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As digital photographers, we all know the importance of being able to charge our gear. This is simple if you primarily work out of your home or a studio, but can get a lot more complex if you’re traveling or you are off the grid. So when Iforway offered to send me their outdoor mini power station, PowerElf, for review I jumped at the chance to test it out over the course of a Montana road trip and several camping excursions.
I think the Iforway PowerElf is a good tool for photographers, but there are a couple of things that I’d like to clarify in regards to its features right off the bat.
First, though the Iforway PowerElf is rechargeable (via a wall outlet, solar power, or a 12V car charger), this item does not ship with the equipment necessary to charge via the latter two methods.
If you wish to recharge the PowerElf via solar power, you’ll need to spend about another $150 to purchase a solar charging pad. If you want to recharge the PowerElf via your car’s cigarette lighter, you’ll need to purchase a separate adapter (around $10) if you don’t already own one.
With that out of the way, I can tell you that I’ve used the heck out of the Iforway PowerElf in the past month.
I’ve used it to charge my iPhone at the lake, and to charge Kindles during a 12 hour road trip. Family members who use CPAP machines and I chatted about how this product could potentially give them more freedom to travel off the grid without compromising their health. I’ve charged camera batteries using the cigarette lighter (I already owned an adapter) while at the beach for a week.
Likewise, I’ve used it to top off a laptop in order to do a quick photo edit on the go. Because it has a weather resistant outer shell, I felt comfortable bringing it along for all the outdoor activities that the Pacific Northwest has to offer without worrying about it damaging my devices.
Though the integrated LED flashlight wasn’t a big selling point for me initially, I was surprised how much we reached for it when we’ve been out and about.
The flashlight has several different modes (solid white light, blinking white light, solid red light, and blinking red light) that make it useful for everything from walking back to a campsite at night to digging through my camera bag while practicing astrophotography.
I think of the red light functions more as safety measures and thankfully haven’t had to use them yet, though it’s comforting to know that they’re there if I need them.
If you’re anything like me, whether or not you ultimately purchase an item you’re interested in often comes down to price. At the Indiegogo launch price of $159 (regularly $219), the Iforway PowerElf is one of the more expensive power banks on the market.
If you’re primarily looking for a portable way to charge your phone, you’d probably be better served by purchasing a 32800mAh power bank for around $50 on Amazon. However, if you’re looking for a power bank that allows you to charge a wide variety of devices, has the potential to be recharged via solar power, and can withstand being out in the elements, the Iforway PowerElf may be a great tool for you to have in your arsenal!
Overall, I’d give it four out of five stars.