With a unique design and an amazing color scheme beautifully accenting a fully functional solar charger/battery combo, iClever has created a truly amazing device.
Growing up, I did not appreciate the outdoors, preferring air conditioning to heat and the elements. As our family expanded, my wife and I have started to be more outdoors oriented. We are currently involved in Cub Scouts and regularly attend camping events and outdoor activities. We are on two baseball teams, one for eight-year-old boys and one for five-year-old boys, and we have been camping in our motorhome. One common trend throughout all of these activities is the presence of my iPhone 7 plus. This has replaced my camera and is often used to capture memories during our activities. Unfortunately, there are many events/locations, where there is no electricity. To solve this dilemma, I have previously relied upon LiPo portable batteries, to keep my 2900 mAh battery alive.
When camping/hiking/biking etc., you are often forced to carry your own gear. When every ounce matters, gear really needs to serve multiple roles. The iClever BOOSTCEL Portable Solar charger serves this purpose very well, as sunlight is a rather convenient source of energy. Interestingly, we currently use about 1/7 of the available power of the sun. zebu.oregon.edu states that the sun is capable of producing 84 Terrawatts of power per day, yet the world only consumes 12 Terawatts. I have tested a few solar chargers, which were designed to charge a separate battery. This was a reasonable approach for a while but required me to carry extra batteries, in addition to the charger. The iClever BOOSTCEL Solar charger is the first solar charger/battery combo that I have tested. It comes with its own 8000 mAh battery.
The iClever portable solar charger arrives in a plain cardboard box with a very well designed slip cover. The front displays an image of the charger and the back details the specifications of the device and has a few very useful diagrams. Opening the lid of the box, you will immediately notice the stark contrast between the brown felt material and the very bright orange lettering of iclever and the accent/stitching in orange. It may not seem that a simple color would make that much of a difference. However when camping, or if at dusk/dark, colors really matter. Brown, green and black colors blend into the environment. Camouflage, although cool and trendy, can thus actually work against you. The bright orange stands out like a beacon. In fact, iClever also made their micro-USB to USB-A charging cable in the same bright orange collation. As a consumer, I really appreciate these details, but wish they had a lightning cable as well.
Within the box, you will find the dual panel solar charger, the micro-USB to USB-A adaptor and an instructional manual. The manual is well written, diagramming the product and providing the product specifications, safety notes, and directions. The Instructions state that the charging capacity of the device is 8000 mAh, and it can be charged by USB or solar power with DC 5 V/2 amp input. There is a single USB output, located in the small flap, which also serves as the closure device. The single USB output is capable of outputting up to 5V-2.4 A. The solar panels measures 6 7/8 inches wide by 9 1/2 inches tall by 3/4inches closed. When opened, it measures 13 7/8 inches wide by 9 1/2 inches tall and is 1/4 inches thick. To the right side of the dual solar panels is a 2 3/4 inch wide by 3 1/2 inch tall by 3/8 inch thick charging panel. The panel is lined by a rubberized cap, labeled with “IN” and “OUT.” Remove the rubberized cap to access the Micro-USB input port, the single USB-A output port, and the power button. To each side of the solar chargers are two orange fabric loops, which are perfect for paracord hanging points. Flipping the entire device over, iClever provided a 1 1/2 inch wide by 3 3/4 inch tall velcro strap. There is a 2 1/4 inch long elastic strap between the two pieces of Velcro. Use this to attach to a strap, belt, bag, or attach it to a branch. This accessory also serves as a kickstand, to better angle the device towards the sun.
The device is mildly on the heavy side, weighing 1 pound, 7 ounces (650 g). Remember, this device is theoretically an endless source of power, so long as you have sunlight. Assuming you would normally take several batteries, the available 12-watt charger and included 8000 mAh battery, will likely end up reducing your overall gear weight. The folio style charger folds up nicely in half. The charging panel doubles as a closure device, with mild magnetic backing. If I had a complaint of the product, this magnet needs to be stronger to keep the panel closed. Despite this drawback, the design is incredibly well thought out. Instead of having a thick power brick, iClever decided to hide the battery cells into the build.
Since the device has its own included battery cells, you do not have to leave your phone out under direct sunlight and risk overheating. The instruction manual recommends avoiding using the device, itself, in excessively high/low temperatures or excessively humid conditions (0-40 degrees Celsius, 32-104F). You can expect roughly 8 hours of direct sunlight to fully charge the internal battery. Assuming 80% efficiency, you can expect to charge an iPhone 7 plus twice on a single day charge. You can charge most modern tablets ~50-75% with a single charge. I have not had any overcast days to test the length of charge on a less than an optimal day. I found that it takes about 2 hours per LED to charge and the 8 hour charge time is rather accurate. You can easily know how much charge is available/needed by studying the four LED. During charging, one flashing light represents 0 to 25% power, One solid and one flashing represents 50%, two solid and one flashing represents 75%, three solid and one flashing represents 99% and when all are solid this represents 100 percent charge. As another perk, the device has an auto-off feature when not in use. When you plug in your device, the power will immediately begin to flow. iClever recommends keeping the device charged at least once every 3-6 months.
The device is really impressive and unlike other devices, I have tested. They did a great job incorporating the battery into the device and providing a big enough solar power to be useful. Most other solar battery packs, prove to be mostly a gimmick to get you to buy the battery. The small solar panel provides minimal charge and is really only good for a top-off for your battery. The iClever device is now my go-to solar option for camping. With the included elastic/velcro strap, you can accommodate a branch just up to the size of a wrist. I love that the batteries are built in and that the device takes up as much room as a tablet in a sleeve style case. The weight is reasonable when you consider that you do not need to carry a bunch of extra batteries/cables. I used a DROK USB tester and found that the output did range from 1A-2.4A. The magnet closure needs to be stronger but does an okay job at keeping the panels closed. The color scheme is very well thought out and is as much an accessory as the included orange USB cable. I would rate this at 5/5 stars and would recommend it to everyone. You do not have to be a camper/hiker/outdoorsman to enjoy the device. We all have the potential for a power outage. Imagine having a method to charge your phone, no matter where you are or what circumstances befall you. If you are traveling to a foreign country on a mission trip, you can charge this during the day and enjoy roughly two full charges for every day of sunlight. Even if you have an overcast day, there is enough energy to charge the device some. There is no excuse not to have a couple of these. The most amazing factor is the device is not expensive.
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