For my holiday in Snowdonia a few weeks ago, I had intended to put the Powermonkey Extreme through it’s paces to see if I could keep my phone running (starting with two full batteries and the extreme full charged) for the full trip. Unfortunately things did not quite go to plan – primarily the complete lack of sunshine which meant the solar panel was never used, so the results are incomplete and I want to run some more tests but here are the results:
UPDATE – Since I originally published this post, Powertravellers (the makers of PowerMoneys) got in touch saying that, based on the information below, my PowerMoney Extreme is potentially faultly. Since that conversation, the Extreme stopped charging altogether, and has been returned to Powertravellers to replace. I will update further when I hear back from them! Full credit to the team at Powertravellers for picking up on this.
I arrived at the first campsite on Tuesday evening with two full batteries – after an evening of replying to emails, social media and a phone call, the first battery was down to 70% when I switched the phone off. The next morning, after using the phone to provide wifi for my Xoom to answer a few support tickets, a bit of navigation and some more social media, the battery was down to 50%, so I switched to the full battery. I then headed out onto the Moelwyns using ViewRanger with Social Hiking, along with uploading tweets and photos. Where I camped I was out of signal, but I used the Kindle app and managed to make a call to let my girlfriend know where I was. I turned the phone off on 20% and plugged it in to charge.
CHARGE 1: 20% to Full
On Thursday morning I again used ViewRanger with Social Hiking to return to the car, headed over to Beddgelert and did another Social Hiked walk. By the time I was settled into the pub having dinner, the battery was down to 10% and I plugged it in to charge.
CHARGE 2: 10% to Full*
* I should point out that twice during the charge, I switched back on the phone a few times to take a photo before turning it off again, so it is likely that more charge than usual was needed.
As the battery was charged by the time I returned to the campsite, I switched the full battery over and began charging the 50% full battery (again the charge was interrupted so I could take a few pictures). Quite alarmingly the Powermonkey began flashing to alert me that it was running low (although I will do a full review another time, it is really annoying having a glowing flashing screen in your tent when you are trying to sleep, and surely it uses up more battery?!). Despite the warning, the battery was fully charged by the morning.
CHARGE 3: 50% to Full**
** with some additional use
After a hike on the peaks surrounding Penllyn Forest near Bala, I needed to attempt to find where @groovy_nut lived and as Google Navigate uses crazy amounts of battery I caved in and used my car charger. When I did next try and use the Powermonkey, there was barely a few minutes of charge before the device switched off and refused to charge anything.
So in total, I managed to achieve about 3 charges (taking into account additional uses). I have to admit to being a little disappointed – Powertraveller claim the device can charge an iPhone up to 6 times, a Garmin Edge 800 up to 6 times and a standard mobile up to 12 times. Whilst my Motorola Defy is probably more like an iphone – 3 times just does not seem that good for a charging solution costing £120.
That said, before I commit to any final conclusions I want to run a few more tests to try and quantify exactly how many charges I can get out of it (at home in perfect conditions). As a charging solution, you also of course get the solar panel for your money, and I would like to see how that performs, both when used in a fixed location and when used on your backpack.
To be continued…