Notebookcheck Logo

EBL MP500 and 100 W solar panel hands-on: Powerful mobile power station with charging limitation

500 W equals 500 Euro. Powerstations, i.e. battery energy storage devices with various USB, and socket outputs, are very popular, but also expensive. The EBL MP500 costs just under 500 euros, offers a continuous power of 500 W (1,000 W peak) and can store 519.4 Wh of energy in its batteries. Of course, you can charge the one-handed portable energy cube with both mains and solar power. EBL includes a 100 W folding panel for the latter.

The company EBL is still largely unknown in this country. Even on the official website, one searches in vain for the company's headquarters. When asked, it turns out that EBL is a sub-brand of Shenzhen Lepower Electronics Co., a Chinese company based in Shanghai, which bought EBL. EBL has been around since 1998 and focuses on the production of batteries, rechargeable batteries, chargers, and - because it fits so well - now also on the increasingly more popular power stations. The manufacturer also has its first solar panel on offer. It can be easily folded and has a maximum output of 100 W.

In the meantime, the manufacturer has also started to sell its products in Germany and Europe, for example via Amazon, where the MP500 can be ordered for 499 Euros. Reason enough for us to take a look at one or two of its products, namely the mentioned folding solar panel with 100 W as well as the MP500 power station.

We have already tested similar products from manufacturers like Anker or Bluetti, so we can also make corresponding comparisons here. We have not yet had a power station with around 500 Wh, but the Anker Powerhouse 521 and the Bluetti EB3A only have around 250 to 300 Wh, together with the Anker Powerhouse 555 with about 1,000 Wh, we have a good frame where the MP500 fits perfectly in the middle.

Case and design - Plastic in orange

Externally our previously tested power stations tended to have a simple, gray design, that was loosened up by light color accents. EBL takes a slightly different approach: the MP500 looks a bit more colorful and coarser in design due to the orange color. Together with the sturdy orange fold-out handle, the energy storage device looks a bit like a robust construction site radio. A lot of plastic, visible signal colors, stable, a bit rough.

Power & features - MP500 with 500 W

The power station

The MP500 can handle 500 W of continuous power, with a short-time (switch-on) peak of 1,000 W. The Bluetti EB3A with 268 Wh even outputs 600 W, which might not be optimal for the small battery. Otherwise, the continuous power of most power stations is about the same as their battery size.

On the other hand, there is a disappointment in terms of input power: despite the 519 Wh battery, it can only be charged with 105 W, regardless of whether via mains or solar power. Although the MP500 also accepts solar panels with up to 200 W, as long as they are in the voltage range of 12 to 26 V, the power station only supports a maximum of 105 W. Thus, charging should take longer than with the competition, which is, on the other hand, gentler for the battery.

Specs EBL MP500 Anker 555 Bluetti EB3A Anker 521
Capacity 519.4 Wh 1,024 Wh 268 Wh 256 Wh
Continuous power 500 W 1,000 W 600 W 200 W
Peak power 1,038 W n/a 1,200 W 400 W
Charging power AC 100 W 200 W Turbo 330 W; Standard 268 W 65 W
Charging power DC/solar up to 200 W (only 105 W arrives, 12 - 26 V) 200 W 200 W (11 - 28 V; 8.5 A) 65 W (11 - 28 V; 5.5 A)
Charging power combined n.a. n.a. 430 W 65 W
Connections 1x AC outlet, 1x USB-C, 3x USB-A, 1x car, 1x DC out, 1x DC-In, 1x PV-In (XT 2x AC outlet, 3x USB-C, 2x USB-A, 1x car, 1x DC-In 1x AC outlet, 2x DC-In, 1x 12 V car in/out
100 W USB-C, 2x USB-A (5 V, 3 A), DC-In, AC-In (mains plug), Wireless Charging Pad
1x AC socket, AC/DC-In, 2x USB-A, 1x USB-C, , 1x 12 V car
Weight 6.8 kg 13.37 kg 4.6 kg 4.34 kg
Dimensions 292 x 202 x 194 mm 350 x 295 x 188 mm 255 x 180 x 183 mm 216 x 211.4 x 144 mm
Price 479 € 1,200 € 399 € (currently 319 €) 369 € (currently 279 €)
Warranty 2 years (panel 1 year) 5 years

The solar panel EBL ESP100

The solar panel can be folded once, and a magnetic catch prevents it from unfolding. Some competitors, like the Anker 625 with 100 W, can be folded several times and are thus even a bit more compact. For example, the Anker panel consists of four segments, while the EBL panel only has two. This makes the EBL about 12 cm longer when folded. When unfolded, the EBL is about 16 cm shorter.

The EBL ESP-100
The EBL ESP-100
100 W power, unfolded
100 W power, unfolded
The magnetic closure under the carrying handle
The magnetic closure under the carrying handle
Folded: EBL ESP-100 next to the Anker 625
Folded: EBL ESP-100 next to the Anker 625
Specs EBL ESP-100 Anchor 625
Power 100 W 100 W
Size folded 640 x 536 x 65 mm 525 × 470 × 85 mm
Size unfolded 1,284 x 536 x 45 1,446 × 525 × 45 mm
Weight 4.5 kg 5 kg
Price 158 Euro 370 Euro

At about 4.5 kg, the ESP-100 weighs a bit less than the Anker competitor. There is a sturdy carrying handle at the top. There are eyelets in the four corners for attaching the solar panel.

