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Instapark Mercury 27 Review

This large-capacity panel lacks durability and has an uninspiring design overall
Instapark Mercury 27
Photo: Instapark
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Price:  $75 List
Pros:  Large capacity, fast charging speeds, large pocket
Cons:  Lacks durability, inconsistent performance, unable to recover charge after shading
Manufacturer:   Instapark
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 2, 2020
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49
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 16
  • Charging Speed - 30% 7
  • Charge Interruption Recovery - 20% 4
  • Multiple Device Charging Speed - 20% 7
  • Weight & Portability - 20% 2
  • Durability - 10% 2

Our Verdict

After our three month testing period, we had mixed feelings about the Instapark Mercury 27. This panel shines in some metrics and falls short in others. On the plus side, it charged our devices quickly and efficiently in full sun conditions, and its charging speeds were comparable to other panels in a similar wattage category. It didn't excel at charging multiple devices at once, though, and was a bit finicky when its sunlight was interrupted. We were also disappointed in the overall construction of this panel; it's certainly not the cheapest panel in this review, yet it has a few questionable design features.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Instapark Mercury 27
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $75 List$69.96 at Amazon$50 List$54.99 at Amazon$39.99 at Amazon
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Pros Large capacity, fast charging speeds, large pocketInexpensive, efficient, user-friendly, excels in partly cloudy conditionsQuick to charge, portable size, panel actually works despite small wattageImpressive charging speeds, can charge multiple devices simultaneously, affordableInexpensive, lightweight, portable, charges quickly
Cons Lacks durability, inconsistent performance, unable to recover charge after shadingBulky, lacks portabilityHeavy, slow to replenish battery via solarPoor interruption recoveryLow output power, cannot charge multiple devices at once
Bottom Line This large-capacity panel lacks durability and has an uninspiring design overallWe were impressed by its ability to charge our gadgets quickly and reliably and its reasonable price is the cherry on topThis exceptionally priced battery pack quickly charges devices, and if left in the sun for hours, can replenish via solarA powerful, fast charging machine, capable of charging multiple devices, complete with a reasonable price tagThis panel impressed us with its fast charging speeds, lightweight design, and excellent price
Rating Categories Instapark Mercury 27 BigBlue 3 Goertek 25,000mAh Ryno-Tuff 21W ECEEN 13W
Charging Speed (30%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Charge Interruption Recovery (20%)
4.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Multiple Device Charging Speed (20%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
4.0
Weight & Portability (20%)
2.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
Durability (10%)
2.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Specs Instapark Mercury 27 BigBlue 3 Goertek 25,000mAh Ryno-Tuff 21W ECEEN 13W
Panel Size (watts) 27W 28W 5W 21W 13W
Weight (measured) 41.6 oz 23.5 oz 19 oz 17 oz 12 oz
# of USB outlets 2 3 3 2 2
Max USB Output Current (amps per port) 2 amp 2 amp 1 amp 2.4 amp 2 amp
Battery kit? No No Yes No No
Size folded 11.5" x 7.8" x 1.5" 11.1" x 6.3" x 1.3" 7" x 3.75" x 1.25" 5.9" x 11.8" x 0.8" 11.4" x 6.1" x 0.6"
Battery? No No Yes No No
Charge tablet? Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Charge laptop? Yes Yes No No No
Panel Type Mono-crystalline PET Polymer Mono-crystalline Mono-crystalline Mono-crystalline
Size opened 35.3" x 7.8" x 0.5" 33.1" x 11.1" x 0.2" 7" x 3.75" x 1.25" 18" x 11.8" x 0.1" 11.4" x 14.3 x .15"
Battery input (Volts / Amps) N/a N/a 5V 2A N/a N/a
Charge capacity (mAh) N/a N/a 25,000mAh N/a N/a
Charge iPhone/Smartphone Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Direct USB Plug? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Daisy Chain? No No No Yes No
12-Volt connection Yes No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

This panel fell short in its ability to recover a charge after an interruption. It also lacked consistency in its charging speeds throughout the testing period. Its size and weight reduced its overall scores in our metrics.

Performance Comparison


The Mercury was a bit of an inconsistent performer in our metric...
The Mercury was a bit of an inconsistent performer in our metric comparisons.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Charge Interruption Recovery


Here, the Mercury was a bit of a disappointment. You'd think a panel with 27W of charging power would be able to recover a charge after shading, or at least perform decently well in partially shady conditions. During our testing, this panel disconnected from our Pixel 3 and couldn't re-establish a connection after shading. Other panels with built-in regulators can recover more seamlessly after a shading, but the Mercury struggled here.

The flap on the far left kept covering one of the panels, limiting...
The flap on the far left kept covering one of the panels, limiting the panel's charging capacity.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Charging Speed


We had to run this test three times during testing. Initially, when a single device (for consistency's sake, we used the same Pixel 3 for every single panel tested in this review) was plugged into the Mercury 27, it charged at an alarmingly slow speed. After 30 minutes, our Pixel 3 had only charged 4%. This seemed oddly low, so we tried again, under the same conditions, and were surprised to see that the Mercury had charged the same phone 24% the second time. As such, we received inconsistent readings during our testing.

Multiple Device Charging Speed


When we plugged in a phone to one USB port and an external battery to the other, the Mercury charged our phone 10% over 30 minutes. This is better than panels of a similar size, and in turn, the Mercury did fairly well in this metric.

Instapark gives the option to charge via 12-volt, but we found we...
Instapark gives the option to charge via 12-volt, but we found we rarely used this feature.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Durability


Here, we ran into a few issues with the Mercury 27. This panel has two large Velcro flaps — one that secures the panel when closed and another that covers and secures the storage pocket. These flaps often got in the way, folding backward and sometimes covering the panels. You'll want to take care here to ensure the panels are not covered.

A close-up of the delaminating Velcro on the Mercury's closure flap.
A close-up of the delaminating Velcro on the Mercury's closure flap.
Photo: Jane Jackson

The Velcro that secures these flaps was not incredibly sticky and started to wear out after a few times opening and closing the panel. The sewn clip-in loops on the Mercury weren't our favorite, as they were less durable than the eyelets attachment points on most of the other panels we've reviewed. These design issues, plus the panel's significant inconsistencies, gave the Mercury a lower score in this metric.

These clip loops are not nearly as durable as the reinforced metal...
These clip loops are not nearly as durable as the reinforced metal ones that most panels have.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Weight and Portability


Length-wise, the Mercury is similar to many panels of comparable wattage. Width-wise, however (when the panel is folded), the Mercury is bulky, especially when there are items in the storage pouch. Having the 12-volt cable attached to the inside of the pouch also limits the portability and versatility of this panel. Since it's not always in use, it would be nice to be able to remove it when needed. If weight is not of concern, the Mercury provides a decent charging speed.

Its storage pocket made it wider and less portable than other panels.
Its storage pocket made it wider and less portable than other panels.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Value


This panel has a relatively high price tag. We are reluctant to recommend this panel, as others have higher quality design and fewer performance issues.

The Instapark in full sun.
The Instapark in full sun.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Conclusion


The Instapark Mercury 27 performed well in some metrics, particularly its charging speed. In the end, our durability concerns and its weight made it fall short in our metric comparisons. That said, it does charge devices quickly and comes with a 12-volt connection.

Jane Jackson