By Patrice Gallardo
Anker’s 21W Folding Powerport Solar charger is one of my favorite technological lifesavers. The power port is like a power bank, only this time it’s powered up by the sun, not from the electricity flowing from your wall outlet.
This makes it a very versatile product. Not only does it produce power for your device when you’re on the go, it also helps you get introduced to solar panels and energy. Think green power. In addition, solar-powered portable phone charger allows you to charge two devices simultaneously because we all have more than 1 USB device.
I first tried it out of curiosity. For the low cost of this solar phone charger, the time was right to check this one out. Also, I wanted to start using renewable energy at home. It was a pleasant experience and lets me charge almost every electronic device I have, from cell phones to cameras, GoPros, Tablets, Xbox controllers and more.
Ultimately, the Anker Solar charger was put to the test when I used it on my recent trekking trip to a mountain-waterfall path. The whole trip didn’t require any camping, so I was using the solar panel while I was hiking. And the port provided enough power to charge my phone, portable Wi-Fi, AC output power bank, and camera.
Without much ado, I’ve listed down a comprehensive review of the Anker 21W Powerport Solar!
Anker 21W Folding Dual USB Solar Charger, PowerPort Solar for smart phones review
The Anker solar battery charger with USB port is very flexible. So no issues with throwing the folded up panels into a backpack.
Anker Solar Powered Portable Phone Charger Pros
- Portable design and is thin even when it’s fully folded out.
- Two USB ports: perfect for charging two devices at the same time!
- The Anker 21W flexible solar array is 21-23% efficient, providing up to 5V/3A between the two fast USB charging ports.
- Improved solar panel design, resulting in a product that comes out smaller and thinner but gives out more power.
- Lightweight 14.7oz or 417 grams. About the size of a small tablet.
- Can be used in both indoor and outdoor situations
- Takes up sunlight—whether it’s direct or indirect
- Charges numerous devices, whether they’re cameras, tablets, or phones. Doesn’t matter if the last two are iOS or Android—they both get power!
- A smart wearable charger that pumps power at 2.4 amps under the full sun into your smartphone or tablet.
- The storage compartment design isn’t quite secure. Velcro is used rather than a zipper.
- Isn’t fully waterproof only water resistant.
- Not compatible with the iPod Nano, iPod Classic, iPod Shuffle, HP TouchPad, and some Asus tablets. Due to higher charging rates required. See below for the workaround.
- No other colors available. I would like white or a camo color.
Apart from these few cons which I can live with, it’s actually a very capable Solar mobile charger.
The Anker 21W Powerport Solar comes with the following specifications:
- A compact size when fully folded up with the following dimensions: 11.1 x 6.3 inches
- The following dimensions when opened: 26.4 x 11.1 inches
- Corner eye-holes made of stainless steel for attaching the solar panel to tents, backpacks, trees and anything else you can imagine.
- A total thickness of 1.1 inches when folded, 0.2 inches when opened
- Weighs 14.7 oz
- Charging speed of 2.4 for one device but up to 3 A total output for 2 devices.
- Contains 3 SunPower solar panels
- There are 2 fast USB ports available for charging use.
- Solar panels are made of industrial-strength PET. The material they are sewn on is a rugged polyester canvas.
- The Anker 21W Powerport Solar has a transition of 21.5 to 23.5% efficiency.
- Full government certifications from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), European Conformity (CE), and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS).
What I like about the Anker Foldout Solar charger
Eco-friendly! Go Green
I personally advocate employing an eco-friendly lifestyle. However, that personal advocacy has always been quite difficult to materialize, as there hasn’t been a lot of items that were affordable for the average Joe.
Anker’s solar-powered USB power port is one of the most groundbreaking items I’ve stumbled upon recently. My old power bank would often be charged overnight and throughout the morning to ensure that it would be charged fully.
