What do you do when you’re in the middle of nowhere and don’t have an outlet or an external battery? You use your solar panel. Duh.
Solar panels seem to be disregarded as futuristic, complex and expensive gadgets for geeks with stacks of cash to burn. That’s not the case for the EasyAcc solar panel, which costs $27 and is as simple as putting the panel in the sun and plugging your phone in.
The EasyAcc panel can be folded to save space and is lightweight, weighing 12 ounces. It’s really something you would want to travel with if you have extra space and are planning on doing long treks or traveling to places without electricity. In this day and age, electricity on demand is crucial since you’re going to need it if you use a phone, camera and pretty much everything.
I feel stupid to admit this, but when I first received the solar panel, I had no idea how to use it. It’s not that I didn’t understand how the solar panel worked, it’s that I thought the output cable for charging USBs was meant to be plugged into a socket, rather than it being the socket.
The USB of your phone or tablet’s charger is meant to be plugged into the sole socket of the solar panel.
Eventually I got it sorted out.
Here are some of the pros and cons that I’ve listed out for the EasyAcc solar panel:
- Lightweight and foldable
- Charges USB powered devices
- Charges anywhere where there is strong sunlight
- Able to charge an iPad
- Inexpensive, $27 on Amazon.com
Most comparable solar panels cost much more than the EasyAcc panel, like the Goal Zero solar panels. They probably just have nicer packaging. 🙂 (Well I’m actually not sure since I haven’t tried the Goal Zero panels out.)
The panel has a single output cable for charging your USB powered devices. It also weighs 12 ounces, making it easy to carry around in your backpack. If the sunlight is strong enough, you may be able to charge an iPad.
For more efficiency, make sure your panel faces the sunlight directly.
My non-scientific experiences of charging my iPhone 4s (yes, I know I need to upgrade) with the panel in New York:
- Noon: full, strong and hot sunlight from directly above – 50% in 40 mins
- Evening: still bright outside, outside temperature mid 60s, sun shining from an almost 90° angle – 1% of battery in 12 minutes
- Night: dark outside – 0% of battery in ∞ minutes
- Indoors – artificial light on, no natural light – 0% of battery in ∞ minutes
- Inside a car – from the passenger seat of a tinted windowed car, full, strong and hot sunlight outside – 1% of battery in around 30 minutes
So to sum it up: if it’s a cloudy day, or if you’re indoors – fugetaboutit. But if you’re living in a place where strong sunlight is in abundance, like Arizona, you’ll be able to charge your electronics with no problem.
It simply wasn’t worth it to try charging my phone from inside a car with tinted windows because during the time I was trying to charge my phone via solar panel in a car my phone actually lost battery. Maybe if you strapped the EasyAcc solar panel to the roof of your car or if you tried it without tinted windows you’d get better results.
Every time we went through a tunnel, even if it was a short one, my phone would stop charging momentarily then start charging again once we were back in the light, causing my phone to constantly wake up then sleep.
With newer phones like the iPhone 6, you should expect longer charging times than of those of my iPhone 4s, because the 6 has a larger capacity battery than the 4s. The same applies for tablets. I’ve tried charging an iPad 2 with the solar panel and it charges fine albeit slowly.
I won’t go into detail about the numbers and specs of the EasyAcc, but I’ve listed some of the information I’ve found from the manufacture.
Tech Specs (according to the manufacturer):
For the nerds:
- Cell Type:Monocrystalline
- Provides up to 5V
- Efficiency: 18%
- Size when folded: 7.5 X 7.5 X 7.5 in
- Weight: 12 oz
You don’t need to understand any of the technicalities in order to use the panel.
- Requires optimal conditions in order to charge
As I mentioned earlier about my experiences when using the EasyAcc solar panel, if you don’t have strong sunlight, you will have a hard time trying to charge your electronics.
In order to truly have energy on demand, it would make more sense to charge an external battery with the solar panel rather than your phone directly. Therefore you could charge your phone using the battery any time you need it. This panel does not come with a battery pack, however EasyAcc sells several external batteries of varying capacities.
This panel is ok to be used during a drizzle, but if it’s raining hard out, I would put the solar panel away. It wouldn’t be able to charge anything if it were raining and cloudy anyways.
For it’s price the EasyAcc panel exceeded my expectations, so I’m not going to freak out about these minor gripes.
The EasyAcc solar panel is an easy to use and lightweight solar panel, perfect for adventure travelers and campers going off the grid. Just make sure you have an ample amount of sunlight, and you’ll be good to go.
This is something I wish I had when trekking the Lares Trek in Peru or when traveling around Bolivia. Definitely check it out if you are planning on traveling off the grid and have some extra space in your suitcase.
EasyAcc Solar Panel Ratings
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The EasyAcc® 7W Portable Solar Charger Panel was provided for this review. As always, this EasyAcc Solar Panel review contains only my honest views and opinions. Some links found in this review are affiliate links, meaning that I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. This helps to fund the site. 🙂