Pros / The X-Dragon solar power bank charges relatively quickly via solar, thanks to its four fold-out solar panels.
Cons / You can’t charge it and use it at the same time.
Verdict / The X-Dragon 10,000 mAh solar power bank is the best we tested and has reliable solar charging performance.
Most solar power banks we ran into during our research had only one solar panel, but the X-Dragon 10,000 mAh solar power bank has four foldable panels for extra sun-soaking surface area. The solar charging performance difference between the X-Dragon and other products with fewer panels is impressive. The performance, useful flashlight and durable water, dust and shock-proof exterior combine to make it our pick as the best overall solar phone charger.
Solar energy collection relies heavily on the available solar panel surface area. More panels or larger panels equal more energy. This gives the X-Dragon solar power bank an advantage over single-paneled power banks like the Necteck or Dizaul. The X-Dragon has four panels: one built into the body of the power bank and three foldable ones. Each panel converts up to 1.2W each per hour when exposed to direct sunlight. While this isn’t very fast compared to other methods of charging, the X-Dragon outperformed other solar power banks we tested.
To test the solar charging capabilities of each solar power bank, we drained each product and set them outside on both sunny and cloudy days for four hours. All products were tested at the same time, for the same duration, facing the same way and with full exposure to direct sunlight. After the allotted time, we gathered all the products and discharged them into identical Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphones. With four hours of sunlight, the X-Dragon managed to charge the phone to 73 percent on a sunny day and to 60 percent on a cloudy day. That’s 12 and five percent more than the next best product, respectively.
The X-Dragon power bank is a 10,000 mAh rechargeable lithium polymer battery. Because of the large capacity, it could take two or more days’ worth of sun exposure to fully charge just from solar energy. It’s meant to be primarily charged via the microUSB input, which takes just a few hours. The solar option is meant for recharging in emergencies, or to power one small device and have time to let it sit in the sun during the day. Unfortunately, the X-Dragon doesn’t charge itself and your devices at the same time, particularly if the battery is low. The solar panels absorb and convert energy slowly, so it’s best to wait for the power bank fully charge before you use it on your devices.
Design and Features
The body of the X-Dragon solar charger is covered in rugged ABS, making it durable, easy to grip and resistant to shock, water and dust. It has a cover to protect its micro USB input port and two USB output ports against water and dust ingress, as well. While the ABS coating is a nice feature, it makes pressing the battery’s power button a little painful. This button also controls the super-bright LED flashlight panel on the back of the battery. The X-Dragon’s flashlight has three modes: normal, flashing and SOS. In addition to the flashlight, the X-Dragon power bank has five tiny indicator LEDs. One flashes when it’s charging, and the other four indicate how charged the battery currently is. The body also has a leather-like loop attached to one of the corners. It’s the most convenient way to attach the battery to the back of your pack while hiking, but it doesn’t feel particularly sturdy.
If you’re looking for a solar charger, the X-Dragon 10,000 mAh solar power bank is a great option. You can also purchase a three-panel version instead of four, but since solar conversion relies so heavily on panel surface area, we recommend the four-paneled version. With its rugged exterior, bright LED flashlight, dual-charging capabilities and excellent solar-charging performance, the X-Dragon is the perfect choice for the beach, camping trips or anywhere else you need a little extra juice.