The EBL solar panel only has two feet, while the Anker panel has three. Therefore, the ESP-100 is quicker to unfold and set up and is no less stable due to the only two segments despite only two feet.

A total of four eyelets in the corners
A total of four eyelets in the corners
2 feet, set-up angle up to 45 degrees
2 feet, set-up angle up to 45 degrees

What we miss in most solar panels, including the EBL, is a USB port for directly plugging in a USB device like a smartphone without the detour via a power station. The Anker has a convenient female USB-A port, but the EBL does not.

On the positive side, however, EBL includes several adapters and cables. The MC4 plugs of the panel can thus also be plugged into DC-In or XT ports of different sizes.

The enormous price difference is also interesting: Folding panels are always more expensive than those with a rigid frame, but the 369.99 Euros for the Anker 625 is already hefty. In contrast, the EBL ESP-100 folding panel with the same wattage costs "only" 157.99 euros, all excluding shipping. It means that for the same performance, the Anker panel is more than twice as expensive!

Solar panel has MC4 connectors for positive and negative terminals
Solar panel has MC4 connectors for positive and negative terminals
MC4 to "Anderson" + MC4 to DC round plug + three additional round plug sizes
MC4 to "Anderson" + MC4 to DC round plug + three additional round plug sizes

Connections - EU loses a socket

In the EU version, the power station has only 1 AC socket, while the international version fits two.

EU version with 1x AC
EU version with 1x AC
International version with 2x AC
International version with 2x AC

The EBL offers a total of 4 USB ports, three of which are Type-A and one Type-C. The latter provides up to 60 W. At the same time, Type-A ports support Quick Charge 3.

Besides AC and USB, there is also a car port that can serve as input and output, as well as two DC outs. All three ports output 14 V.

The wireless charge option on the top is also great, similar to the Bluetti EB3A. You simply place your smartphone on top of it, and if it supports wireless charging, energy is pumped wirelessly into the phone's battery. However, the EBL only provides 10 W, while the Bluetti can output 15 W.

On the input side, we have the round plug DC-In and an XT connector. For example, the solar panel can be operated either at the XT or DC-In.

All ports (Source: EBL)
All ports (Source: EBL)

Display - The most necessary information

Display indications (source: EBL)
Display indications (source: EBL)

The display is quite small and only shows the most necessary information.

This includes the battery status and current power input/output via available channels.

For example, it shows the current charging power or how many watts are currently being drawn from one of the outputs.

The display is activated and illuminated by pressing one of the buttons, and the backlight switches off automatically after a few seconds before the display goes out a little later. When charging, it turns on automatically and displays the charging power, and while the backlight turns off after a few seconds, the display itself remains enabled in the process.

Practical experience - Very mobile, but with weaknesses in charging

Projector demands the fan (202 W)
Projector demands the fan (202 W)

Despite about twice the capacity of an Anker 521 or Bluetti EB3A, the EBL MP500 is not twice as heavy but weighs only about 45 percent more. This keeps you mobile and you can carry it around quite well, together with the folding solar panel.

The MP500 has an active fan built in, which regularly kicks in at higher loads, which can disturb the atmosphere. For example, when watching a movie using the projector, we had to mute two fans: the one from the projector and the one from the power station.

The fan seems to start at a certain output power, but the input power seems to be too low to trigger it.

Usage scenarios

The MP500 is useful wherever smaller electronic devices need to be operated. Larger devices or those that require a lot of energy should rather not be operated, also because the fan is a nuisance.

After plugging in the desired consumer, the power station is switched on. If you press one of the buttons (DC, USB, or AC), the corresponding outputs are enabled and the connected device can draw energy.

My small Fender guitar amplifier, for example, could be operated without any problems, even without the fan kicking in. The drill also ran, and despite the relatively high consumption, without a fan also because it does not run for so long.

Drill runs (305 W), but demands the fan at longer periods of use
Drill runs (305 W), but demands the fan at longer periods of use
Very good for street performers: the guitar amplifier is not a problem
Very good for street performers: the guitar amplifier is not a problem

Logically, the kettle and the vacuum cleaner did not work, both draw more than 500 W. However, even here both started up briefly, presumably due to the peak power of 1,000 W, but both switched off shortly afterwards.

Nope: Kettle with over 1,000 W only turns on briefly together with the fan, after 1-2 seconds the EBL switches off
Nope: Kettle with over 1,000 W only turns on briefly together with the fan, after 1-2 seconds the EBL switches off
Same pattern with the vacuum cleaner. It also pulls too much, can be switched on and runs minimally longer than the stove. After a few seconds it stops
Same pattern with the vacuum cleaner. It also pulls too much, can be switched on and runs minimally longer than the stove. After a few seconds it stops

Charging

Mains power

While the small Bluetti EB3A has an integrated power supply and only needs one power cable, the EBL MP500 and the Anker 521 both have the external power supply included. The EBL's power supply is rated at 100 W.

