Okay, so here’s my official review of the Roamproof SOS 20k solar charged battery panel. This thing is pretty well made from the looks of it and after unboxing I was excited to have it in my hands since I ordered it on Kickstarter nearly a full year ago. Now my initial response unfortunately was that the thing is heavy as hell. I understand that they are packing some extra gear into the housing with the solar panel and the LED lights, but I have an anchor battery of similar capacity which is much smaller side by side as well as much lighter. This is only a huge problem because essentially if you’re buying a battery with a solar panel on it it’s because you want to take it out into the wilderness on your back, so always weight is of the utmost importance. It’s also pretty cool that they included this metal clip with it, however comically enough the medal clip is almost as heavy as the battery itself, so I don’t think I will be using the Carabiner if I do bring the battery anywhere.
There’s four blue LED lights to show you the battery charge, pretty standard, as well as a super bright four LED, I guess it’s a safety light on the back which could come in handy at some point. It’s a little bit cumbersome to have to peel back the rubber paneling on the top and bottom to access the USB ports, but once something is plugged in I doubt you’ll ever be messing with that. Apparently one of each charges faster than the other. I’m not sure how I will ever remember which one is which. I think that in the future models it would be better to have both fast ports on the top and both slower ports on the bottom or some sort of configuration similar to that.
Now I might add that I didn’t even pack this thing and bring it to my Hawaii trip last weekend because of the sheer size and weight of the battery. I have batteries of a similar capacity which are much smaller and lighter and frankly enough if you have a battery with 20,000 MAH capacity, you probably only need to charge it once for the whole week, so the solar panel kind of renders itself useless with a battery this big. I would say if you’re buying a battery with a solar panel on it, maybe buy a smaller capacity one which could actually make better use of the solar functionality. The fine print inside the box also stated that the more you use the solar capacity, the shorter the overall battery of the battery. I don’t really like that thought process because I don’t want to feel icky when I’m solar charging something out in the desert as if I’m simultaneously killing my battery.
Now I’m not exactly sure why the market this as a lifesaving device. I guess if you have life and death emails that you need to check and somehow you’re going to have service during your doomsday scenario this might come in handy, but overall I think that there are much better lifesaving items than this battery, especially considering the weight. If you were dying and needed to go off on a life or death mission, you would definitely be weighing your options in your head on whether or not it’s worth carrying this beast with you as opposed to leaving it behind. It is pretty cool to see the green solar light light up as soon as the battery is placed in the sunshine. I just noticed that for the first time while speaking this review into your home.
Overall I would say this is a bad ass product. It looks super cool. I’m sure it works amazingly, but I can’t help but be constantly thinking about the size and weight and I have to use my imagination quite a bit to think of a scenario which would allow me to make proper use of this solar functionality while out in the wild because at this point you might be better off packing smaller batteries and conserving your charge as opposed to lugging this thing around. I guess if you’re sitting at Everest Base Camp for six months and you don’t have proximity to a car charger or a wall outlet, this would be the perfect product for you, but other than that I’m stretching my imagination a bit to think of times where I could use this charger. Especially since solar charging damages the battery itself, I’m more inclined to just charge it in the wall socket of my bedroom once in a while.
So all in all, I’m still happy with my purchase although it’s quite expensive compared to other batteries in the same class and I understand that Roamproof has made a smaller capacity, lighter version, I’m sure for the exact reasons that I’m writing in this article. I’m very excited to see what else comes from this company and if you would like to learn more information about the Roamproof battery, please click on one of the links below. If you don’t think Roamproof is right for you, I’ve provided a few other links to similar products which might be a better buy for your situation. Thanks again. This is Rick Robbins signing off from APiratesLife.com.