Shown above is the ECEEN in all of its simple glory!
Charge Interruption Recovery
Here, the ECEEN felt a bit short. The panel delivered a steady charge to our devices (we tested this panel with a 10,000mAh battery pack and a Pixel 3), but it struggled to reconnect to our devices after a period of shading.
We covered the solar cells with shadow for 10 to 15 seconds and then returned the panel to full sun, simulating cloud cover. Some panels, especially those with built-in battery packs, can continue delivering a charge to plugged-in devices, but the ECEEN failed to do so. We had to reconnect our device to the panel after an interruption manually; this is a downside but is also to be expected from a basic panel with no built-in regulator (for delivering charge to an external battery).
Because of its simplicity, small capacity, and lack of an integrated battery pack, the ECEEN was not the highest scorer in this metric.
Though it struggled in some ways, the ECEEN impressed us by delivering a strong, steady charge to our electronics in clear, sunny conditions.
Over the course of a half an hour, the ECEEN charged our 10,000mAh battery pack a whopping 17%. This is pretty impressive, especially in comparison to other panels we tested that have the same or larger capacity and do not deliver the same level of charge to our external batteries. The ECEEN charged our phone quickly and efficiently, charging a Pixel 3 40% in one hour. This little panel will get the job done when it comes to charging small electronics effectively. We found this to be a key feature for folks who are looking for a basic solar charger that will perform well in most situations.
Though it is fairly basic, the ECEEN impressed us with its fast charging capabilities.
Multiple Device Charging Speed
For panels of this size (10 to 15 watts), it is nearly impossible for them to successfully charge two devices simultaneously. With this in mind, we did not have high hopes for the ECEEN in this metric.
Just as we had predicted, the ECEEN was only able to charge two external batteries 1% over our 30-minute test period, which is on par with other panels of this size. Typically, it takes a much larger capacity panel (around 28W) to actually see a significant amount of charge delivered to two batteries at once.
Here are the panel's dual USB ports. It wasn't entirely necessary to have them since the ECEEN is too small of a panel to quickly charge multiple devices at once.
Its canvas cover and mesh pocket make the ECEEN a fairly durable product overall. We had no issues with the panel's functionality over the course of our testing period and no signs of failure in its construction.
Instead of reinforced eyelets, like many panels have, for hanging, the ECEEN has sewn loops as attachment points. While we could see potential durability issues, we had none during our three-month test period.
Weight and Portability
In this metric, the ECEEN is ahead of the pack. With a total weight of 12 ounces, it weighs less than the majority of the panels in this review. Most we have tested average between 18 and 21 ounces, or a bit over a pound.
Some of the heaviest panels we tested weigh over two pounds. The ECEEN is impressive because it weighs well under a pound but still delivers a significant charge, with its 13W capacity. Its low weight makes it portable, too, even though its measured size is similar to many of the other foldable panels we've tested in the past.
Just look at how sleek the ECEEN is!
Most of the foldable canvas panels we've tested look about the same from the outside. Some have three or four panels, making them significantly heavier than ones like the ECEEN, which has only two panels of solar cells. When folded, this panel is sleek and slim; it slides into a backpack so easily we hardly noticed it when we brought it along on overnight trips. Typically, we prefer to bring an external battery pack with a built-in panel instead of a larger, fold-out panel; however, the ECEEN was so light and slim that we didn't mind throwing it in with our overnight gear.
The mesh pocket was large enough to store a small external battery. The full zipper makes it easy to access gadgets inside.
Just as the ECEEN impressed us in terms of weight, it also gets points for having an affordable and reasonable price tag. The panel is nothing special; it's a basic foldable panel with a midsize capacity, but the price tag is reasonable for the quality and design of the product. If you're looking for an affordable, but still very functional panel, the ECEEN is a great option. Its efficiency and quick charging speed make it a no-brainer for our Best Buy Award Winner.
The ECEEN is a compact, fast-charging machine, earning it our Best Buy Award this season.
The ECEEN is by no means a revolutionary product. In terms of design, it is fairly basic, with a two-fold panel system, a Velcro closure, and a mesh pocket for storing extra batteries and cords. Though it may not be the most exciting product we tested, it delivers when it comes to charging small electronics. It's one of the most efficient models we tested and charges our external test batteries quickly and effectively. Although we found its charging speed to be impressive, its ability to charge multiple devices at once and recover a charge (after being in the shade) fell short. The ECEEN does best charging one external battery at a time, ideally in fully sunny conditions. Its reliability, simplicity, and effective charging capabilities - plus its reasonable price tag - make the ECEEN our go-to utilitarian solar charger recommendation for those on a budget.