Father's Day Special - Give Dad 2 Years of Cigar Aficionado for the Price of 1!

Renogy Phoenix Generator

I'm in a park a quarter mile from the nearest power outlet working from a laptop with two percent remaining on the battery, and I'm not the least bit concerned. I plug my power cable into an outlet in my briefcase, and, eureka, I have enough juice to charge my laptop five times over. And when that's tapped, I can get more power without moving.

The Renogy Phoenix Generator isn't just a 13-pound battery pack disguised as a briefcase. It's a mobile solar power station. Unhitch two latches and the briefcase opens like a clamshell to reveal two panels capable of siphoning 20 watts of solar power into a 16-amp hour (about 250-watt) lithium-ion battery.

Before I started using the Phoenix, I couldn't have told you the first thing about watts or amp hours. Now that I've used it some, let me state the obvious: the Phoenix isn't going to power your home. Heck, it probably won't power your hair dryer. But it provides more than enough juice to charge all of your gizmos through the unit's AC outlet, 12v lighter outlet and four USB ports.

Imagine you're at the beach, and, like me, can't refrain from checking your email. With the Phoenix, you can text and email with abandon while your kids try to drown each other. The unit is even water resistant, should you catch a splash. Or perhaps you're camping for some reason, and, naturally, ill-suited for any permutation of wilderness. You can plug in a portable radio and drown out the impending dangers with the reedy voice of Ira Glass. If you find yourself in the dark, the unit even includes a surprisingly bright flashlight.

The Phoenix requires a full day of direct sunlight to completely charge, though I got mine to 35 percent in a few hours by a window. (The unit includes a handy LCD panel that indicates remaining power and output usage.) Furthermore, because it supports external solar panels, you can go full survivalist and create your own mini solar array. (Renology even sells a compatible 100-watt foldable solar suitcase for $255.) If you max out solar capacity, you can charge the Phoenix in just a couple of hours of daylight. Procrastinators, don't fret. You can always charge on before reaching your destination by either plugging the unit into a traditional power outlet or your car's cigar lighter, both of which will cut the charge time in half.

At $700, the Phoenix isn't inexpensive, especially when compared with other battery packs. But the Phoenix is much more than a battery pack. It's a solar power generator, which, unlike a gasoline generator, will never run out of fuel, so long as the sun rises. It's simple to use, compact, and it won't leave your clothes smelling like petrol.

Visit renogy.com

Electronics Good Life Guide

More in The Good Life

See all
The Last Dance Review: The Final Episodes

The Last Dance Review: The Final Episodes

We all knew how this story would end, but no matter how well we thought we knew this team, surprises …

May 18, 2020
The Legend of Mr. Corvette

The Legend of Mr. Corvette

He’s wrestled Tom Cruise, played (and beaten) a man in ping-pong for a date with his daughter and …

May 15, 2020
The Last Dance Review: Episodes 7 and 8

The Last Dance Review: Episodes 7 and 8

The latest episodes of “The Last Dance” were the most emotional so far of the series, giving us a …

May 11, 2020
Cigars Take Center Stage When Cincinnati Bengals Announce 2020 Schedule

Cigars Take Center Stage When Cincinnati Bengals Announce 2020 Schedule

The Cincinnati Bengals rolled out a cigar-filled promo for their 2020 NFL schedule, most likely due …

May 8, 2020
The Last Dance Review: Episodes 5 and 6

The Last Dance Review: Episodes 5 and 6

Episode 5 of “The Last Dance” takes us back to the 1998 NBA All-Star game where Michael Jordan faced …

May 4, 2020
Michael Jordan: A Cigar Before Every Home Game

Michael Jordan: A Cigar Before Every Home Game

Michael Jordan dominated the NBA in a stellar career that saw him lead the Chicago Bulls to six …

Apr 29, 2020