Few things are as hard to come by on a long hike as electricity. Anyone who has camped, trekked, or went hiking for days at a time, knows that it doesn’t take long for the gadgets in tow to start feeling the drain. WakaWaka POWER charges itself up fast with some time in the sun, and charges devices even faster! It also serves as a very handy, extremely bright lamp. At the heart of the company behind this device is a mission to bring this type of necessity, to remote, underprivileged areas in the world.
Charging is as simple as propping up the device to face the sun. It can hang up, stand on a flat surface via the kickstand, or even clip on to a bottle or backpack. It does need to avoid drops (of which I was poor at avoiding, as can be seen from the scratches), intense heat, and direct liquids to the flashlight side. That said, it holds up fine to dirt, direct sunlight, and even a little rain on the solar side.
A full charge takes approximately 8 hours, but I noticed it being shorter than that, probably due to my elevation and location. On the side of the device is two light rows. The red shows you if you are getting a slow, normal, or fast charge. The green shows the battery status from 25% to 100%. This information is very useful and extremely user friendly. A problem with many solar chargers is that you often are playing guesswork. Not so with this device, because fortunately it offers clear and concise feedback. Alternatively, micro-USB is another option for charging the WakaWaka POWER via an outlet.
Once charged, the WakaWaka POWER uses a USB cord to connect your device and it can charge most smartphones in just 2 hours! That is quite an incredible feat, especially when comparing to other solar chargers on the market. We charged both our iPhones up and then continued using the Lamp feature around our hostel at night. If using only the light feature, a full charge can provide up to 200 hours of light in the “Saver” mode, and 20 hours in the “Bright” mode. The bright mode is really substantially bright. To that effect, tTrips to the bathroom at night were very illuminated. Another cool perk is found if you hold the button for 2 seconds, an S.O.S pattern starts, making this a great addition to that Emergency Preparedness Kit we are all supposed to have while travelling.
Not only is the WakaWaka POWER one of the lightest, most effective chargers on the market, but the company operates with a very serious goal of helping those who need it most. Many poor communities in the world rely on toxic substances to light their homes at night, resulting in diseases and undesirable carbon emissions, or they just don’t have any access to lights at all. So far WakaWaka has gotten 12,000 of their devices distributed in Haiti and 5,000 to Syria, and they are sure to illuminate the homes and hearts of many to come.
WakaWaka Power exceeds every expectation and then some. It is ultra lightweight – making it an easy backpacking addition. The charging is uncomplicated and effective, and it is also user friendly. Finally, the lighting feature is extremely versatile and useful to. For $79.99, this is one fantastic buy that will stay with you for a long time.
The Good: Lightweight for travel, Easy to use, Offers lots of Power
The Bad: Don’t drop it!