PowerFreakz Evolution Solar 3000 full review
Gadgets are great – except when they run out of power. At this point they become little more than lumps taking up valuable luggage space. Keeping them powered and earning their place in your holiday holdall takes a little planning if you’re going away for more than a few nights. A single charger to power all your electricity-sapping items could help, yet every phone manufacturer and games console maker uses a different connector from their rivals.
There are hundreds of iPhone and iPod chargers on the market, but you may also want to charge a digital camera, Kindle or PlayStation. Do you really want to pack several chargers as well as several gadgets?
See also: New iPad review
In the long term, we hope to see single connector types, but for now multi-purpose gadget chargers are the way forward. Some can charge anything that sports a USB or mini USB connector, while the PowerFreakz approach is to supply a dozen tips to plug in and charge any of the best-known phones and cameras. A tip for the iPad and iPhone is a given, as are mini and micro USB and distinctive connectors for Samsung, Nokia, Sony and so on. Everything comes in a zippable ripstop case with UK/European adapter plates for the mains charger.
Each swappable adapter draws a charge from the 114g Evolution Solar 3000 which, in turn, has first been primed with an hour-long charge from the mains. Duly charged, it is then able to power a nearly depleted iPhone to full charge in just under three hours. This compares with the 1 hr 50 mins that charging from the mains would take (according to the Battery HD+ app we used for comparison) to power the same device from 15 percent to fully charged.
You don’t have to charge the Powerfreakz fully. With only about 20 mins of charging time, we were able to power for three hours a previously dead Samsung digital camera battery. In the changeable British climate, solar charging takes a full day to accrue enough power to effective charge other gadgets. Even so, it’s worth leaving the charging brick on a sunny internal windowledge to get whatever free energy it can.
There’s no means of attaching the Powerfreakz to the back of a rucksack to soak up the rays as you march through the desert. We’d have liked some indication of how well primed the charger was at the outset as well as how much longer it could keep pumping energy into whatever it was connected to.
The Powerfreakz’s lithium-polymer battery has a decent 3000mAh capacity and transfers energy at a rate of 500mA. This makes charging faster than with its predecessor. PowerFreakz brought out the Evolution 2500 a couple of years ago and we were impressed with its compact form and the multitude of gadgets it was able to power. Only the battery capacity has changed. Powerfreakz has refined the assortment of gadget tips though. Consult the full list below to check whether your tablet or camera is supported.