Here’s my short review on the BigBlue 3.
- 28 Watt
- Easily folded to the size of a magazine
- Weight: 21.5 ounces
- 3 USB Ports
- Charges a phone in about 3 hours
- Charges a 10,000 mAh power bank in 6 hours
There are a lot of portable solar chargers on the market that range as much in price as they do in effectiveness. The Big Blue is an affordable solar charger that actually works. You have to manage your expectations when it comes to these small solar panels and while three hours to bring a phone to full charge seems like a lot, I think it’s pretty impressive.
Here’s the context of my testing. I tested this solar panel in the fall when the sun sits low in the sky. The first hour of the charge the panel received partial sun. I managed the position of the panel throughout the day to keep it aligned with the sun.
The first test was to see how long it took to charge a Goal Zero Flip 12, which is good for one full phone charge. That test took three hours, which is how long it takes to charge the Flip 12 when plugged into the wall. The next test was to see how long it takes to charge my pick for the best power bank, the PowerCore 10,000 mAh. After six hours in the sun, the power bank was at full power.
When you’re in the field, you probably don’t have time to sit around for six hours waiting for a power bank to charge. But, that’s not the best way to use this charger. In my opinion, using the solar panel to maintain battery life rather than fully charge a device is the best use. For example, if you are glassing in the morning, you can roll out your solar charger and plug in a device. Let’s say you stay put for just an hour, that’s enough time to charge a phone 30 percent. By charging your devices a little at a time throughout your time in the field you can make your powerbank or batteries last much longer.