It’s a fact of the modern world that even the most outdoorsy person may sometimes need to stay connected even when going “off-grid”. Whether for safety, emergency contacts, or working remotely, there are many good reasons why you might need to charge your electronic device when you’re away from a power outlet.
That’s why I was excited to try out the Anker 625 Solar Panel. It’s a briefcase-sized, lightweight expandable solar panel that you can take with you on the go to charge your portable devices, including laptops and small appliances.
And it really is designed for on-the-go usage – it’s designed to be foldable with convenient handles and cable storage pouches, making it perfect for traveling.
Let’s see how it performed!
First of all, it was easy to set up outdoors for a charge. The foldable design is intuitive and the ‘kickstand’ flaps easily unfold (and reattach with velcro) to keep the panels oriented at the optimum angle for charging.
The Anker 625 also incorporates a simple ‘Smart Sunlight Alignment’ feature that uses a shadow from a dot on a clear plastic casing to show you when the solar panel is perfectly positioned.
If you’ve ever tried to align a solar panel with the ideal angle of the sun, you’ll realize how valuable this feature is – no more guesswork for optimal charging conditions.
During my testing, I was setting the Anker 625 up on uneven ground, and the kickstands took some adjusting in order to get set up properly. Additionally, the design of two outer kickstands but lack of a central kickstand inherently means that the panels dip towards the center rather than stay as one rigid 4-panel unit.
While this likely doesn’t make a significant difference for its charging ability, it does make it a bit tricky to get the ‘Smart Sunlight Alignment’ just right, and wonder whether the outside panels are at the same optimal positioning.
CORRECTION 10/11/2022: Reader Harald pointed out that the central bag with the Anker logo on it can be popped out to be a central kickstand, providing additional support to the panels.
The Anker 625 solar panel is an efficient way to convert sunlight into solar energy. It can convert up to 23% of the sunlight that hits it into usable energy. That means that out of 1,000 watts of sunlight hitting the panel, 230 watts can be turned into solar power.
But if you don’t have a compatible battery pack on hand, you’ll need to keep your devices plugged into the panels while they’re in the sun to generate energy.
The Anker 625 solar panels are also designed to be used in a chain to increase solar power generation when in use with a PowerHouse. My review did not include a PowerHouse, but the setup of a the system based on Anker’s instructions seems very straightforward.
UPDATE: After this review was published I received a PowerHouse to test alongside the solar panels. Check out the full review here.
The Anker 625 Solar Panel has an output of 21 watts and it can charge two devices at the same time.
One of the best parts about this charger is that, unlike many other smaller chargers on the market, the Anker 625 features a USB-C and USB-A output port. This means that you can keep your phone, tablet, or other devices charged while on the go, even if you don’t have access to traditional power outlets. And the addition of USB-C means it supports charging larger devices that require more power, like tablets. But even though there is a USB-C port, don’t expect enough wattage to charge power-hungry laptops.
I tested this with my iPad and my iPhone. I was able to charge both simultaneously, and was impressed with how fast the panels charged the phone when it was plugged in by itself – it seemed as fast as if it had been plugged into a wall outlet.
Do you like to go on road trips? Camping trips? Or maybe you have an RV? No matter what kind of trip you take, with the Anker 625 you’ll be able to go off-grid without worrying about having enough power.
It is a heavy device, and even though it has comfortable handles, it is likely too heavy for the average hiker to take on their journey. But otherwise it should have no limitations for where you can bring it.
This solar panel is scratch and weather-resistant, meaning it can withstand heavy use in the toughest of environments. Its tough finish and durability make it a great choice for those who want to use solar power but are worried about the panels being damaged.
But it’s not just a product for adventurers. It’s also a great power companion for those who want to use their devices outdoors for extended periods of time without needing to be close to a power outlet.
Maybe that’s at the beach, a cottage, or fishing trip. Personally, I’ve used the solar panels next to my backyard chair while working outside on sunny days and never had to worry about whether my tablet or phone would run out of battery. I have been using the Anker solar panel for a few weeks now and I am very happy with it.
I would recommend this product to anyone who is looking for a solar panel that can efficiently charge personal electronic devices when you’re outdoors. Its portability makes it great for road trips and camping, or any extended times away from a power outlet.
Its biggest downside is the lack of a built-in battery pack, as it limits your ability to charge your devices during solar off-times. If you’re willing to invest a bit more for Anker’s compatible battery packs, or if charging during off-peak times doesn’t matter, this becomes a non-issue.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will be happy to answer them.
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