Portable battery packs are good and dandy if you have a place to recharge it once you’ve depleted it, but what about those times you’re going off-grid and need some extra juice? Our Secur Ultimate Solar Charger review takes a look at a 12-watt solar panel with a 10,000 mAh lithium battery for charging your devices using solar energy.
The Secur Ultimate Solar Charger has the following features and specifications:
- Two folding solar panels for 12 watts of charging power
- High-efficiency solar panels for the fastest charging
- Built-in 10,000 mAh lithium battery charges an iPhone five times
- Dual USB ports charge with fast charging on any USB device
- Smart chip software ensures fast solar charging
- Waterproof pouch protects your smartphone while you charge
- Adjustable solar panel support
- Lightweight flexible solar panels
- 2 x 6-watt solar panels
- High-Efficiency solar cells – SunPower 24% efficient
- Dual USB ports: output 2.4 amps
- Smart chip automatically recognizes iPhone or Samsung for fastest charging
- Charging time under direct sunlight: 7-8 hours
- Protective circuit avoids overcharging, over discharging, overloading and short circuit
- Folded: 6” x 10.5” (Expanded: 16” x 10.5”)
- 20.4 oz
What’s in the box
- Secur Ultimate Solar Charger (SP-6000)
- Micro-USB to USB-A cable
- User manual
The Secur Ultimate Solar Charger comes folded up and is roughly 6″ x 10 1/2″ folded. The outer shell is comprised of a soft black nylon material, which provides some water resistance. The top of the charger has a pouch roughly 3 1/4″ wide by 10″ long and about 1″ deep. A fluorescent yellow-green seam with dual zippers goes around the outside of the pouch, and the Secur logo, model number, as well as “12 watt solar panel + 10,000 mAh battery” is printed on the pouch in white and the same yellow-green as the zipper seam.
Once opened, a small 1 1/2″ by 3″ black battery pack sits about 1 1/2″ from the top of the pouch. On the top of the battery pack, there is a silver strip with a small power button and four LED lights to indicate how much charge the battery is currently holding. Facing towards the bottom of the pouch are two USB-A ports for plugging into your devices. Secur says that this pouch is waterproof, and there is a thin black flap that if adjusted right might provide some basic waterproofing. I tested it a few times (when empty of course) and found that where the zippers meet there is a tiny gap that will indeed let water in. It is a very small gap, though, and depending on how you have the solar charger standing up, if you have the zippers meet at the bottom of the pouch it should stay dry inside the pouch.
As far as size goes, as I mentioned the pouch is roughly 3 1/4″ wide. This will cause issues with some smartphones, especially if you have a case on them. While the Nexus 5, 5X, Moto Z, and Moto Z Play fit nicely inside the pouch, the Nexus 6P in its Incipio DualPro case — which doesn’t add all that much size to it — was a very tight fit and the zipper barely closed. In addition, having the USB-A ports facing the opposite way than they currently are would add a bit more room for your smartphone when zipped up within the pouch.
To the left of the pouch (when held vertically) is an easel leg with a shoelace and a plastic toggle spring stop towards the bottom third of it. Back to that in a moment. Flipping the solar charger over, you’ll see a flap that covers about a third of the back with two grommets at the top and bottom. Lifting this roughly 2 1/2″ wide flap open reveals the Secur logo and allows you to open a second flap exposing the two 6-watt solar panels. Another smaller 1 1/4″ flap on the right side also has two grommets at the top and bottom. You can use these grommets to feed a rope through if you wish to hang the solar charger somewhere.
Once opened, if you have a place to stand the solar charger up, like a table or even a tree stump, you can adjust the easel leg using the spring stop and lace to find the optimal angle to face it toward the sun. Both the easel leg and the larger back flap attach to the rest of the solar charger by way of magnets so you don’t have to worry about the solar panels becoming accidentally exposed during transportation or having the easel leg flapping about.
It’s a pretty simple design but works well. When opened, the easel leg supports the solar charger nicely. One important thing to note with the Secur Ultimate Solar Charger — the only way to charge it is via the solar panels, so if it’s overcast or rainy, it’ll recharge much slower or not at all. I understand this is an off-the-grid solar charger but it would be nice to have the option to charge it from a power source if you have one nearby, even if just to give it that initial charge up.
It’s not that heavy either, weighing in at only 20.4oz which makes it a decent companion for hiking or backpacking where weight is important.
Ease of Use
The Secur Ultimate Solar Charger is pretty foolproof to use. As mentioned above, simply open the flaps to expose the solar panels, adjust the easel leg or find a place to hang it from, and face the solar panels toward the sun for best results. After that (or before, it doesn’t matter really), unzip the pouch and connect the device you need to charge with a USB-A to Micro-USB or USB Type-C cable. Depending on your use, you can zip your smartphone up inside the pouch or rest it nearby (preferably behind the panel to shade it from the sun). Regardless of the amount of juice remaining in the 10,000 mAh battery pack, the solar charger will charge your device straight from the solar panels if necessary.
Once finished, simply fold it back up and slide the spring top up the lace tightly against the easel leg to help hold it in place.
The product page and packaging state that the Secur Ultimate Solar Charger has a smart chip that automatically recognizes iPhone or Samsung devices for fastest charging. I have neither but do have a few devices that support fast charging like the Nexus 6P and the Moto Z. While every device I tested with the solar charger charged fine, not one of them indicated “charging rapidly” or “TurboPower” in the case of the Moto Z. It’s not the end of the world, and the solar panel did charge my devices, just don’t expect to get rapid charging out of it. When charging two devices, I didn’t notice a slow down in charging on either device.
As far as charging the battery pack, Secur claims it takes about 7-8 hours to fully charge it. Of course, this will depend on placement in relation to the sun and the presence or lack thereof of clouds. In our tests, it took between 8 and 9 hours to fully charge with a bit of an overcast sky.
Depending on what device you have, a 10,000 mAh battery is plenty to give at least 3 or 4 full charges. Considering the solar charger also directly charges the phone, it’s nice to have the backup battery pack for evening or rainy day charging.
With an MSRP of $125USD, the Secur Ultimate Solar Charger seems expensive compared to other 10 or 12-watt solar chargers on the market. However, many of those don’t come with a 10,000 mAh battery pack or dual USB-A ports either. This portable solar charger will charge your devices and also store extra power in the battery pack for those cloudy days or evenings. If you’re an avid outdoorsman who constantly goes off-grid, the price is a small one to pay for the convenience of portable solar power.
The Secur Ultimate Solar Charger is a fairly lightweight, weather resistant, portable solar charger with a 10,000 mAh reserve battery pack which makes it great for camping, hiking, fishing, boating, and other outdoor activities where you might find yourself without power for extended periods of time. Its dual 2.4A USB-A outputs should have no problems charging most of your devices with ease, albeit at a regular charging rate.