My old power bank would often be charged overnight and throughout the morning. I always make sure I take a full power bank with me, ready for when I require a top up on my iPhone which is every day.
Although this was a habit I got into, I found it quite wasteful of both of money and electricity. I actually worked out that to charge my phone once a day every day, was costing over $25 in electricity every year.
Upon the discovery of Anker’s solar charging kit for mobile devices, I find myself more relieved. I get to make the most out of the perpetually sunny weather in my area, and save money in the process as well!
Product Features & Specifications
Whats included in the Anker Solar USB charger kit.
- Anker 21W Dual USB Solar Charger and Powerport.
- Quality micro USB cable with a length of 3 ft
- Welcome quick start guide.
Foldable Smart design
Another part of the product that amuses me the most is how ergonomic it is. It’s lightweight and portable and can be used in multiple ways. I charge it every day by laying it by my east window, for it to get the most contact with the sun.
In addition to using it as an everyday staple, the product is also useful for out of town trips! I’ve tried it on my camping trips, and it’s easy to charge even when you’re on the go!
The stainless steel eyelets on the corners have been really handy. I tie the product in a way that it covers my whole backpack, and it gets a great amount of sun exposure while I’m hiking up a mountain or in a forest.
What I dislike about this Solar Foldable Phone Charger
- Poor compartment storage design.
- No color options.
It’s great that Anker has thought of a compartment for users to store their items in while they go trekking, hiking or boating activity. However, the compartment is only held together by a Velcro strip. I would have liked to see a zipper in its place.
I have only ever seen one other Solar device charger that has a zipper and that is the Nekteck Solar charger. You can read about it here with our solar powered phone charger reviews. Anker vs Nekteck vs Sokoo, and the foldable Anker kept up with the best of them. I just wish it had a camouflage cover.
These are minor personal shortcomings which in no way limit the functionality of the device.
Hot batteries will fail
In addition, it’s wise while charging to place your phone or tablet under a shirt or in the solar-powered portable phone chargers pocket. You have to try and protect your phone or tablet from the heating rays of the sun. Your device may overheat from the exposure to high temperature.
It’s been a proven fact that Lithium Ion Phone batteries can be damaged by extreme heat.
Always shade your device being charged
Why no internal battery in the solar panel backpack charger?
One of the problems that I didn’t realize till I was using it was that there is no internal battery. I would have thought that there would be a small internal power bank that slowly charges up over time and then your device would drain this power.
The internal USB solar power port is used to charge your devices. It’s not an internal battery. The output is depending on how much sunlight is available. If there is a lot of sunlight you will get a fast charge. Low light is a much slower charge.
The only way to get around the low light problem is to include your own small power bank. That way when you require some extra power just plug your phone or tablet into the power bank inside the Anker pouch.
You would wire it up like this
Anker solar battery charger with USB port — to battery power bank — to your cell phone.
I tested the power output using 2x Anker 1000mah power banks. This made sure I was not limited to the power draw from only one power bank.
I was able to get 1.64 amps out of 1 USB port. Now bear in mind this is close to the maximum output of 2.4 amps. Being winter and with the sun low down I’m sure the output will improve during midday at summer.
Has a number of devices that aren’t compatible
The Anker Powerport Solar has a number of devices that are fully compatible with it. However, older iPod versions, the HP TouchPad, and some Asus tablets aren’t part of that list.
It would be a bit of a bummer for those looking forward to buying this solar panel for their device, only to find out that it isn’t compatible at all. Hopefully, Anker addresses this problem!
Just wanted to be clear. Some other Solar phone chargers also have this problem.
To get around this low charging problem get yourself a small power bank. Like mentioned above, it will have the higher amperage required to charge these devices. The solar cell will then charge this battery power bank. I use the 10,000mah Anker power bank shown below.
Just place the Anker battery pack into the pouch, plug it into the USB port and then plug your high-energy device into it whenever you need a charge.
