Over the summer, Enerplex sent me a few products to test out and review. I received Enerplex Kickr IV and a Enerplex Jumpr Slate 10K for review. I spent the summer using them to charge my smartphone and tablet and other USB powered devices, such as a camera. And I’ve found that I love the products. I find writing reviews for products that I love more difficult than for products that I’m so-so on, so I’ve been procrastinating on this review, because I love this bit of kit.
Enerplex Kickr IV Reivew
The EnerPlex Kickr IV solar panel is a foldable and flexible 6.5 watt charger. EnerPlex claims that it’s powerful enough to charge mobile devices at the same rate as your standard wall outlet. The panel weighs about 10 ounces without cords. If you include the bungee cords it comes with, the weight goes up. The bungee cords are used to attach the panel to your gear. I didn’t use the bungee cords. I just stored the panel in my kayak when I was paddling and pulled it out when I needed to charge the Jumpr Slate 10K. The Kickr IV is also weather resistant and although I didn’t leave it out in the rain, it seemed to hold up just fine to a summer of keeping it in my car and kayak and kayak trailer. In fact, it seems as good as new.
I used my panel almost exclusively to charge the EnerPlex Jumpr Slate, and it seemed to charge the Jumpr Slate in about 6 to 7 hours in good sunlight. If I had needed more power than that on a daily basis, I think I would have needed additional solar panels, but for a cell phone charge a day, there was plenty of power to top of the battery if set out in the sun for a couple of hours each day. I did try it to charge my half-exhausted smartphone directly, and it provided me with a charge in about an hour or so.
While this panel worked great for keeping a phone, tablet and camera charged on shorter trips and day trips, I don’t think it would be enough for me when on a longer expedition where I was carrying a laptop and my real camera. For that, I’d need to upgrade the generating power. EnerPlex offers larger solar panels in their Commandr line.
EnerPlex Jumpr Slate 10K
The EnerPlex Jumpr Slate 10K is a thin battery about the size of a 7-inch tablet. It’s primary use is for charging USB devices, such as smartphones, tablets and e-readers. It can also charge any camera that is chargeable by a USB device. It features two 2.4 amp USB outputs, so you can charge both a smartphone or tablet and a camera at the same time. It weighs about 12 ounces. I used it primarily to charge a smartphone or two.
In use, I got about five charges out of the EnerPlex Jumpr Slate 10K for my Motorola smartphone. It charged the phone quickly. While I didn’t compare it to the speed at which it charged my phone vs. an outlet, it didn’t seem that far off. The only disappointment that I had with the Jumpr Slate was that it couldn’t charge devices that required an outlet; it only charges USB devices. Still, it worked perfectly when used in its intended usage. For other devices EnerPlex offers the Generatr series of devices.
Overall Enerplex Solar Power Review and Impressions
I really like these products and they’ve got me thinking about how I’d power my next big expedition. If I wasn’t a professional photographer, but wanted to document an expedition while keeping everything lightweight and maintaining the ability to broadcast my expedition to the Internet, I’d consider using the following:
- Enerplex Jumpr Slate (10 ounces)
- EnerPlex Kickr IV (12 ounces)
- Sony RX 100 III (10 ounces)
- Asus Transformer (22 ounces)
Then for connectivity:
- Smartphone (5 ounces)
- Iridium GO hotspot (10 ounces)
You’d have a communication system that is completely USB chargeable and weighs about 4.5 pounds with the required cords and extra camera batteries. You could even save more weight by leaving the Asus at home and bringing a bluetooth keyboard for the smart phone and extra memory cards for the RX 100. You’d end up with a full communication kit for documenting the expedition online from anywhere in the world and the ability to charge that system at under 3.5 pounds. That’s light!