PEARL Revolt 28-watt foldable solar panel review: Perfect for bike trips, hiking and co
You can say what you like about the mail-order business PEARL, but some gadgets do just give you that "want-to-have" feeling. This includes the 28-watt solar panel from Revolt, which you can, for example, attach to your backpack so you can charge your phone or power bank while you're out on a hiking trip.
So, we went ahead and got a test sample and jumped on our bikes (single-speed) to embark on a trip to Kostrzyn in Poland and beyond - all so we could test how well the Revolt ZX3375 works in practice.
Technical specifications - More like 2x 12 watts
PEARL advertises this product as a "28-watt solar-powered charger with 2 USB connections (5V/4.8A), foldable, IPX4. Charges 2 mobile devices at once using renewable solar energy".
The 28 watts is the sum of the nominal voltage (6.84 V) and the nominal current (4.09 A). However, this does not mean that you can charge your smartphone at 28 watts because the power is divided between the two outputs (USB-A plus USB-C).
The output data reads as follows: Both USB ports output 5 V at a maximum of 2.4 A. This means you get a maximum charging power of 12 V per output under optimal conditions. Theoretically, you can charge two devices at up to 12 watts at the same time.
The small LED display (2.3 x 2.3 cm) shows the current in A.
Case and features – IPX4, with hooks and loops
Folded together, the 3 cm flat black case made from a water-repellent (IPX4) fabric measures only 22 x 22 cm. The whole panel weighs around 940 grams.
If you open it, the panel folds open into five segments in total - the whole length measures an impressive 115 cm. Four of these segments are made of connected solar modules and the last segment is a bag containing the inverter with ports. The bag segment can at least be bent and the remaining 88 cm of the device can be oriented toward the sun.
The bag is also useful for storing a limited number of cables or your charger. Admittedly, it isn't particularly big and the inverter inside doesn't leave much room for power banks.
Also, the bag can only be secured using velcro. Although it is quite strong, you might still want to play it safe and store your smartphone somewhere else while you are en route, as the bag has a tendency to sit with the opening pointing down - depending on where and how you have attached it.
The four round eyelets are invaluable when it comes to attaching the solar panel. The manufacturer includes four simple metal carabiner hooks with the panel. There are two eyelets at the beginning and end of each of the four solar modules, i.e. two at the end of the whole panel and two in front of the bag (between the bag and the first module).
Practical test - Attached to a bike, charging a smartphone
During our three-day bike tour, we used the folding solar panel in several ways: In the morning sun, we hung it on the porch of our Airbnb accommodation (see cover photo) or placed it on the table; the panel also attached well to the tent thanks to the carabiners and eyelets.
Most of the time, however, it was strapped to the luggage on the bike while on the road. Due to the length of the panel, not all of the modules had the same sun orientation. As you can see in the photos, one module was almost flat on top, while the other three modules tended to hang down. Especially when the sun is shining from the front in the direction of travel, this is certainly not optimal.
Of course, the yield is reduced by the different, but practically necessary orientation. But that hardly matters, because if you cycle or hike for hours in the sunshine, your smartphone will still be charged reliably and sufficiently fast on the side.
During breaks or at fixed locations, you can then align all modules equally perfectly and thus maximize the yield. We were nevertheless positively surprised by how quickly our smartphone charged even while cycling, even if the hanging modules did not necessarily point in the direction of the sun.
Because unlike pointless solar products such as power banks with solar cells (please don't buy them!), where the panel size is not nearly enough to charge the product in a meaningful way, the Revolt folding panel with its four modules is very capable of supplying smartphones, power banks and similar devices with power throughout the (sunny) day. We charged both our smartphone and power bank during the trip, so we still had enough energy in the evening. Only on the rainy Saturday did we leave the panel completely in our bag.
However, if you only cover one of the four modules completely, the charging current drops very sharply. And in our test to charge two devices at the same time, the display never showed more than 2.4 A even with good sun and orientation. Apparently, the current is not displayed for both outputs at the same time, because both devices were charged quite quickly. On the other hand, the charging process stopped and restarted every now and then even in good sun, so charging two devices at the same time doesn't appear to be very sophisticated.
Verdict - Good for hiking, camping & co
The Revolt ZX-3375 added a lot of value to our bike tour. It offers enough power to reliably charge your smartphone on the side in good weather. It can also be folded up relatively small and stowed away. The eyelets and carabiners also make it universally attachable.
Even more power certainly wouldn't have hurt. If we had a wish in this regard, we would have liked to have had 28 watts on each output, which can then be split when connecting two devices. One point of criticism, however, is the price. Supposedly, the MRSP is around $130, but PEARL sells the product for around $75. But even $75 is quite a lot for a 28-watt panel that lets you only use about 12 watts for one device.
The 28-watt solar charger from PEARL (Revolt ZX-3375) is a handy companion for small power requirements on hiking, bike or camping trips and definitely added a lot of value to ours.
Price and availability
Currently, the Revolt ZX-3375 costs around $75 and can be purchased from PEARL. The order number is as follows: ZX-3375.
The present review sample was given to the author by the manufacturer free of charge for the purposes of review. There was no third-party influence on this review, nor did the manufacturer receive a copy of this review before publication. There was no obligation to publish this review.