Whenever life takes you off grid, “never lose power with the iPower Fusion Hybrid Charging Case”
Summer is upon us. It is hard to ignore the call of the outdoors, as the voice and draw of mother nature are strong. As a child, it is nothing spend the day riding bikes, playing ball, playing in the sprinkler, etc. We then move into adult lives and work/live in our indoor powered world. I have been blessed with two amazing boys, who have drawn me into the world of the Cub Scouts. Starting my third year, second as a Cub Scout leader, I have relearned the benefits of a good campout. The comradely, the laughs, the bonds and the rejuvenation of the mind are worth more than riches. Even after a day of activities, cooking, chopping wood, wrangling the boys, I awake the next morning more awake, alert and ready for the day than any other day in my week. Perhaps it is the lack of stress, the lack of tech, the lack of stuff that helps with this weight-off-feeling. Lastly, it may be the disconnected feeling that truly refreshes you.
I love tech, do not get me wrong. Even though we have a no electronics policy on our campouts, the adults still carry our smartphones. One may think that this is for emergencies, which may be partially true. Honestly, the phones are now used more for capturing memories, than for an emergency contact device. Despite the 1960 mAh battery in the iPhone 7 or 2900 mAh in iPhone 7 Plus, there seems to be more day than battery. At home, this would not matter, because the phone can be charged whenever you need. This is not possible while outdoor camping/primitive camping, as we do not have access to electricity. What if there was an ever present, available, burning ball in the sky, that produced 164 Watts per square meter of land over a 24 hour day? zebu.oregon.edu states that the sun is capable of producing 84 Terrawatts of power per day and interestingly, the worldwide consumption is only 12 Terrawatts of power.
When camping, every piece of gear adds weight. There are stand alone solar chargers on the market and external batteries. Each of these options may do quite well in some situations. However, a more minimalistic approach would suggest having a phone case that also charges your phone. Many of us have cases on our phones anyway. Thus why not get more bang for the buck. iPOWERUP provides exactly the type of device for this situation, with the “first ever” portable solar smartphone charging case. The case promises input and output at 5V, 1A. It contains a LiPo 2500mAh/9.25W battery and can generate DC 5V 500mA input from the solar source. There is an integrated solar digital display input, to keep track of the solar charge. Reposition the case into the most optimal location and conveniently charge your phone case in roughly 4 hours.
Measuring 17.5×78.4×159.7mm and weighing 5.2 ounces (147.5 grams), the case does add some bulk to your phone. The case is made of a TPU rubberized outer shell and plastic internal surface. There are cutouts for the lock and volume buttons, the 3.5mm jack (no longer on iPhone 7), speakers, and the camera. Along the top edge of each of the sides are little clasps that must be opened to lift the top of the case. Slide your phone into the case and notice a lightning plug, centered along the bottom of the inside of the case. This will slide into the Lightning port of your phone. As an aside, this device does meet the MFI (Made for iPod, iPad, iPhone) requirements. Once installed, close the clasps and enjoy the beauty of the device. The outside is very attractive, resembling the textured appearance of a turtle shell. Fold open the case and see the dual 9x 9 solar cells on the inside surface of the case.
The case is chargeable via a home power source, through AC/DC/USB and you can either top off the battery or charge it completely via solar sources. Assuming 80% efficiency from the battery, a 2500 mAh battery should provide you with 2000 mAh of useable charging. Since this device is only available for the iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 7, the 2000 mAh battery should provide a full charge for the 1960 mAh battery in the iPhone 7. The packaging promises 1 hour of sunlight can lead to 4 hours of talk time. In reality, 1 hour of direct sunlight provided roughly 20% charge of the iPhone 7.
The iPhone 7 slid into the case really easily and without any concern. The lightning adaptor lined up appropriately, and the cutouts were perfectly placed. I absolutely love the rubberized edges, which provide a really nice bumper for the sides. The front of the case does protect the screen as the sides stick up a fraction of an inch. I prefer cases with raised edges to provides some additional protection from scratches. The locking clasps provide a very secure closure for the phone. As with any solar panel, the actual output depends on the day, the ambient light and many environmental factors. The case should charge to full in 5.5 hours, with a full sunny day and 6.5 hours on an overcast day. The greatest concern I have is the temperature of your device. Leaving it under direct sunlight is a good way to activate the temperature warning of the iPhone and to potentially damage the electronics. Needless to say, like leaving a hammer out in the sun for 1 hour, the device will be markedly hot to the touch. The temperature can get above the 32-95 degree Fahrenheit (0-35C) operating temperature of the iPhone. I would probably remove the iPhone, let the case charge and then reinsert the phone to get a full charge, then repeat. If in an emergency situation, allow it to charge for an hour, cool it down and then change it some more.
The included accessories are incredibly convenient and solve a few of the problems with this case. First, the screen has little protection with the case. As a convenience, the company provides you with a 9H tempered glass screen protector for your phone. It is perfectly cut and matched the edges of the screen nicely. Although I already had one on my phone, this accessory seemed very similar to other brands that you would have to buy separately. The case can be charged via the included microUSB cable. This negates the need to carry a lightning cable with you. If you have one, you can remove the iPhone from the case and still charge your phone. Lastly, the base of the case offsets the phone far enough that you cannot use a standard 3.5mm headphone jack (NOT NECESSARY FOR IPHONE 7). They do include an audio extender, for those who have not yet upgraded from the iPhone 6 family.
The digital meter is a really convenient way to monitor solar input. With dual 22.4% efficiency modules, this system is really set up for the camper, the hiker, the biker, the person who wants to get away for the weekend and not carry a bunch of extra batteries. This case truly enhances the iPhone, while leaving all of the features of the device available. The price may initially seem a little steep. However, if you add up the price of the very secure case, a tempered glass, and a solar charger, you really have a steal. Unfortunately, this case is not currently available for the plus size phones. For you, standard sized iPhone users, enjoy the exclusive opportunity.