If you are going off-grid — whether hiking or camping — for more than a day, you’ll probably want a way to charge your gizmos. Ideally, it will use the sun, allowing you to stay off-grid, but with your electronics, for as long as you want.
Argentina-based Box Synergy makes cargadores solar — that’s solar panel chargers. Specifically, it builds them for those of us who spend a majority of our time in the rugged outdoors.
Its newest Solar 7 Charger not only performed great in testing (namely, in powering our phones), but it also stands out from others on the market with a few key features.
In short: The Solar 7 is a lightweight, four-panel articulated solar panel that can provide a 5-volt max output to charge an array of devices. (It even comes with an accessory cable to do so.) It’s dustproof, shockproof, waterproof with submersion (to an IP67 rating), and more. All that for a super-competitive price of 90 bucks.
Pocket-Size, Efficient, and Durable in All Weather
As far as solar chargers go, the Box Synergy Solar 7 is pretty cool. It’s articulated into four panels that fold up super compact, and it comes with a protective carrying rolltop bag. This is mainly to store all the components, but also to store your phone while it’s charging.
If you think about it, having to leave your device in full sun attached to a solar panel defeats the purpose — it will overheat or be exposed to other elements. The water-resistant, lined, protective bag provides an easy solution.
Box Synergy claims 2 hours to charge an iPhone 11 with the Solar 7. Our time test: It took us 2 hours 40 minutes to charge an iPhone XR in the early afternoon in full sun in August.
Depending on where and how you set up your panel, and the sun coverage, the time it can take to charge will change. I also began charging when my phone dropped to 20% battery (not from 10% or 0%).
On another day of testing, the Solar 7 charged my phone 5% in 15 minutes — the solar panel was in full but indirect sun. Still, if you are hanging around a campsite, or charging while hiking with the sun on your back, this is pretty efficient.
Solar 7 Specs
- Solar wattage: 7.2W
- Output: 5V/1A
- Weather resistance: IP67
- Verified weight: 8.1 oz.
- Size: 3.9 by 6.7 in. (folded), 15.7 by 6.7 in. (unfolded)
- Includes: USB to micro-USB cable, 4 S-carabiners, carry bag
- Price: $90
In terms of folded size, this is definitely one of the slimmest panels I’ve seen yet. I wouldn’t quite call it pocket-size, but it’s pretty close. It even fit in one of my hiking pant thigh pockets. (And that’s saying something, both for women’s pants and this solar panel.)
Charging Multiple Devices: Box Synergy Solar 7 Makes It Easy
My second favorite aspect of the Solar 7 (aside from the overall design and function first) is the charging capabilities! On a simple 2-night backpacking trip, I brought my phone and an external power bank.
But on longer trips or working remote, I can see myself bringing my camera, computer or tablet, rechargeable headlamp, maybe a rechargeable flashlight, or camp light too. Drone and GoPro? Yup, the list goes on.
The possibilities for charging are endless. You can charge anything that requires a USB, micro-USB, USB-C, or Lightning cable (iPhone). I give it a strong hip-hip-hooray for versatility, and not having to pack any cords.
Box Synergy Solar 7 Review: Conclusion
What did I like most? Well, not having to pack my admittedly very awesome but heavy power bank for one. And two, to know that I’d have access to my downloaded topo maps, cell service, camera, and internet (my smartphone) for as long as the sun was shining.
Factoring in Solar 7’s size, packability, performance, and competitive price, it’s hard not to place it in the crème de la crème, maybe even at the very top of the market.
If you are in the market for a portable solar charger, and saving ounces, pack space, and a few bucks sound good, definitely put the Solar 7 on your short list.