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BigBlue Solar Charger Review. Bigblue 3 solar charger

BigBlue Solar Charger Review. Bigblue 3 solar charger

    BigBlue Solar Charger Review

    Gannon Burgett is a photojournalist and sports photographer.His work has appeared on Gizmodo, Digital Trends, Yahoo News, PetaPixel, and many other sites.

    BigBlue 28W Solar Charger

    The BigBlue is a portable solar charger that can keep your devices topped up for camping and travel—that said, its specs are misleading and there’s no power bank included.

    BigBlue 28W Solar Charger

    We purchased the BigBlue Solar Charger so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.

    Battery chargers and even portable generators are great to have on-hand, but what do you do when the battery bank runs out of power and the portable generator runs dry on fuel when you don’t have an outlet or gas station nearby? You use a portable solar charger, like the BigBlue 28W Solar Charger. Sure, this notebook-sized charger won’t power a fridge or toaster, but for times when you need a little extra juice in your phone in emergency situations or while out camping, folding solar panel chargers are a great solution.

    That said, BigBlue is a bit misleading with its maximum output, the charger is only capable of 17W, not 28W. However, it charges devices reliably, is water-resistant, and is small enough to fit on the inside or outside of a camping backpack or emergency kit. I spent more than 40 hours testing it in rain and shine.

    Design: Rugged but slim

    The BigBlue Solar Charger features a fairly standard design as far as folding solar chargers go. Folded up, the unit measures in at roughly the size of a standard one-subject notebook. When unfolded, it expands to four times its original width, with four of the five sections dedicated to the solar panels. The remaining section houses a little that not only acts as a means to store the devices being charged but also the location of the plugs (two 2A and one 2.4A USB-A ports).

    BigBlue also added dedicated grommets on each of the corners, which pair perfectly with the included carabiners to offer a means of attaching the unit to a hiking backpack, a tent, or a car.

    According to the product listing, the BigBlue Solar Charger is waterproof, however, no specific waterproof rating is given, which made testing this detail a little challenging. Determined to figure out just how far I could push it to the limits though, I started with small spritzes of water from a spray bottle and worked my way up to completely submerging the solar panel section into a bathtub full of water.

    Sure enough, from the spritzes to the submersion, the solar charger held up. You won’t want to get the USB port section of the unit wet, as it could cause issues down the road, but even if a little water gets in there when you don’t have a device in, it should be protected, as BigBlue added a rubber gasket to cover the USB ports.

    As a whole, the setup is quite nice. The panel showed it could withstand the elements (at least what I could throw at it) and the to store your mobile device while it’s charging is a nice touch, especially if you’re using the charger in direct sunlight, where your device would otherwise overheat.

    I wouldn’t count on charging my devices on the daily, but I’ll definitely be taking it with me on my next camping trip and keeping it in my emergency road kit in the meantime.

    Performance: Between the lines

    As unfortunately tends to be the case with many products, the specifications listed within the headline of the BigBlue Solar Charger product page is a bit misleading. BigBlue states the solar charger is 28 watts, and while technically true, that’s not the output it delivers.

    As explained by BigBlue in the fine print of the product description, the unit features four seven-watt panels, which makes for a total of 28W. However, the actual power output is dramatically lower, due to the conversion process from solar energy to actual deliverable energy over USB. BigBlue clarifies that ‘under ideal conditions’ the solar charger can output a maximum of 17W (5V3.4A).

    With this more nuanced (and accurate) information taken into account, I went about testing the unit under various lighting conditions to see if it would perform as detailed in the product description. In my testing across various sky conditions, the unit performed right on par, maxing out at just under 17W in direct sunlight on a perfectly sunny day (when using the two 2.4A ports). Even in less-than-ideal lighting situations, such as a cloudy day with snow on the ground, I was able to achieve 10W output (when using both 2.4A ports).

    Precisely how fast your device charges will vary depending on a number of variables: ambient temperature, device temperature, location of the sun in the sky, clouds, and, of course, the battery capacity of the device you’re charging. That said, output proved consistent when taking into account the variables I (and Mother Nature) threw the solar charger’s way.

    bigblue, solar, charger, review

    Price: Great value

    With a suggested retail price of 70, the BigBlue Solar Charger is right on target with similarly-specced units. Yes, it’s not the 28W charger as somewhat deceivingly advertised, but it still packs a punch in the right conditions and its ability to withstand the elements makes it a great choice for hikers, campers, and survivalists alike.

    I also enjoyed knowing the device could take on the elements while continuing to charge my devices. When my smartphone was secured inside the included and plugged in, it had no problem taking on the moisture and charging (albeit slowly) in snowy and rainy environments. I wouldn’t count on charging my devices on the daily, but I’ll definitely be taking it with me on my next camping trip and keeping it in my emergency road kit in the meantime.

    Even in less-than-ideal lighting situations, such as a cloudy day with snow on the ground, I was able to achieve 10W output (when using both 2.4A ports).

