REVIEW – Power outage or outdoor events when your phone charge gets low? No problem if you have a solar panel in your pack. The Gosun SolarPanel 10 may be a portable solution to keep your small devices charged. Read on and see if you have a need for one or would you pass for another power source?
What is it
The Gosun SolarPanel 10 is a flexible, durable, portable solar panel capable of charging phones or other small devices when you are outdoors with no traditional means of electrical charging.
What’s in the box
- One solar panel 10
- 2 small carabiner edge clips
- Instruction sheet
- 10 watt output via USB A out
- Weight: 10.7 oz
- Width: 12.75”
- Height: 9.75”
- Thickness: 3/32”
- Thickness at fold: 5/8”
Design and features
There is no brand name printed on the Gosun 10 panel. It comes with a 1 year warranty. It charges cellphones at normal rates, but not at rapid rates.
The semi-flexible panel seems durable and is completely sealed except for the USB A port on the back. There are no moving parts and the panel folds in half for storage. Nothing about the device seems fragile or brittle. Due to the semi-flexible nature of its construction, I can verify it is drop-safe. Ok, I was trying to hang it on an interior window latch and it slipped. I wouldn’t throw it like a frisbee but it’ll withstand drops.
Installation and Setup
Open the panel, point directly at the sun, plug the charger cord into the panel USB A port, then plug the other end into the cellphone or device needing to be charged.
Testing and observations
With the panel facing the rising sun coming through a screened residential window the device would not begin charging a cellphone. Not a real problem given the electrical outlets inside my house but I had to check. Hey, the power could go out.
With one step outdoors the device began charging my phone once exposed to the bright morning sky. But charging would start and stop pointing up to the sky vs. at the sun. Best performance will be experienced with the panel outdoors, pointing directly at the bright sun. In that setting, the panel charged my 2 cellphones (one at a time) at normal speeds comparable to regular 110-120VAC wall outlet cellphone chargers.
The next day testing in direct mid-morning sun caused a predictable good charging rate when directly facing the sun. If the panel was at an angle, charging seemed to stop and start even though the sunlight was hitting the device unimpeded.
My Samsung S8 charged from 80% to 100% in about 25 minutes. I get that performance with a standard charger. (The S8 came with a fast charger but I’m usually ok with the closest charger at hand.) The panel charged my Pixel 3a XL at the standard ‘Charging’ rate per the home screen notification. In spite of living in a safe neighborhood, I wasn’t comfortable leaving this phone outside for a longer test since it’s my primary device. The panel did not charge the Pixel 3a in the bright overcast sky, even when pointing the panel at the sun’s location.
The instruction sheet states “Support iPad…” Even with proper bright sun and aim, the device did not charge an iPad Air 2. More specifically the charging indicator (lightning bolt on the battery symbol) did not appear. 10 watts may not be sufficient power to get the job done with an iPad? Or is it actually charging very slowly?
Even in bright direct morning sun, the panel allowed my Amazon Fire gen. 7 (small) tablet to discharge. That surprised me. I often could not get the Fire to charge with the Gosun SolarPanel 10. In bright sun the charge indicator and tone sounded indicating the device was being charged, but the percent number would decrease over time. Wifi and the screen were off. Occasionally the panel would cause the Fire tab to charge very slowly, e.g. 3-4 percent over an hour.
What I like
The Gosun SolarPanel 10 charged cellphones as well as did standard ‘wall plug’ chargers. The durable construction of the device suggests it was engineered for long service and easy portability. The edge clips are a nice addition because there could be settings where no good flat surface is available for standing the panel.
What I’d change
Having no brand name on the panel is possibly a marketing oversight if the company wants to be known and wants word to spread as others see the product in use. With no brand name, one thinks ‘generic’ and at this price point, one expects brand authenticity.
The instruction sheet is not critically important but the text is so small it is nearly illegible. I could have read it when I was 12 but… I propose that Gosun make the font readable?
My experience was the Gosun SolarPanel 10 charged cellphones well. Full stop.
For camping, spectator sports activities, hunting, fishing, or during power outages (if it’s sunny), this device will charge cellphones and possibly other very small devices ‘off the grid’. It is lightweight, well made, and would easily fit in a backpack, toolbox, or home drawer.