Solar Charger Review: Poweradd Apollo 3
If you need to keep your gadgets charged while you’re exploring the great outdoors, Poweradd’s Apollo 3 Solar External Battery is a great companion.
- Design: I really like how this thing looks. It has a rugged design and looks like it will hold up to some abuse hanging from my backpack with its over-sized corners.
- 8,000mAh of power: This will recharge an iPhone about 2-3 times. Please note that due to some energy loss, you’ll get about 5,600mAh of power (calculated using an average of 30% efficiency), but this is standard with virtually all external power banks.
- Two USB ports: This allows you to charge two devices at the same time. The one port can provide a high 2 amp output to charge tablets, although this likely will not fully recharge your iPad from 0%. I tested the output with a USB power meter in my video and it did indeed supply an almost 2 amp output.
- Wrist strap: PowerAdd includes a stretchy wrist strap for this item, which can help prevent dropping the unit and it also allows me to hang it from my backpack.
- Built-in light: Although it is somewhat dim, PowerAdd has incorporated an LED light into the unit. You can turn it on by holding down the power button.
- Solar charging: PowerAdd does make it clear that the solar panel should only be used for emergency charging. I left it sit out in the sunshine for a full day and it only gained about a 25% charge to the unit (judging by the number of LEDs on the built-in guage). So it would be best to fully charge this unit using a USB charger first, then use the solar panel to keep it “topped off” throughout the day. It would take several days (maybe a week?) of bright sunshine to recharge this unit from 0% if you relied on solar charging alone.
- Want to protect the solar panel from scratches? If you have some left over clear screen protectors from your phone (you know, the ones that come 3 in a pack?), you can cut one of them to size to fit the solar panel.
- Don’t leave this out in your car to charge! Your car’s dashboard will become very hot from the sun and could basically “cook” this unit, ruining the internal battery.
Overall, this is a very well designed unit that performs great as a power bank and has the options of (slow) solar recharging or (fast) USB recharging.