    At 70, it’s a small price to pay for that extra level of comfort knowing I’ll be able to keep my devices at least somewhat charged during the day if my phone’s battery runs out and I don’t have access to any power port.

    BigBlue Solar Charger vs. Ryno Tuff Solar Charger

    One of the most direct comparisons to the BigBlue Solar Charger is the Ryno Tuff Solar Charger (see on Amazon) With a suggested retail price of 75-80, it’s nearly the same price as the BigBlue Solar Charger. On top of that, the Ryno Tuff Solar Charger is also waterproof, has a higher maximum output of 21W, and features a built-in 6,000mAh power bank, so you can save up power for a time when light is a little more scarce. Overall, the Ryno Tuff may be the better option for most people, especially due to its built-in power bank.

    bigblue, solar, charger, review

    A solid, budget-friendly portable solar charger.

    When all was said and done, I was impressed with the performance of the BigBlue Solar Charger. Calling it 28W in the product listing’s headline is incredibly disingenuous, but if you read carefully and understand it will max out at only 17W, it’s easier to recognize the solar charger actually lives up to its specifications. It’s a bit heavy for ultra-light hikers, but at roughly a pound, it’s still light enough to justify in situations where you need to power a few mobile devices, be they smartphones or GPS units.

    The Best Solar Chargers of 2023

    Cory Gunther / How-To Geek

    Sydney Butler

    Sydney Butler Writer

    Sydney Butler has over 20 years of experience as a freelance PC technician and system builder. He’s worked for more than a decade in user education and spends his time explaining technology to professional, educational, and mainstream audiences. His interests include VR, PC, Mac, gaming, 3D printing, consumer electronics, the web, and privacy. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Research Psychology with a FOCUS on Cyberpsychology in particular. Read more.

    Elizabeth Henges Commerce Editor Elizabeth Henges is the Commerce Editor for How-To Geek. She has close to a decade’s experience reporting on tech, gaming, and gadgets. Elizabeth has had her commerce work featured on XDA Developers, The Inventory, and more. She has also written for publications The Washington Post and The Verge. Read more. About How-To Geek

    Whether you’re dealing with an unreliable power supply or want to make sure you can charge your essential gadgets when far away from the grid, a solar charger is an essential part of your hiking, travel, or emergency kit.

    Amazon 30.99

    bigblue, solar, charger, review

    Amazon 39.99

    Amazon 149.95

    Amazon 72.96 79.99 Save 9%

    Amazon 39.99 42.99 Save 7%

    How-To Geek’s product recommendations come from the same team of experts that have helped people fix their gadgets over one billion times. We only recommend the best products based on our research and expertise. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product. Read »

    24 Models Evaluated

    5 Hours Researched

    24 Reviews Analyzed

    What to Look For In a Solar Charger in 2023

    Before we get into what makes for a good solar charger, let’s clear up what we mean by “solar charger” since it’s distinct from concepts like a “solar power bank” or “solar panel.” A solar charger is a device that converts solar power using solar panels into an electric current suitable for charging devices, usually in the form of a USB power port conforming to USB power specifications. Solar chargers typically don’t have any power storage of their own, but you can use the charger with a power bank of your choice. In general, putting a lithium battery in direct sunlight is not a good idea, so it makes sense that most solar chargers don’t integrate them. Instead, you’d use a lengthy cable to connect devices under shade or in your bag, protected from direct sunlight. It’s important to use a solar charger with the necessary safety circuitry to prevent device damage. In models with poor safety controls, too much voltage may go to the device, damaging it. The charger may also keep pushing charge to the device even though it’s full. So look for mention of overcharge protection and other similar features. If you do use a charger that doesn’t explicitly mention these features, it’s usually a better idea to charge up an inexpensive power bank, rather than charge your tablet, phone, or other devices directly. Then use the power bank to charge your devices in turn. Size, weight, and mounting features are other key considerations. Small, foldable, and light solar chargers are more common now. Despite their size, they can produce usable amounts of power thanks to advancements in solar panel efficiency. Chargers may come with backpack mounts, kickstands, frames, or other mounting solutions. It’s best to pick one that matches your use case. For higher-capacity chargers, it’s always nice to have multiple ports to charge several devices simultaneously. Weatherproofing is a must since the odds of it raining at some point are virtually assured. Finally, an oft-overlooked feature is “auto resume.” Many solar chargers will stop charging when the sunlight drops below a certain level, and then fail to resume unless you manually reinsert the charging cable. Chargers with auto-resume ensure you don’t come back after a few hours to find that your device stopped charging ages ago.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Solar chargers don’t store energy, and they need sunlight to produce electricity, so sadly, you can’t use them without sunlight.

    Yes! Even if it’s cloudy or overcast, you’ll still get power from the sun. Things may not charge as quickly, but there’s still plenty of usable light.

    In theory? Yes. In practice? Apart from the flashlight putting out a low total amount of power as light, it’s not in the same spectrum as sunlight, and it would be so inefficient that there’d be little point.

