≪ Go to our review of Solar Chargers

Hands-on Gear Review

iClever BoostCel 12W Review

Price:   $65 List | $58.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Durable, affordable, internal battery helps charge interruption recovery
Cons:  Battery could be unreliable, only one USB port, heavy
Bottom line:  The BoostCel 12W is the best integrated battery/panel combo we have tested.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 
Manufacturer:   iClever

Our Verdict

This panel is an exciting and new hybrid combining the sleek portability of a traditional solar panel with the convenience of an incorporated battery pack. The iClever BoostCel 12W is a 12W panel that holds its own among the other models in that output capacity range, but has the added benefit of the internal battery. That being said, the internal battery is not the most powerful, so relying on it alone is not the best idea. We found that the combination of the battery and the well-made panel makes for an efficient, reliable product. We also liked the size and shape of this model, especially in comparison to other battery-included options that are bulky and less ideal for traveling.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Portable Solar Panels and Chargers of 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Jane Jackson

Last Updated:
Friday
November 17, 2017

Share:
Regarding charging speed and reliability, the iClever BoostCel 12W panel works very well. Though it is not the speediest charger out there, it is very efficient for the capacity. We also liked the panel's sleek design and how they managed to sneak in an external battery while still keeping the panel skinny and low profile. This model is durable, though the magnetic closure mechanism could be a reason for concern over time. In general, this is a well-made panel that can charge small electronics with ease. The combination of a fold-out panel design with an integrated battery makes the BoostCel 12W unique and useful.

Performance Comparison



Here the iClever works to charge our external battery as we test its ability to recover a charge after an interruption. The panel works well because it can rely on its internal battery when the cells are blocked.
Here the iClever works to charge our external battery as we test its ability to recover a charge after an interruption. The panel works well because it can rely on its internal battery when the cells are blocked.

Charge Interruption Recovery


In the initial 10 minutes of testing, the BoostCel 12W charged a full 2%. Then, after shading and un-shading the panel for another 10 minutes, the panel didn't manage to charge past 2%. This is probably because, after shading, the panel switched to using the battery to charge and thus slowed down quite a bit. That said, having the internal battery is an advantage that this panel has over other panels this size (think the Nekteck 14W or the Anker PowerPort Lite 15W) since most smaller wattage panels have trouble reestablishing a charge after an interruption. The Anker Powerport Lite 15 since it was one of the few panels that were able to sustain a charge, even after multiple interruptions.

Charging Speed


Regarding charging speed, the BoostCel 12W was one of the top performers of panels in its output capacity category. During our side-by-side testing, the iClever panel charged an iPhone 6 to 33% in a half hour of exposure to full sun. Other panels of this capacity, like the Instapark Mercury 10W and the PowerPort Lite 15W were able to charge our external batteries to full in four hours, whereas the iClever did not quite reach full by this time. In three hours, the panel had charged our battery to 45%, while the PowerPort Lite had reached 51%. Though it lagged behind in this race, the panel still did a good job of charging the iPhone efficiently, thus giving it a reasonably high score in this metric.

The LED indicator lights to the right of the USB port show how much battery life the panel has left. This panel was surprisingly efficient!
The LED indicator lights to the right of the USB port show how much battery life the panel has left. This panel was surprisingly efficient!

Multiple Device Charging Speed


The BoostCel 12W panel is designed with only one USB port and thus cannot charge multiple devices at once. This is a small drawback to this panel since it is relatively large and has an incorporated battery. Our top performer in this metric was the Anker PowerPort 21. Panels of this size (20W and above) in general perform better in this parameter since they are more powerful overall.

Durability


Regarding durability, the iClever panel has a few pluses and a few minuses. The overall construction of the panel seems quite durable, with reinforced seams and burly canvas covering the panel and battery. The downside we saw to the iClever's design is its magnetic closure, which we could foresee wearing out faster than a Velcro closing system, like that of the X-Dragon 20W or one of the Anker panels. Also, the internal battery could be a reason for concern, as these integrated battery panels have a track record of being less durable than a simple solar panel. These concerns aside, the iClever performed well during our testing period, and we saw no visible wear and tear. It also seemed more durable than the other panel with this design, the Bernet 24000mAh.

The iClever has a novel  magnetic closure that keeps the panel shut. This is also the place where the USB port is housed  making for a very streamlined design.
The iClever has a novel, magnetic closure that keeps the panel shut. This is also the place where the USB port is housed, making for a very streamlined design.

Weight & Portability


Of the two panels with an incorporated battery, the iClever is the heavier. The panel weighs 21.5 ounces, making it the heaviest panel in this review. The closest panel in weight is the PowerGreen Solar Charger 21W, which weighs 20.3 ounces. The combination of the integrated battery pack and the magnetic closure system makes the iClever much heavier than any other panel. This is a bit unfortunate since that added weight can make or break your load on trips into the backcountry where this panel would most likely be used.

Its incredible that the iClever has an incorporated battery with a side profile as sleek as this!
Its incredible that the iClever has an incorporated battery with a side profile as sleek as this!

Best Application


Since it is fairly heavy and bulky, the iClever panel is best used as a car camping accessory, or in settings where weight is not as much of an issue. The integrated battery is nice for maintaining the charge in intermittently sunny conditions, but the battery itself is not as powerful as a traditional external battery. We also like the ability to take the small battery away from the panel and use it to charge, which the iClever does not allow.

Value


For $65, the iClever falls in alongside the Instapark Mercury 10W and the Anker PowerPort 15W in terms of price. This is fairly reasonable, considering the panel has a battery component already included. In terms of value the iClever is a fairly good option, and if this is the size panel you are looking for, it makes sense to go ahead and buy one with a battery included, if you can go big in terms of weight.

This small strip of Velcro is the only accessory the iClever provides to prop up or attach the panel anywhere. This is a downside when looking for the best place to harness solar power to charge your gadgets.
This small strip of Velcro is the only accessory the iClever provides to prop up or attach the panel anywhere. This is a downside when looking for the best place to harness solar power to charge your gadgets.

Conclusion


Overall, the iClever BoostCel 12Wis a fairly good performer across the board. Though it is heavy, it has a battery included, which makes it more reliable overall. The panel also charged our gadgets quickly, for its capacity, and didn't have any finicky issues with connections or any glaring design flaws. We were not overly impressed with the quality of the battery, however, and felt that a lighter weight panel of the same capacity is probably a better bet.
Jane Jackson

  • Share this article:
You Might Also Like

Where to Buy?

Seller Price sort asc Shipping Cost Visit
Amazonon sale
$58.99  -  9% off! Check Site see it

Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.


OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 17, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used this product?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
 
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
Amazon $58.99  -  9% off!
Compare prices at 1 sellers >

*You help support OutdoorGearLab's product testing and reviews by purchasing from our retail partners.


Follow Us


Unbiased.