1byone Solar Charger review

Free power wherever you go

Solar chargers. They’re somewhat rare when it comes to phone accessories, but they do exist. Here, I’ll be taking a look at the 1byone Solar Charger: a solar powered USB charger for phones and other accessories.

There isn’t much to be said about this product. There are four solar panels that connect to the fifth panel, which is simply a pouch containing the two USB ports, mounted to the fabric. The only fault with that placement is that it can be a little hard to see the ports and insert the cable, but it is protected from the elements. All the panels fold up nicely and are held together by a strip of Velcro. The outside is made of a durable fabric, and it even has some hooks so you can hang it up somewhere to charge devices.



Operation

Now, how does it work? All you need to do is set it up so that most of it faces the rays of the sun — direct sunlight will work best. Then plug in your phone, and it should charge. You can always check the LED on the USB ports hub to see if it’s lit. If it is then the solar panels are receiving enough light to give off power. You can plug in two devices at once, but beware, the power will be split between both devices.

Disadvantages

That’s all good and all, but once you look at the disadvantages of this product, it’s not so glamorous anymore. First off, the amount of sun it is directed toward will impact the charge quality. Not enough sun, not that much charge. As it is, the amount of power it receives will be much less that what you would get with a wall charger. You should also note that this is pretty cumbersome. It will fit in a backpack, but not much smaller than that. Plus, in a world of 20,000 mAh power banks available around the same price that offer more reliable service, this begs a use case. The final aspect that is annoying is that there is no battery in this product. Did some clouds move in front of the sun? Then your phone won’t be charging. In many cases, it would make more sense to use this to charge a power bank.

Practical Applications

That use is small, but present: extended time outdoors, away from power. This could be a few things. Perhaps you like camping, well this would be good since you could use the product to power up a phone or a power bank while doing something else. If you’re in an area prone to long power outages, then this could be a good backup. Again, both of those situations could be replaced by a power bank. Maybe bring a few power banks when you go camping, or keep them charged up at your home should the power go out.

Conclusion

To summarize: it’s really up to you if you think this is a good product. Personally, I don’t see a need for it in my life (especially with an abundance of power banks). But maybe you do. If so, then this is a great device to get. There’s nothing wrong with it — sure, things that could be better, like a built in battery — but nothing terrible. However, the biggest downside of this is the cost: $53. For that same price, you could get yourself an Anker PowerCore 26800 with three USB charging ports. But, this is a great way to experiment with solar (if you’re into that kind of stuff). For what it is, it does do its job — just not as good as I would hope, for the price.

Get the 1byone Solar Charger