PROS / The Fuse 6W is designed to be attached to any bag and can be securely fitted to almost any fixed location for long-term use.
CONS / This solar charger is heavier than most we tested.
VERDICT / The removable battery makes the Fuse 6W one of the more versatile solar smartphone chargers. It allows you to charge your devices without having to worry about finding an available outlet, but also lets you carry it as a simple battery pack when you just need the simple portability.
The Fuse 6W is a solar phone charger from Voltaic, and it wins our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for best portable solar phone charger. It has a range of options to fit your lifestyle, whether you're out in the city or backpacking somewhere through the hills. The battery is functional as a stand-alone, external 4,000 mAh pack that offers pass-through charging capabilities. This means you can charge your cell phone, smartphone, tablet or other microUSB connected device while the charger's battery charges too. As an external battery, you can charge it with the solar cell or a USB powered outlet.
Like with the company's other devices, the Voltaic Fuse 6W solar panel is thick and sturdy, with a generous urethane coating that gives it a high polish sheen for easy cleaning. It sits comfortably in its padded, recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) frame. This helps protect it from damage while also keeping it out of the way.
The rPET case comes with two adjustable straps and multiple contact points that let you attach it to virtually anything, including backpacks, trees, book bags or office furniture. Its flat, black appearance does make it noticeable when it gets dirty, although its water resistance prevents staining.
The Voltaic battery is designed to charge any device that takes a 5-volt input, such as your smartphone, action camcorder or tablet computer. The battery’s charging indicator is clearly visible near the USB port and displays the charging status with the push of a button. The display also has modes that allow you leave the display always on, although this mode does consume power.
Voltaic has some notoriously good panels. We roughed them up quite a bit and were amazed by how well they came back. While they're not indestructible, they can take a lot of abuse.
Like with the company's other devices, the Voltaic Fuse 6W solar panel is thick and sturdy. In fact, Voltaic's panels are the thickest we reviewed, consisting of a 1/8 inch thick monocrystalline cell covered with a 1/16 inch urethane coating.
The panel is protected by a padded recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) case that protects it from damage, and it has two adjustable straps and multiple contact points that let you attach it to virtually anything, including backpacks, trees, book bags or office furniture. Its flat, black appearance does make it noticeable when it gets dirty, although its water resistance prevents staining.
The Fuse 6W is designed to be attached to something while it charges the V15 lithium polymer 5-volt battery. It comes with two adjustable straps that allow it to be attached to most anything. It’s roughly the size of a college ruled notebook meaning it’s not too intrusive. It also has a large pocket inside where you can leave your phone or tablet as it charges. This is perfect for quick access if it’s attached to your backpack.
Because the battery is not permanently attached to the panels, the Fuse 6W offers more portability over other solar phone chargers in this review. The battery is also smaller than the average smartphone. The Fuse 6W comes with a microUSB connector, and connecters for other phones are available on their website.
The Fuse 6W comes with two guarantees. The case and panels are warrantied to be free of defects for two years. The battery, however, has a warranty for one year, which is the common period for the batteries on the solar phone chargers we reviewed.
The Voltaic Fuse 6W is a durable solar charger for your cell phone. It’s a great compliment to any active lifestyle, especially if your activities are normally hard on equipment. The 5-volt battery can be charged from either the solar panel or any USB outlet. Devices can also be charged directly from the panel as well, although we recommend charging them at least with the battery’s pass-through charging capability so the voltage going in to your device remains consistent.