Solar battery good option for camping and power on the go, with a good weight to charge ratio.

I was lucky enough to spend a weekend in Gatlinburg, Tennessee this past weekend. If you have not gotten into the Pokemon Go craze, you are missing out as this game is a huge win from Nintendo and Niantic. There were so many Pokestops, Gyms and Pokemon throughout Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg that I ran through the battery on my iPhone 6s Plus really quickly. The game was fun, the exercise treasure hunt is a huge success. The problem is, I used more of my battery than I would have liked. Having gotten into camping with my son, I have learned to carry backup battery packs with me. Normally I carry my Pronto 12 from Power Practical, as this has been a very reliable fast charging battery that will power my iPhone 6s plus roughly 3 times or my iPhone once and my iPad Air 2 once. This weekend, I tried the Bovon Solar Charger 10,000 mAh Solar battery charger.

Bovon 10,000 mAh Portable Solar Battery REVIEWThe product is shipped in a plain cardboard box, measuring 6 5/8″ long by 4 1/4″ wide by 1 1/4″ tall. The packaging is lacking any writing and is devoid of any type of description of the product. The case, unfortunately, makes for a rather poor gift container and you will likely need to wrap the packaging. I wish that there was a diagram, an image, a description of contents etc. On the bottom of the packaging is a single off-centered white sticker. The sticker shows a UPC bar and “9-solar charger-black.” Opening the lid, you immediately see the 7-ounce battery, nestled in foam. Underneath the battery is the instruction manual. The battery measures 5 1/4″ long by 2 13/16″ wide by 5/8″ thick (135x70x14mm). The front is black with a 10 X 2 grid of bluish rectangles with grey bars. The top of the battery is smooth and devoid of ports and the sides are ribbed, which provides for extra grip and makes the device look somewhat tactical. The back has the Bovon logo in grey, and a silver sticker detailing the 10k mAh status, 5V/200mA solar charging and the input/output port specs: 5V/1A in, 5V2A, 5V1A output. The bottom of the device has 3 ports 2A out, 1A in, 1A out. Just next to the 2A output port is a wrist lanyard and just below this is a LED. Directly opposite of the LED is the on/off button. Lastly, just below the solar panels is a series of 4 blue LED circles. These will illuminate battery charging status: 25, 50, 75, 100% power.

The manual:
The manual is a 2-panel single piece of paper in black and white. This product is made in China and often the instruction manuals suffer from choppy, broken English. This manual is no different. It lists water resistance, dustproof but does not list the IP rating in the manual (IP64 likely). The manual adequately lists the features and specs of the device as I have measured them above. The manual further details usage of the device. It clearly states in the manual to not leave in direct sunlight and that this is for emergency only. It is preferred to charge the device by external power source for a full 5-7 hours before use. Out of the box, there was only 25% power based on depression the on/off button. Pushing the on button, the device LED flashed a few times and then only the single LED illuminate. It is listed in the manual, that the battery will automatically shut down when power is low, to preserve its own integrity.

Bovon 10,000 mAh Portable Solar Battery REVIEW

The device:
It is clear in both the instruction manual, Amazon page and with use that the device is designed as a portable battery first and a solar charger second. The dual ports seem standard, the flashlight (press power button X 2) is an add-on that I do not tend to use as it is not bright enough to serve as a standalone flashlight and I would not want to waste the battery backup. The Amazon page notes that the energy efficiency of the solar charging is about 30%. It will take nearly and a reasonable inclusion.

Bovon 10,000 mAh Portable Solar Battery REVIEWThe iPhone 6s Plus has a battery size of 2915 mAH and the iPad Air 2 has a battery size of 7340 mAh. Most batteries will charge at an industry standard of 80% of the reported battery size. That is you can expect roughly 8000mAh of charge from this 10k mAh battery. This would charge your iPhone 6s Plus roughly 2.5 times and an iPad Air 2 once. You will have some residual battery and will get some additional benefit. I was able to draw 0.97A current from the device from both my phone and tablet. Remember, current is on demand. To test this, I used a DROK USB tester. The 5V output is accurate, but the current only drew at 1 A for both ports. Using my Pronto 12, my phone drew anywhere from 1.5 to 1.9A and my iPad Air 2 drew 1.93-2.0 Amps with my Pronto 12. I charged the device to full out of the box, taking about 5.5 hours to charge. This was on par with the manual, noting 5-7 hours. I was able to fully charge my phone, from about 50% power in about 70 minutes. Again, I was only drawing around 1 Amp output, even though the device claims 2A output for one of its ports. I found you need about 8-10 hours of direct sunlight to increase the blue LED by 1. Overcast conditions, shadows etc will directly affect the solar time. Solar charging is not that efficient, but it does not have to be efficient. The idea is, any charge is better than no charge.
Leaving the solar charger in direct sunlight from 6 am until 6 pm, I did notice that it increased by 1 Blue LED. There is no set numeric to determine what percentage was charged. Charge the device with wall power when you can and then if needed, leave the device in sunlight to gather emergency power. Even a 25% charge on your battery will be enough to get you 1/2 to 3/4 charge on my iPhone 6s Plus. I do not know why the output only registered at under 1 A. The voltage was correct, but the max current was not 2A. I tried some other devices and was only able to show 1A output. It does charge, not as fast as some of my other 2A output chargers.

Bovon 10,000 mAh Portable Solar Battery REVIEW

I would rate the device at 4/5 stars. It is actually not a bad weight at 7 ounces for a 10K mAh battery.  The solar option is a wonderful perk. The flashlight is another wonderful perk. I wish that the included charging cable was twice as long. At only 12 inches long, the included USB A to USB micro cable is a little on the short end. The rugged nature of the device is refreshing. It is water resistant, but not to be submerged. Overall this is a good option for a battery backup. I tend to opt for 10K mAh batteries, as they usually will allow me to charge my phone and tablet from about 50% to full on a single charge. The LED is convenient for a quick way to evaluate remaining charge. The device does not seem to charge from overhead lighting, but I did see charging with my bright photo booth bulbs.  Honestly, you will need direct sunlight to make the charger have any light charging utility. The company really does need to work on the packaging as that is the most lacking feature of the device.
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