REVIEWED: Solartab solar charger

This great looking, brilliantly designed, iPad-sized solar panel is essential if you’re heading off-grid – and great around camp

7eec3221-ebe4-4674-8dc2-07c5af03133bHere at TravGear we’ve seen a lot of so-called solar charger, which sound great in theory, but fail to deliver much – if any  charge where and when it’s needed. Solartab changes all of that.

Panel beater

Solartab measures 234x1605mm and weighs a hefty 762g, but there is a reason for it’s not-very-handy-for-travel design. Basically a 5.5W solar panel that refuels a 13,000 mAh battery, Solartab can also be recharged the ‘usual’ way using a microUSB slot, so you can take it to your first destination fully charged. It’s also the perfect design to tuck into a laptop bag or carry-on bag, so could act as a charging station for long-haul journeys.

Big battery

Make no mistake; 13,000mAh is a BIG battery, good for recharging a smartphones at least six times, and a tablet about three times. Equipped with two USBs (both 2.1-amp-rated, so good for tablets) for recharging of two devices at once – nice – Solartab has a handy solar charging indicator so you know when it’s working.

Key question

So the key question becomes this; how long does Solartab take to fill-up its battery once left out in the sun? The answer to that is massively weather-dependent, and it’s also all about angles. Get the Solartab facing a blazing Sun (using its adjustable iPad-like case) and its battery fills in about 12 hours. That’s a long time, but bear in mind that will then refuel a phone for about a week.  It’s even possible to charge-up a device as the Sun hits the solar panels.

Hugely impressive

Best thought of as a backup battery that recharges itself if left outside around camp, or on a window sill and used as part of daily life, Solartab is an immensely useful, high-performance device that’s hugely impressive.

Price as reviewed: US$129

Buy Solartab