This is my second Power Monkey Explorer Solar Charger. It’s not a replacement. It’s in addition to my first that sits in my pack and is my emergency iphone charger. Having two iPhones and a MiFi means I am always in need of portable power and this secondary solar powered charging device will certainly get a lot of use.
The detachable ‘solar slave’ remains attached to this one and at the moment it lives in the car constantly topping up the internal lithium battery. In the box with the Power Monkey Explorer is also an AC and usb adapter so you can easily recharge when, as is often the case in the UK, the sun is not shining.
If I’m out in the wilds i’ll always have at least one solar device lying around soaking up the light. Occasionally my original grey device blends into the background. I don’t think I will have any trouble with this one.
The box also contains a load of extras. So in addition to the battery and solar panel you get the AC and USB adapter, a variety tips for mobile devices (including ipod ) and 3 international plug socket adapters. I tend to select the bits relevant to the kit i have with me and pop them in the small cotton pouch that also comes with the device. This blue model also came with a velcro strap which i think is for fastening the panel to anything that takes your fancy. At the moment it’s strapped under my sunroof in the car.
The LCD display is pretty self explanatory. It shows amount of battery life left and there is also an LED to show charging and discharging.
It’s certainly one of the better built devices out there and looks pretty weather proof. Mine has certainly not had a problem to getting very wet in the past.
It’s a 2000mah battery and so takes a long while to charge in the sun. With moderate use being really careful I can keep an iphone topped up but for someone like me it’s really only for emergencies. If you find yourself in a survival situation you will no doubt think the power explorer a godsend but as a heavy user of tech in the field I use it mainly as a backup and it has given me a much need full charge on more than one occasion. You can get about 1.5 iPhone charges from a fully charged Powermonkey. I am still testing it with my MiFi.
I’ve not really used the little solar panel on it’s own but this can apparently be done. And my only criticism would be that I’d have liked for it to continue solar charging the battery as it restored charge into a phone, much like larger systems do, but for the compact size you can’t expect everything.
To sum up, It’s a great bit of Mobile charging tech and if you get lots of sun you will love the free power. I like the build quality, compact nature and the fact it’s given me power on many occasions when I really needed it. I’ve always had all the adapters that I need and like it’s intuitive ease of use.