Battery pack perfect for Pokemon Go, while on the go.
While my wife was away on a mission trip to Uganda, Africa, I took my three children (7, 4, 16 months) to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to visit with my parents. If you have not had the pleasure of visiting Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, I would recommend that you consider a trip. While in Gatlinburg, I noticed the Ripley’s Organization was offering a competition to catch a rare Pokemon. If you have not gotten into the Pokemon Go craze, you are missing out. The game was introduced by Nintendo and Niantic as a virtual treasure hunt. 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. I never found any rare Pokemon, but I had fun and walked much more than I would have otherwise. The main issue that I faced was battery life. Anytime I travel, I take portable batteries with me. This is a habit I picked up while camping with my family. Normally, I bring my Pronto 12 from Power Practical, but this weekend I wanted to test the STOON 12000 mAh Solar Charger.
The product is shipped in a classy, professional yellow and blue cardboard box with a clear plastic display window. Through the window, you can see the solar charger and the USB A to USB micro charger. The back of the packaging details some of the features of the device. The English writing is quite weak. There is a section labeled Warm Notice and Important Notice. A few of these bullet points are very poorly written. “Please keep the bank clean and dry, do not wash the bank with chemistry depurative.” “Please protect the environment, do not abandon.” “Do not let children and unqualified people use the bank. Except there specialist guide them. Do not use it for any device without assigned output parameter, it might cause fire or explosion.” There is very little information that can be obtained from the back of the packaging.
Opening the top of the packaging, you can slide out the battery pack, the 12 1/4″ USB A to USB micro cable and the instruction manual. Remove the rugged 8.8 ounces 6 1/4″ long X 3 1/16″ wide X 5/8″ thick black battery pack. Note that both ends have a lanyard attachment point, with one end having an attached 3-inch lanyard. There is a small carabiner attached as well, which allows for attachment to a belt loop, backpack, top of a tent, etc. The bottom of the charger has 3 ports, 2 output, and 1 input port. Output 1 is labeled as 5V/1A and output 2 is labeled as 5V/2.1A output the middle port is a microUSB input port labeled at 5V/2A input. There is an on/off button along the side closest to output 2. On the back is a 6 LED flashlight. Press the power button twice to activate the flashlight, press it again to activate the strobe and then again to turn off the light. The light was brighter than I expected.
The manual is a 2-panel single piece of paper, written in black and white. I was actually quite pleased with the quality of the Instructions. I was not expecting this to be as well written due to the poor English on the back of the packaging. The product is listed as waterproof and dustproof but does not list an IP rating. I suspect that the device is IP64, fully dust protected and splash resistant. The manual adequately lists the features and specs of the device. There are 4 blue LEDs beneath the input port. These correspond to 25, 50, 75, 100% charge. When light hits the solar panel, the blue LED will illuminate and show how much charge is on the device. The same is true for when the device is charging via a wall outlet. The manual clearly cautions leaving the device in direct sunlight and that this is for emergency only. I do not know what too much sunlight means, I do not know how long is too long for sun exposure. The device is meant to be charged via external power for a full 5-7 hours before use. Out of the box, there was 50% power available. Basically, charge the device to full, take it with you. If you need more power, leave it out in the sun during the day and use the charge at night.
This type of solar charger typically has about a 25-30% efficiency. Again, it is important to note that this device is designed as a portable battery primarily, with the added benefit of a second charging source. The dual ports seem standard, the flashlight is bright but is an add-on that I do not tend to use. I typically have a primary light and I do not want to waste my backup device charge on a light. The flat panel flashlight is brighter than some of the lights I have seen. However, this is still an add-on feature that does not tend to get used.
The 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 9600 mAh of charge from this 12,000 mAh battery. This would charge your iPhone 6s Plus roughly 3 times or your phone and iPad Air 2 once. You will have some residual battery and will get some additional benefit. I was able to draw 2.06 A current from the device through my iPad Air 2 and 1.8 A from my iPhone 6s Plus. Interestingly, it did not matter which port I plugged it up to. Both ports allowed the same current. It is important to remember that current is on demand. To test this, I used a DROK USB tester. The 5V output is accurate, as is the current.
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 an hour. I left the solar charger out in the direct sunlight at 7 am and obtained it at 6pm. This was enough time to generate a full charge from 75% (3 blue LED). It seems that you will Need about 8-10 hours of direct sunlight to increase the blue LED by 1. Since there is no gradation, there is really no good way to test what the rate of charge is. These solar powers tend to be input charge of approximately 200 mAh. Overcast conditions, shadows etc will directly affect the solar charge 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.
I would rate the device at 5/5 stars. I was able to charge my iPad Air 2 while using it. When I plugged 2 devices into the ports, I then noted the 2.1 vs 1A output. This charger is actually not a bad weight at 8.8 ounces for a 12K mAh battery. I find the sweet spot for charge to weight ratio to be at the 10k-12k mAh level. Honestly, a 12k mAh battery can charge my iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Air 2 and likely my Apple Watch Sport once. I typically do not let my charges get below 30%. The solar option is a wonderful perk, providing a method to generate power off-grid. This is heavily dependent on the quality of the sunlight. I found that overcast conditions, shade from a tree really impact the charge. A second test placing the device under a tree for the same 7am-6pm test failed to increase the blue LED from the 50% to 75% mark. Again, without graduations, I do not know if this improved from 50-60% in this time or from 50-74% during this time.
The flashlight is another perk, providing enough light to Illuminate an unlit room, bathroom, tent, etc. I wish that the included charging cable was longer, perhaps 24 inches instead of just at 12 inches. The build of the device is well done, it seems that it could tolerate a light to moderate rain. I do not like that the product is listed as waterproof. This is not waterproof, rather it is water resistant. Do not submerge the product. The back of the packaging needs some work, the English is poorly written. The manual is understandable and the product does charge adequately. Overall this is a good option for a battery backup/solar charger.
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