In our test, the charging power was thus around 103 W. This is a bit more than the Anker 521 with its 65 W, but the EBL needs twice the capacity to be charged. This also takes between 5 and 6 hours.

The EB3A from Bluetti is exemplary in this category. The small power cube with about half the capacity charges on the mains with 268 W! The EBL power station cannot keep up here.

The accessories: 100 W power supply, car cable, MC4 to DC adapter
The accessories: 100 W power supply, car cable, MC4 to DC adapter
Charges with 100 W on the mains
Charges with 100 W on the mains

Solar panels

Admittedly: February in Germany is hardly the appropriate month to test a solar panel. Therefore, the following statements should be taken with a grain of salt.

But, to be clear: charging via a 100 W panel like the ESP-100 is rather unsatisfactory. Even in perfect sunshine, it would take 5 to 6 hours to fill the power station again. Unfortunately, you rarely get more than 6 hours of perfect sun, in Germany away from the midsummer months anyway, and not always in midsummer either.

I did the test under a cloudy sky but the sun was shining through slightly. Thereby the ESP-100 produced just 22 W. This way it takes days until the power station is full again.

ESP-100 charges the power station straight with 22 W
ESP-100 charges the power station straight with 22 W
No wonder, very cloudy February day, sun tries to shine through, moderate success
No wonder, very cloudy February day, sun tries to shine through, moderate success

Sure, in summer the yield will be much better, maybe 60 to 80 W, but looks like the maximum 105 W charging power for a power station with 519 Wh capacity is just too low, especially with the solar charging power.

At least I was able to connect two solar panels at once, one via the round plug DC-In and the other to the "Anderson" port. Since I still had a 200 W panel here, I was thus able to connect a 200 W and a 100 W panel at the same time. Together, the two made it to just under 70 W under my test conditions. But even with both panels, which not everyone has, it would still take almost 8 hours to fully charge the MP500.

Sun comes out, both panels connected, yield increases up to 70 W
Sun comes out, both panels connected, yield increases up to 70 W
Not the Anker 625, but the Bluetti PV200 with 200 W
Not the Anker 625, but the Bluetti PV200 with 200 W

Pros

+ PS: good compromise between mobility and capacity
+ PS: wireless Charging Pad
+ PS: 2 DC inputs (also for PV)
+
+ Panel: very cheap for a foldable panel
+ Panel: relatively light
+ Panel: quickly unfolded and set up
+ Panel: several adapters as accessories
+ Panel: small when unfolded

Cons

- PS: AC and Solar charging power only 105 W
- PS: fan noise at medium to high loads
- PS: no ecomode for autom. timeout
-
- Panel: rather large pack size
- Panel: no USB plug for direct charging

Verdict - Mobile 500 W(h), but with low charging power

The Powerstation EBL MP500 maintains a good compromise between capacity (519 Wh) and mobility. It can be carried around with one hand and the panel can be held in the other hand, in contrast to heavier power stations like the Anker 757 or Bluetti AC200 Max. You can run a lot of devices with it (up to 500 W continuous power).

It is a bit annoying that the active fan turns on and disturbs the scenery with even medium-sized consumers, starting at 200 W at the latest. However, this is usually the case with other power stations as well. We found the MP500's low charging power really unfavorable. With only 105 W, even charging at the socket takes longer. The limitation to 100 W via a solar panel is really annoying. The ESP-100 panel does what it is supposed to, but a single 100 W panel is undersized for a 519 Wh power station. Here we would wish for much more charging power of at least 200 W, if not more, in the future, otherwise charging via solar energy will take more than a day even in optimal solar conditions.

The EBL MP500 is light, mobile and offers a good capacity of 519 Wh to run many devices on it. However, the general charging power of 105 W is clearly too low.

Price and availability

If you buy directly via the website EBLofficial, the EU version costs 475 Euros. At Amazon you currently pay 499 Euros. The Anker 521 or the Bluetti EB3A are significantly more expensive in relation to their capacity.

The folding solar panel is even cheaper for its category. 158 Euro for 100 W on the EBL website are at least in comparison very inexpensive, the comparable Anker 625 with 100 W costs a proud 370 euros. Also, you can buy it on Amazon where the panel costs 199 Euros.

Update: Currently, there are significant discount coupons on Amazon for both products. Thanks to a 200 euro discount on the MP500, it currently costs only 299 instead of 499 euros. The panel is reduced in price by 50 Euros and thus only costs 149 Euros on Amazon. The Amazon links above lead to the products, there simply put a checkmark on the coupon, and the discount will be deducted at checkout.

Transparency

The present review sample was made available to the author as a loan by the manufacturer or a shop for the purposes of review. The lender had no influence on this review, nor did the manufacturer receive a copy of this review before publication. There was no obligation to publish this review.

Price comparison

static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > Reviews > EBL MP500 and 100 W solar panel hands-on: Powerful mobile power station with charging limitation
Christian Hintze, 2023-03-21 (Update: 2023-03-21)