Solartab External Battery Review

Harness the power of the sun, to charge your phone. Solartab is a portable solar charger and backup battery released in '15 after a Kickstarter campaign that needless to say, was quite successful. Here is our review.

Well its size is described in its name, SolarTAB. So its the size of a tablet, even looks like an iPad with its case and aluminum finish. Measuring 9.7 (W) x 7.6 (D) x 0.35 (H) inches and weighing in at roughly two and a half pounds, its not a small addition to your bag or purse like other backup batteries we have tried. 

But that is not what makes the Solartab special. What makes it special is how it charges and where you can charge it from, which is in theory, anywhere. Within the guts of the Solartab lies a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery with a capacity of 13,000 mAh and on top there's a 5 W mono-crystalline siliconsolar panel. Basically put, its built to hold a charge.

A nice addition is the included cover, which doubles as a stand. The permanently-attached cover may not be the thickest, stiffest, or most high-quality, but it's sufficient enough to keep the Solartab clean and protected. The cover's smooth outside material still offers a bit of grip, and the built-in elastic strap keeps it closed shut when the Solartab is not in use.

Its a simple idea but Solartab makes capturing the sun's rays very easy. It does so with that included cover. The stand portion gives you five orientations in which to capture the sun. The best charge, of course, comes when your getting full unblocked sun 

The solar charging indicator LED glows a hot white with best positioning. Move it just the littlest bit and that LED will darken or even go off. Use that light to work with the sun to get the best charge. Along the top of the Solartab sits a power button next to a series of four LEDs, which will give you an estimate of power. 

Using the sun to charge will also make the Solartab hot, just close the cover and you will be fine. It works inside as well, just use a clean window with direct sunlight. Its not as easy as outside but understand its better to forget about it charging inside rather than out.

You can either build up a storage of power or discharge the sun's rays right away into your phone, it needs to build up a little power first though. In ideal situations, you will get about 20% battery per hour on tabs and about 30% on phones. Considering the time you spend at the beach or camping or what not, that will be easy to fill up. 

The Solartab features two USB outputs and a Micro USB input, used to wall charge if you don't have time for the sun. 

We say, why use the micro, it defeats the point. If the Solartab is already full, we were able to get almost four full charges of our Galaxy Note 4 before needing to get back into the sun. Not bad at all!  

If you want a green means to charge your machines, this is a powerful and convenient to carry option. At $130 you could stick to the cheaper and smaller powerbanks. But this might be the perfect addition to an outdoorsy person's repertoire.