    It all depends on the peak wattage of the charger in question and how much sunlight you’re getting. Under good conditions, it’s totally possible to get the same charge rate as typical wall chargers.

    Best Solar Charger Overall: Anker 24W 3-Port USB PowerPort

    Anker has developed a reputation for affordable gadgets that perform better than they have any right to. The PowerPort Solar is a great solar charger, even more so for its low price point, and it’s the one we recommend most people in the market for one of these devices to look at first.

    Let’s get the negatives out of the way first, because if they’re dealbreakers for you, it’s best to know them upfront. First, there are no USB-C ports, so you’ll have to keep a USB-C to A cable handy for your USB-C devices. Secondly, this charger is not water resistant, so you’ll have to be vigilant for rain. The panels themselves have an IPX4 rating, but not the electronics box.

    If you’re happy with these small compromises, you’ll find a lightweight, foldable, and flexible solar charger with a built-in kickstand and enough power output to charge most phones and tablets at rates similar to wall chargers. Each port can provide up to 12W of power. Considering that common “fast” chargers are 18W and typical iPad wall chargers are also 12W, this isn’t a bad result.

    While it would have been nice to get more than 12W for single-device charging, Anker makes up for it thanks to its auto-resume charging if the sun is blocked temporarily. Whether you’re camping or want a backup power solution to keep in your car for an emergency, this is a fantastic choice.

    Solar Charger, Anker 24W 3-Port USB Portable Solar Charger with Foldable CIGS Panel for Camping, PowerPort Solar for iPhone 12/SE/11/XS Max/XR/X/8, iPad, Samsung Galaxy S20/S10/S9/S8, and

    The Anker PowerPort strikes the perfect balance between price and performance. It’s thin, flexible, and supports multi-device charging with auto-resume if sunlight is interrupted. It’s not 100% water resistant, but in every other way it’s a great deal.

    Upgraded BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger(5V/4.8A Max)

    Foldable Portable solar phone Charger, BigBlue Foldable solar Charger panel bag, highly efficient SunPower panel, 3 USB charging ports, an emergency kit, 100 % safe charging, almost all 5V Android devices, this special PET polymer surface, the outdoor direct sunlight

    BVR Rating

    Reasons to buy

    • PET polymer surface protects solar panel from occasional rain or wet fog
    • Ports are equipped with rubber cover that offers protection against dust or water damage
    • Compact and lightweight design that makes it easy to store in any camping backpack or hiking daypack

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    About Upgraded BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger(5V/4.8A Max)

    The BigBlue 28W USB Solar Charger produces the most power of any portable solar charger we’ve tested. It has three output ports (versus two on most other chargers), a weatherproof port protector, and an expansive but lightweight array of panels to catch every last ray of sunlight. The red LED light will go on when the solar panels work normally; It will flash when there are overcurrent and short circuits When your cellphone shows accessory is not supported, it is because the sunlight isn’t enough 4 solar panels, each piece is 7w; so the power is 47w=28W Easy to be folded to the size of the magazine, can be put in your bag, as a portable direct power to carry. Note: any Cloud cover arrives it may knock the value of output down. Bigblue recommends you replug the device and reopen the solar panel to reset the power controlled.

    BestViewsReviews analyzed 64,725 reviews for 120 products in the Portable Solar Chargers category.

    We analyzed a total of 836 reviews for this product out of which, 18 reviews were received in the last 6 months.

    The analysis indicates that around 88% reviews were positive while around 10% of reviews had negative sentiment.

    This product received a total score of 9.72 out of 10, based on review sentiments and user opinions related to 9 features:

    [Upgraded]BigBlue 3 USB-A 28W Solar Charger(5V/4.8A Max), Portable SunPower Solar Panel Charger for

    The [Upgraded]BigBlue 3 USB-A 28W Solar Charger is the ideal solution for keeping your devices charged on-the-go. With its advanced SunPower solar panel technology, this portable charger is capable of delivering up to 28W of power, providing a quick and efficient charging experience for your mobile devices.

    Featuring three high-efficiency USB-A ports, this solar charger is compatible with a wide range of devices, including the latest iPhones and iPads, Samsung Galaxy smartphones, LG phones, Nexus, and many more. With a total output of 5V/4.8A, you can easily charge multiple devices at the same time.

    Designed with portability in mind, the BigBlue 3 Solar Charger is lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry with you wherever you go. It is also water-resistant and rugged, ensuring it can withstand any outdoor adventure or unexpected weather condition.

    Equipped with a built-in Smart chip, this solar charger automatically identifies your device and delivers the optimal charging speed for your specific device, maximizing the speed and efficiency of your charging experience.

    Whether you are camping, hiking, or simply enjoying a day out in the sun, the [Upgraded]BigBlue 3 USB-A 28W Solar Charger is the perfect companion for all of your charging needs. Get yours today and never worry about running out of battery again!


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