Published on July 25th, 2015 | by Sunit Nandi2
STIN SunPower 8W portable solar charger – a review of the petite, rugged, performant charger
Solar power systems have improved to a huge extent over the years. The advent of monocrystalline solar cells have enabled small and inexpensive solar chargers that can be carried about just anywhere and charge small battery powered electronic devices. I’m glad that I got an opportunity from STIN to evaluate one of their little portable solar chargers (they sent us an unit for review). So let’s proceed without any further ado.
Specs in brief
The STIN SunPower 8W portable solar charger is a really small and light portable charger that lets you charge small battery powered electronics like phones, tablets, handheld gaming consoles, music players, power banks and the like. The specs on their product page loudly proclaim the following points:
- HIGHLY EFFICIENT: Our solar phone charger with 23.5% efficiency outperforms other solar charger models
- SMART CHARGING TECHNOLOGY: Solar power charger senses your device then charges as fast as possible
- SINGLE USB DESIGN: Solar battery charger can simultaneously charge one device at optimal speeds
- FOLDABLE & COMPACT: Smaller than smaller! The solar panel charger that’s built for travel fits easily into any backpack
- USE IT ANYWHERE THE SUN SHINES: Solar energy charger for emergencies, camping, law enforcement & more
Now that we’re clear with what this product intends to offer, lets see how far it lives up to its expectations.
The STIN SunPower 8W portable solar charger comes in a fairly small sized paper and cardboard box with bright illustrations and printed info on the paper slideout.
Sliding away the paper slip, you get a brown cardboard box with the STIN logo.
Opening the cardboard box, you get the solar charger facing right at you and there is a nice “Thanks for choosing STIN” message. Taking out the solar charger, the cardboard box’s bottom has a link to their website where you can visit to get info about their latest products. Also, you will notice a very tiny paper slip that reads “Welcome Guide”.
What I really liked about their packaging is that they haven’t used any wasteful materials like foam or padding and kept it minimalistic. The box itself is pretty strong to protect the charger from major damage.
Now moving our focus to the charger, it is folded up and has a big STIN logo in the front.
Opening up the charger, we see two solar panels one after the other and a pouch for holding electronic gadgets away from direct sunlight. The pouch has the STIN logo, the product name and troubleshooting and regulatory information.
A closer look near the pouch shows us a Velcro strap that is used to fold up and close the charger.
The pouch itself is secured using a Velcro strip, and opening it up reveals a multi-voltage USB charging port to which devices can be connected.
The whole charger body is make up on Vinyl fabric which makes it not only tough and tear resistant, but also waterproof. The outer edges of the body has four rope hooks, using which the solar charger can be left to hang on a wall or the outer surface of a tent to face the sun.
The “Welcome Guide” has some FAQs and warranty information.
Now that we’re done with the unboxing, lets move on to the usage.
Using the solar charger is very easy. All one needs to do is unfold the charger and make the solar cells face direct sunlight. After that, connecting any device or a power bank to its 1.6A USB port starts charging it instantly.
There is nothing very detailed to write about its usage as it is too easy to operate.
What is interesting to note is that it charges devices pretty fast. It managed to charge my YU Yureka phone having a 2500 mAh battery in a little over 4 hours on a mildly cloudy day, which roughly equates to around 625 mA of average charging current. This is as good as the 1A wall AC adapter that comes with the phone.
Even when my phone was 96% charged, it was able to draw a net 192 mA charging current from the solar charger.
I also tested charging a Xiaomi Mi 10400 mAh power bank, and it took full 8 hours to charge from flat to full on a bright sunny day. This translates roughly to 1300 mA of charging current. Considering that the charger’s USB port supports a maximum of 1.6A current, 1.3A is a good figure.
I’m very impressed with this product because in the perfect sun lighting conditions, it is as good as a wall charger. On slightly cloudy days, it will still provide respectable charging power. For most most mobile devices and power banks, this solar charger will perform extremely well. It will only be underpowered if you attach something more power hungry like a tablet or iPad.
Overall, this is a great charger to have if you are planning to go for trekking or camping or you live in a place with lots of sunshine but suffer from heavy power cuts. I highly recommend this device to everyone who is in need of an alternative power source to charge battery powered devices.
- Small size and portable
- Simple, no-fuss packaging
- Dead easy to use
- USB power supply is robust and auto-adapts to device requirements
- Charging power as good as a wall charger of equal capacity
- Vinyl body is rugged and water resistant
I couldn’t find any. Sorry.
Getting one for yourself
The STIN SunPower 8W portable solar charger can be bought off Amazon for a mere $32.99. You can click here to buy it. This is one value-for-money device that can literally save you in the worst of worst situations.
I usually find a lot of drawbacks in most of the devices I review, but the STIN SunPower 8W portable solar charger has won my heart. The device is easy to use, easy to carry and has extremely good build quality. It does only one job and does it perfectly well. I highly recommend it to anybody looking for a solar charging option and am confident you’ll be impressed with it too.