Power banks are relatively simple pieces of kit, usually with a single function: retain power and discharge it into your devices. Recently, power banks have been getting higher in capacity, but remaining relatively compact. Their overall use/function though has stayed the same. AUKEY’s offering isn’t any different in its primary function, but it is very different in the way it achieves this! Rather than simply charging the power bank via a USB cable, AUKEY have included a small Sunpower solar panel which allows you to charge your power bank using good ol’ “zero-cost, renewable solar energy”.
- 12,000 mAh battery capacity
- Sunpower solar panel, with “power conversion efficiency of up to 23.5%”
- Rechargeable via MicroUSB also
- 2 x full sized USB Type A ports
- 1 x 5V 2.4A | 1 x 5v 1.0A
- Rugged, water resistant, anti-shock, dust-proof design
- Compact build: 5.3″ x 3.14″ x 0.7″ (13.5 x 8.0 x 1.8cm)
- Relatively lightweight: 9.7oz (275g)
- 24 month warranty!
Design and build quality
AUKEY’s 12000mAh solar power bank is, in my opinion, very well designed. The whole package is sleek and very refined – everything fits and is really streamlined! From the moment you pick up the power bank, there’s a nice weight to it. The smooth, matte, rubberised finish gives great peace of mind whilst holding it in hand and reinforces the ruggedised build quality. From the get-go, I’ve had no concerns slinging this power bank into the bottom of my bag and taking it with me wherever I go.
Over the top of the solar panel, there’s a solid plastic cover – ensuring that little to no damage will come to the clever charging solution that AUKEY have implemented. Not only this, but it also ensures the whole device is kept completely water-resistant.
The USB ports are covered by grey, rubber flaps which can be a bit of a pain to pull out. If you’ve got nails – you’ll likely have no problems with these! If you’re like me and happen to bite your nails, or like to keep them short – you may find yourself reaching for something thin nearby to flick the flap open.
One one side, you’ll find the charging/charge indicator LED lights. When charging, these lights progressively light up, and whilst discharging they’ll remain permanently on. The indicator lights are quite small and on more than one occasion I’ve found myself having to look twice to make sure the device is still charging.
A small LED bulb has also been included on the end of the power bank. This is definitely nice for AUKEY to have included, as a last resort – in the dark it also makes plugging in a MicroUSB into your phone a little easier – however as a general torch, I won’t be relying on it any time soon.
AUKEY have also cut out a small notch, to allow you to attach the power bank to the back of your backpack, allowing you to maximise it’s solar charging capabilities whilst you’re out and about – clever!
I’ll be the first to admit – I’m no hiker. In fact, I consider myself a rather lazy individual. Strapping this power bank to my backpack isn’t going to do much use, as my backpack either sits by my front door or under my desk at work… nowhere near the sun.
However, whenever I’m at home or at work – I place the AUKEY power bank in the window that gets the most sun all day, just to keep it topped up as I go.
Over the course of a week, I found myself using the AUKEY power bank to charge my main phone as well as my work phone. 12,000 mAh is enough to fully charge:
- An iPhone 7 – 4.5 times
- An iPhone 7 Plus – 3 times
- A 9.7-inch iPad Pro – 1 time
- A Nexus 6P – 2.5 times
- A Samsung Galaxy S7 – 3 times
- A Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – 2.5 times
The 12,000 mAh capacity was enough to last me a week, charging both my S7 Edge and iPhone 7 Plus fully once (per device) and keeping them topped up during travel times throughout the week.
Solar charging performance
It’s hard to calculate exactly how well this solar panel works, as the battery charge indicators only show 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% charge levels. This is one of those times where having a small LCD screen to show exact battery % would’ve been useful. I don’t have the kit, tools or know-how to check exactly how much the solar panel converted to stored charge.
My relatively poor approach to it was this though: I ran the power bank as flat as I could, where it wouldn’t charge my device any more. For 48 hours, I then left the power bank in a sunwards facing window. I’d check on it every couple of hours to
- Check the sun was still hitting the panel.
- That the device was still charging.
Throughout the evenings and night time, the device wouldn’t charge at all – it definitely needed strong and direct sunlight. During the 48 hours, I’d estimate that the power bank was, in fact, only charging for 22 hours (7am to 6pm).
After 48 hours, clicking the power button on the right hand device showed me that the battery capacity was at 50! GREAT!! Then… the 50% indicator went out, leaving me with only 25%. Therefore, I’d guesstimate that in reality, the battery had charged maybe 30-33%?
I’m fully aware that the model of charger I’m reviewing is now a year old and a newer model is out, however there’s one simple reason for this: the design! The newer model (UK/US) (to me) looks more plasticky and over ruggedised and I really like the simple, sleek and elegant design of this model (UK).
My experience with this device has definitely been a good one. I’ve used many power banks before, including Anker’s PowerCore range, however AUKEY’s did surprise me. At around £15/$20, AUKEY’s offering brings a solid, rugged design as well as a clever and qwerky way to keep your power bank topped up. Granted, I wouldn’t rely on it 100% for intense, daily usage – chances are you’ll need to boost charging speeds by using the included MicroUSB cable to keep the power bank at full capacity, however I would rely on it for more occasional use/less intense use.
If you’re a traveller, hiker and/or you’re out in the sun for a solid amount of time and require occasional device charging capabilities, AUKEY’s 12000 mAh solar power bank may be a great option for you. This might be a great, secondary power bank to keep with you to keep smaller capacity/less intensely used devices topped up during longer, sunnier travels.
AUKEY’s website: https://www.aukey.com/
12000 mAh power bank product page: https://www.aukey.com/products/12000mah-dual-usb-port-solar-power-bank
Amazon UK (reviewed model): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Solar-Power-Bank-12000mAh-Supported/dp/B01B2WSENE/