Weather-resistant but not waterproof
This product was almost a dream for my trekking journey. However, there was a little feature that could have made it more awesome: waterproofing. The solar panel’s polymer backing is great and protects it from drizzles and light rain showers, but if it’s pouring with rain be careful with your phone in the pouch it may get wet.
When we go boating I always make sure to wrap my phone and the Anker USB integrated circuit box in a plastic ziplock bag. This way the electronics will last longer.
One new gadget that has made my camping trips more enjoyable are Solar powered LED lights. I use the folding solar panels to charge up each light globe during the day as its faster than the 2w panels that come with the globes.
How to Use the Anker Solar USB phone charger
1.) Unfold the solar-powered portable phone charger to get the most power out of the product. Make sure all three panels are exposed to the sunlight. Pointing to the sun is best.
2.) If you are in a stationary position, you can leave your solar power port in an area where it can get sunlight the most. You can lay it on the ground, tie it to your backpack, or tie it up to the side of a tent. The latter is a great way for shade as well.
3.) If you need to move around much, you can tie the panel to your backpack through the eyelets with some rope, cable, or carabiners. It’s the perfect solar panel backpack charger while on the move.
To charge your USB devices
1.) Locate the USB output ports, which are inside the solar power port’s device compartment.
2.) Take the cable for your device and attach it to either USB port.
3.) Voila! Depending if the panel still has enough energy for both devices, your devices are getting the juice that they need.
When out camping we have found a really cool firelighter. It’s called a USB arc lighter, perfect to start campfires with a plasma beam. When it gets flat just charge it up from the power of the sun.
Anker Solar Device Charger Frequently Asked Questions
1.) What does the 18-month warranty cover?
The 18-month warranty covers all quality-related issues with a replacement or full refund. This comes with Anker providing the return shipping. However, the customer must be the one to shoulder the shipping costs of returning the defective product. This warranty is available to all customers around the world.
Aside from the 18-month warranty, customers can return their product for any reason as long as it’s within 30 days. Whether it’s because of quality or personal issues, Anker will take back the product in this time period. Amazon makes this easy.
This warranty isn’t applicable to products purchased from unauthorized resellers. In addition, improperly operated devices, non-quality related issues, and products that are lost, stolen or were given out for free are not covered.
2.) When does the 18-month warranty start?
The moment you place your order is the day the 18-month warranty begins.
3.) How can I claim the warranty?
Simply provide a Return or Exchange request by contacting Anker’s support e-mail address (email@example.com). Be ready with a valid proof of purchase for the product. The following are considered valid proof of purchase:
- Amazon order number
- eBay username for purchases via AnkerDirect
- A sales receipt from an authorized Anker Reseller. This must come with the date of purchase, product price, and description.
4.) Which cable should I use with Powerport Solar?
Use your device’s original cable for best results.
5.) The Powerport Solar gives a current output of 2.4A. My device charges at 1A. Does this make the Powerport Solar harmful to my device?
The ports only supply the maximum current allowed by your device, with 2.4A being the maximum current output. If you use the Powerport Solar with a device requiring 1A to charge it, the Powerport Solar only supplies 1A. Cleaver!
7.) What is the PowerPort Solar’s optimum operating temperature?
To keep your Powerport Solar at its optimum performance, use it at 77°F. However, the Powerport Solar can tolerate conditions at temperatures -4°F to 140 °F. The hotter the solar panels get the less efficient they are.
At the end of the day, this little Anker Solar USB phone charger is amazing. For the convenience of always ready power when the sun shines, you can rest assured you have electricity in the middle of nowhere. With thousands of positive online reviews, the world really trusts Anker gear.
Camping and hiking are where this little Solar powered portable phone charger really shines. So you can take that external USB battery pack and charge it all day long. Then drain it overnight to power your phone, tablets and small LED lights.
When the end of the world comes, just make sure the Anker solar device charger is in your bug out bag? It can be a real lifesaver.