The RP-PC005 RAVPower Solar Charger featuring four foldable solar panels and three USB outputs. A highly efficient solar charging solution with 24W and a 4.8A max output.
I take pride in the effort I make to use my own photography on product reviews. On this occasion, however, I simply have to share RAVPower’s absolutely fantastic shot. It’s got everything! Glorious scenery, sun-scorched rocks, lens flares and a sun-worshipping hiker wearing flip-flops.
The last time I crested a hill, this was the shot I took…….Not quite as appealing as RAVPower’s picture, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have an attractive hiking buddy and a stunning location to test the RAVPower solar charger. Instead, I opted for a long weekend in the garden with my six-year-old son and a large selection of power hungry mobile device.
1Design and Build Quality
The RP-PC005 is made from five folding sections. Four of them have stitched-on premium quality SUNPOWER® solar charging cells. The bottom section has a carry pouch that also contains the USB charging ports.
The rugged construction of this item is without question. It’s made from thick waterproof canvas material with four riveted eyelets to attach the included carabiners. The stitching is tidy and the Velcro is seriously strong. The general build quality is as good as I’ve seen from this type of portable solar charger.
My one dislike regarding the design is the pouch at the base. Firstly it’s got Velcro as its closing method, which for some reason doesn’t span the entire width of the pocket. If you were to store smaller items inside, there would be a real chance of them falling out. Secondly, the pocket opens at the bottom, so you’ll always have gravity acting against you. This isn’t a huge drama if you’re using it in a stationary position. If I were hiking with it attached to my backpack, I’d be reluctant to store my phone inside.
There is a bit of a workaround, which also serves an additional purpose. While charging devices, I felt a little concerned about the pouch being in the direct sunlight. I ended up folding it behind the bottom panel to shade it. By doing this, the pocket opening is no long downward facing. This worked well, but I’m sure an integrated zipped pocket on the back of the panel would be a far more practical solution.
2Features and Spec
The RAVPower Solar Charger has three independent iSmart USB ports. Each has the capacity to output a maximum of 2.4A. The iSmart technology is designed to automatically detect the optimal current to ensure the fastest charge possible. With a max output of 4.8A, the RAVPower solar charger has the potential to charge a tablet and two Smartphones at the same time.
As with most portable solar panels, there is no internal battery to store any charge. Although the most efficient method is to connect your mobile devices directly, it’s also wise to make use of an external power bank. This will allow you to continue charging devices during the evening.
3How it performed
The weather over the weekend was extremely hot with unbroken sunshine. Optimal conditions to get the most out of the device. For my initial test, I solar charged my youngest son’s Amazon Tablet. At the very same time, I had my eldest boy’s tablet charging from a wall adapter. To my amazement, there was absolutely no difference between the two. They both took just over three hours to fully charge.
During the weekend I used my phone to stream music to a small portable Bluetooth speaker for at least 5-6 hours. In the evening we watched two full-length movies. The first night we used my iPad, but the second night we did something extra special.
We pegged a white pillow cover to the roof of my tent to act as the cinema screen. I then used a portable projector with a Bluetooth speaker connected for audio. The movie was streamed wirelessly from my Smartphone.
All three portable devices had been charged and topped up by good old fashioned sunlight, thanks to the RAVPower 24W Solar charger.
Overall, I was extremely impressed at how well the RP-PC005 performed. Other than the occasional need to reposition the panels for optimal performance, the RAVPower 24W solar charger provided a consistent stream of power. It was more than enough for my needs and even managed to place a 50% charge on a 10400mAh power bank.
Other than the design or the storage pocket, I really cannot fault this product. It’s extremely rugged and it performs exceptionally well. I’d highly recommend it to campers or hikers that plan to be off the grid for an extended period of time. For short hiking trips, I’d probably favour a high capacity power bank based on a size and weight comparison. Anything over a week, especially in good weather, the RAVPower RP-PC005 is a perfect and sustainable charging solution for mobile devices.
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