Power Banks are very popular. And that's for two reasons. One is due to the non-removable batteries in most smartphones these days. And two because battery tech hasn't really evolved like the rest of the specs inside our smartphones. Because of that, not every smartphone can last the full day, of course that depends on how much you use your phone and how you use your phone. We've reviewed a number of power banks recently, from Anker and Aukey. Now we have a new power bank here, this one is from ZeroLemon and can actually be charged from Solar Energy, hence the name. Many of you likely know ZeroLemon from their huge extended batteries for the LG G4, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S5, and other smartphones. But they also make a few power banks – currently just the SolarJuice line, though – as well as battery cases. In fact, they just announced one for the Nexus 6.
The SolarJuice is available in a few sizes. There's the 6000mAh, 8000mAh, 10,000mAh and the 20,000mAh which is what we have here. It's priced at $79.99 right now on Amazon and the 20,000mAh version is only available in yellow. ZeroLemon includes 2 USB ports here on the SolarJuice, which allows you to charge both your smartphone and smartwatch at the same time. Making it very convenient. Additionally, there is a flashlight between the two ports, which is a big help when you're stranded or in the dark, or both. On the left side is the power button, which you can press to see how much juice is left. That is shown by the four LED lights on the bottom of the solar panel. Press and hold the power button to activate the flashlight. The Flashlight is somewhat small, but still is bright enough to use to see things in the dark. On the opposite side there is the micro USB port. As you'd expect, that's how you'll charge the SolarJuice.
On the top of the SolarJuice is the solar panel, offering another way to charge your power bank. Obviously charging this using the sunlight is going to take a bit longer than just plugging it into the wall, but it is still a really cool feature. Sitting it on my desk, which is situated in front of a window, I was able to get enough sunlight to charge up the SolarJuice while still charging the Galaxy Note 5 from the SolarJuice. However, the light inside my house was not enough to charge up the SolarJuice power bank. Not too surprising though. Charging via Solar made for an interesting experience. For those of you that live in a sunny place, this is a great battery pack to pick up.
As you can tell from the pictures of the SolarJuice, this is a pretty big battery pack, and much larger than the Anker Astro E7 which has a higher capacity – 26,800mAh for those that are wondering. It's much larger, and thicker, than any smartphone we've ever seen. Including the new 7-inch smartphones from Lenovo. One of the downsides for that, at least for me, is the fact that it can't fit in the pocket on the inside of my backpack or my Timbuk2 Messenger bag that I typically take when traveling. Which is where I normally leave my power banks with a micro USB cable hanging out so I can quickly plug in my phone and get some extra juice. However the reason for the SolarJuice being much bigger isn't just because of it being Solar Powered, but also because it's a rugged power bank, as well as being rain resistant. So if you drop the SolarJuice, you don't have to worry about it being damaged. Definitely a nice thing to have added here. It's also water-resistant.
So the SolarJuice is a big and heavy battery pack, but how does it perform when it comes to charging your devices? Well it was able to charge my Galaxy Note 5 and Droid Turbo about 6 times (about 3 times each) before needing to recharge it. Which is about what you'd expect, as each phone is over 3,000mAh. With the Galaxy Note 5 coming in at 3000mAh and the Droid Turbo at 3900mAh. The first USB port charges at about 1A with the second port charging at 2.4A. The Solar Charger is rated at 5V/200mA, which is slightly slower than the microUSB.
ZeroLemon keeps the packaging pretty light here. Inside the package you get a microUSB cable to charge up your smartphone, tablet, smartwatch or whatever you are looking to charge. We also have a carabiner so that you can hook it onto your backpack or something like that. And that's it. Nothing too fancy here, which does help to keep the price down a bit. Unfortunately there is no mesh bag here with the SolarJuice like we've seen with many of the other power banks we've reviewed recently. However, I can't say that I have ever used those mesh bags found on the power banks like the Anker Astro E7 or the PowerCore 20100, to be honest.
Currently, ZeroLemon is only selling the SolarJuice 20,000mAh power bank over on Amazon, and it's available for $79.99. The smaller 10,000mAh version is going for $59.99, the 8000mAh going for $49.99 and finally the 6000mAh is going for $39.99. While they are a bit more expensive compared to many of the other power banks from Anker, Aukey, RAVPower and the many others out there, it's definitely worth it if you're a fan of solar-powered battery packs as well as a rugged power bank. It's always nice to be able to throw stuff around and not worry about whether it's going to break or not. I'd definitely recommend this to those that like having a rugged battery pack, as well as plenty of power to keep all of your devices charged up.