels make it much cooler than my other external batteries, and since we don’t have to pay to sit out in the sun yet, I can save on my power bills! The only improvement I might suggest is a higher output amperage. For those of you who spend a lot of time outdoors or in the wilderness, I highly recommend this product. It’s fun to watch the charging lights start cycling as soon as you open up the panels to the sun and all you have to worry about is the charging life of the battery and/or the sun being blacked out by volcanic ash.
For more information, including full specs and details on how to pickup your own, head over to MobileFun.com and check it out! They’re on sale right now for $83.99 USD.