It’s a known fact that Canadians love camping and hiking. At the same token, we also love our tech. Problems arise when we’re out in the great outdoors without a power source to charge our devices. That’s why many people carry a power bank. But what do we do when we have larger devices like laptops and Bluetooth speakers? The answer is portable power stations & solar generators.
I’m reviewing the Anker SOLIX 522 portable power station. As the name suggests, it provides portable power to charge devices and small appliances. This could be out in the back country, or during a weekend camping trip. If you need continuous power, it connects to the Anker SOLIX 625 solar panel. Put together, you have backup power for almost any situation. I first saw Anker SOLIX power stations at CES 2024. Since then, I’ve wondered if it’s worth the investment? Let’s find out in this review.
Design of the Anker SOLIX 522
The Anker SOLIX 522 has a compact design measuring approximately 8”x 6”x 8” (WDH). A built-in handle is located on the top and it weighs 8.29 pounds. It has a total of six output ports. On the front there are two USB-C ports, one USB-A, two AC output ports, and a car socket. A LED screen showcases the remaining battery life. Under the ports is an ambient light and button. This acts like a flashlight at night or in dark conditions. In emergency situations, holding the button for 2 seconds activates the SOS mode. On the back is a DC-In port for the charging cable. Under that is a small reset button that requires a pin to activate.
Charging devices with the Anker SOLIX 522
The USB-A and USB-C ports support plug and charge. When devices are plugged in, they will start charging automatically. When they are unplugged, the ports will turn off automatically. The car socket and AC output port do not support plug and charge. The SOLIX 522 has a total of 299Wh capacity. It’s perfect for charging electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, and Bluetooth speakers.
Power Saving Mode
Switching on power saving mode prevents wasting power by automatically turning off the SOLIX 522 once devices are fully charged. In some cases, such as time-lapse photography, you may want this feature off. However, my advice is to keep power saving on. The SOLIX 522 has a lifespan of 3000 charge cycles. To extend it’s lifespan, minimize the number of times you charge it. Power saving mode ensures that.
Recharging the SOLIX 522
There are several ways to recharge the SOLIX 522. For a 60W charge, connect the USB-C port to the wall. For 100W charge, use the included DC cable to connect it to the back of the SOLIX. By combining both charging methods, user can achieve 160W charge. Finally, a solar panel and a car battery can also connect to the DC-IN port on the back for 100W charging.
Design of the SOLIX 625 solar panel
The SOLIX 625 solar panel is designed with adjustable kickstand on the back with a foldable design. When you are done charging, fold the panels. Folded, it measures approximately 21”x19”x3”. Unfolded, it measures approximately 57”x21”x2”. It’s designed to withstand scratches and poor weather conditions to provide power. The SOLIX 625 offers solar conversion efficacy of up to 23% when set in direct sunlight, and 100W of power output. Solar panels can also be chained together for even faster recharging. In the middle of the SOLIX 625 is a Suncast tracking system. This helps you position the solar panels in the direction of the sun. Optimal charging is achieved when the black dot is in the red circle. It can charge devices like smartphones directly or connect to Anker portable power stations. For this review, I will be connecting it to the SOLIX 522.
Using the SOLIX 522 portable power station and SOLIX 625 solar panel
I tested these products on a wet, cloudy day in my backyard. Unfortunately, there is no sun in the forecast for the foreseeable future. The SOLIX 625 solar panel is designed to also work on cloudy days so that is how I tested it. Using the provided cable, I connected the solar panel to the power station and adjusted the kickstand. There didn’t seem to be any power input from the solar panel during my testing. While it works on cloudy days, it needs a long time to charge the SOLIX 522 without sunlight.
Outisde, I charged a variety of devices including a smartphone, tablet, Bluetooth speaker, earbuds, and a fitness tracker. All of those devices charged at the same time without issue. Out of curiosity, I tried connecting a blow dryer to the SOLIX 522. At the low power setting, it turned on. However, with only 299Wh, it shut off on the high-level setting as I expected.
Who is the SOLIX 522 and 625 for?
Personally, I think everyone should have a portable power station as part of their emergency kit. It’s just handy to have, especially during emergencies. For example, imagine there’s a power outage in your neighbourhood for several hours. Restore your Wi-Fi connecting your router and modem into the SOLIX 522. Also keep all your digital devices charged during extended blackouts.
Campers might want to also get the SOLIX 625 solar panel. It gives you peace of mind knowing you can recharge the SOLIX 522 during the day. Charge the SOLIX 522 during the day with solar power, then charge all your digital devices around the campsite at night. It adds so much convenience and peace-of-mind, you’ll wonder how you did without it.
Investing in a portable power station and solar panel system
I like tech that is practical, useful, and handy. Portable power stations are all that and more. There are many different ones to choose from. For example, I also reviewed the Anker SOLIX C1000x and the SOLIX F2600. I can honestly say the Anker SOLIX 522 is the one most people should get. It’s small, portable, and has enough juice to power most digital devices. The SOLIX 522 makes a great backup power station at home when you’re not camping or using it outdoors. It’s one of those things that you’ll never regret buying. If you have it, you’ll end up bringing it with you wherever you go.