BigBlue 3 Review
Cons: Bulky, lacks portability
Compare to Similar Products
$69.96 at Amazon
$69.99 at Amazon
$27.99 at Amazon
$19.98 at Amazon
$56.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Inexpensive, efficient, user-friendly, excels in partly cloudy conditions||Efficient, powerful, great value for its size, lightweight||Quick to charge, portable size, panel actually works despite small wattage||Compact, lightweight, fast charging capabilities||Impressive charging speeds, can charge multiple devices simultaneously, affordable|
|Cons||Bulky, lacks portability||Pocket too small to hold extra cords and accessories||Heavy, slow to replenish battery via solar||Lacks versatility||Poor interruption recovery|
|Bottom Line||We were impressed by its ability to charge our gadgets quickly and reliably and its reasonable price is the cherry on top||A compact, lightweight panel with exceptional efficiency and charging capabilities||This exceptionally priced battery pack quickly charges devices, and if left in the sun for hours, can replenish via solar||This little panel is by far the lightest in this review, but its charging abilities are impressive||A powerful, fast charging machine, capable of charging multiple devices, complete with a reasonable price tag|
|Rating Categories||BigBlue 3||Anker PowerPort 21W||Goertek 25,000mAh||BEARTWO 10,000mAh||Ryno-Tuff 21W|
|Charging Speed (30%)|
|Charge Interruption Recovery (20%)|
|Multiple Device Charging Speed (20%)|
|Weight & Portability (20%)|
|Specs||BigBlue 3||Anker PowerPort 21W||Goertek 25,000mAh||BEARTWO 10,000mAh||Ryno-Tuff 21W|
|Panel Size (watts)||28W||21W||5W||<5W||21W|
|Weight (measured)||23.5 oz||17.6 oz||19 oz||7.52 oz||17 oz|
|# of USB outlets||3||2||3||2||2|
|Max USB Output Current (amps per port)||2 amp||2 amp||1 amp||2.1 amp||2.4 amp|
|Size folded||11.1" x 6.3" x 1.3"||11" x 6.3" x 0.75"||7" x 3.75" x 1.25"||5.5" x 3" x 0.7"||5.9" x 11.8" x 0.8"|
|Panel Type||PET Polymer||Mono-crystalline||Mono-crystalline||Mono-crystalline||Mono-crystalline|
|Size opened||33.1" x 11.1" x 0.2"||26.3" x 11.1" x 0.2"||7" x 3.75" x 1.25"||5.5" x 3" x 0.7"||18" x 11.8" x 0.1"|
|Battery input (Volts / Amps)||N/a||N/a||5V 2A||5V 2.1A||N/a|
|Charge capacity (mAh)||N/a||N/a||25,000mAh||10,000mAh||N/a|
|Direct USB Plug?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We were impressed by this panel's design, as well as the results we saw in our testing. BigBlue has created an inexpensive, highly efficient product that charged our electronic devices with ease. Though it is a bit large and bulky, the extra size didn't matter because this panel got the job done. For car camping or a backcountry base camp where weight is not a huge concern, the 28W from BigBlue is an excellent choice. The positive features outweigh the negatives, as this panel will charge your devices quickly and effectively. It comes with a nifty auto-restart feature that comes in handy when the sun is intermittent, which occurred more often than we liked. During testing, we had multiple devices that required a charge; this panel acted as a base camp charging station for our satellite phone, external battery, and two phones, keeping them charged for two weeks.
It performed consistently well in a range of conditions. Even if you are not a gadget-obsessed adventurer, this panel is an excellent option if you want a quick charge for a single device (and again, it's hard to beat the price).
Charge Interruption Recovery
One of the coolest features that the Big Blue has is the ability to recover from an interruption. Whether you are charging on a partly cloudy day or the sun angle changes to cast a shadow over the panel while charging, the BigBlue has an auto-restart function that makes reconnecting to your device a smooth affair. Though the charge was slow with interruptions, this design avoids the constant vibrating that occurs when a phone is disconnected and reconnected from its power source.
At 28 watts, the BigBlue falls in the middle of the road when it comes to wattage. We've added larger panels over the years, as the technology has improved, and companies can get powerful panels into smaller packages. This is just to say that the BigBlue did well in this metric, epsecially considering its size.
It's right in the middle of charging speed scores, with some larger capacity panels slightly surpassing it. In 30 minutes, the panel charged our Pixel 3 nine percent. This is impressive, though not the highest increase we saw from any panel. That said, its consistency across the board keeps it at the top of the list.
Multiple Device Charging Speed
Though the BigBlue panel is equipped with three USB ports, we recommend only charging one device at a time, which will help achieve maximum efficiency. This multi-device function seems to be more of a marketing scheme than the most effective way to charge electronics. That said, multiple devices still have the capacity to charge, and this panel is suited for the job, thanks to its large capacity.
The BigBlue received high scores in our durability metric and is comparable to our other award-winning panels. We had no issues with it performing in semi-wet conditions, and there were no signs of wear after a few months of use. Because it has a few more features than other panels (the ammeter and the auto-restart function), it has a higher risk of breaking down in some fashion, though we had nothing but success when using this panel. The canvas material covering the outside is durable and resistant to abrasions and wear, and the PET Polymer panels showed little sign of wear, even after months of exposure to the sun.
We liked that the updated panel has a zippered pocket with elastic straps inside to help you stay organized. The zipper also improves durability and protects your gadgets.
Weight and Portability
Efficiency and ease of use are a trade-off for portability and weight. The larger the panel, the faster it will charge your devices, and the more difficult it might be to fit into your backpack; the BigBlue is no exception. As our largest-capacity panel in this review, it should be no surprise that this product is also one of the bulkier options out there. If you're after a larger, heavier panel, it makes sense to go with the BigBlue since it will deliver the most charge to your devices in the least amount of time.
The other incredible aspect of this panel is the cost, as it's one of the lower-costing panels of its size. It delivers almost 30W of power and comes at an excellent price. Many panels we've reviewed are more expensive and have a lower capacity; you do the math! The BigBlue is one of our favorites; it humbly charged our gadgets quickly, with no extra frills or features. The simplicity makes it less expensive to produce, and in turn, keeps its price tag relatively low.
We love the BigBlue. It provides a consistent charge to our electronics in numerous situations, no matter if it's a partly cloudy day or there's a tree branch interrupting the continuous delivery of sunlight. Time and time again, it kept chugging along, effectively charging our devices. Though the panel has three USB ports, it performed at its best when a single port was in use. It wins our top choice, as it's efficient and fast-charging. Its incredible qualities trump weight and portability, as it is one of the larger panels we reviewed, and the price is just right.
— Jane Jackson
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More