Entertainment

Review: Testing out the affordable $199 Issomi 300 Wh portable power station & emergency battery

Gone are the days of actually having to be near a wall outlet in order to plug in your AC devices. With today’s new offerings in the portable power station industry, plugging in everything from camping lights to power tools and even charging your electric bicycles can be done literally anywhere. And as I discovered from my testing of the unit, Issomi’s small yet mighty power station can do all of that and more.

The Issomi portable power station isn’t only designed for 110V AC devices though. It also has plenty of DC options to keep all of your smaller devices charged up.

Unboxing the device reveals the power station itself as well as several different accessory cords, plus the instruction manual.

The charger lets you plug it directly into a 110VAC outlet to top it up from a standard wall charge, or you could make use of the DC input to connect a solar panel to the device and recharge it from the sun.

You can also use the car charger accessory to charge it from your vehicle’s battery via the 12V accessory port in your car, commonly called the cigarette lighter port. Just don’t go nuts if the car is off; it’d be a shame to drain your starter battery by charging your backup battery.

Testing out the Issomi gave me a chance to try it with a number of different devices. The various ports are what give it the versatility to power all sorts of devices.

There’s a single 110V AC port that could be used for charging up a drill battery via the drill’s main charger, to run a CPAP machine while camping, or even to charge an electric bicycle.

As someone who rides electric bicycles a lot, especially all day in the field, that’s a use I commonly have.

At 296Wh, you could charge several drill batteries but would only get around a half of a charge into an electric bicycle battery, which has a much larger capacity. In this case, I was charging a Lectric XP 2.0 electric bike that has a 460 Wh battery. That means I’d get likely between half to two-thirds of a full charge into the e-bike from one fully-charged Issomi unit.

That 110VAC outlet allows you to charge or power pretty much anything you can think of, as long as it doesn’t pull more than 300W. My bike charger is around 100W, so I should have plenty of power left over for plugging in my other devices at the same time if I was in a Get-out-of-Dodge situation.

The various DC ports are quite useful for smaller items. For me, that meant plugging in my drone batteries, phone, camera batteries, and other smaller devices.

The USB-C PD port offers 65W charging, meaning it can charge my MacBook Pro at the same rate as the wall charger it comes with.

Man, I love when these things have a USB-C PD port!

The dual USB-A ports are great for other devices that don’t need such high power charging. My headphone case and camera batteries made a perfect test case.

There’s even a wireless charger on the top of the device, which was great for charging my phone while freeing up the USB ports for more devices.

issomi power station

There’s also a neat flip-down light that is surprisingly bright.

If you’re considering the Issomi for use as an emergency backup battery, a directable light is a very nice feature to have.

Not only does it throw some serious illumination, but you can actually flip it down and angle it on whatever you need to shine it on.

Being able to save your phone battery in an emergency by not using it as a flashlight is a serious benefit when you’re on limited charge.

The only thing that I found to be odd was just how tight the rubber covers were on each of the port sections. They were actually a bit hard for me to open, though I don’t really have much in the way of fingernails to work with.

Struggling to open one of them reminded me of the time in high school geometry class when I dropped a protractor on the floor and several of us dudes couldn’t pick it up to save our lives. A female student with fingernails had to pick it up for us after we were all defeated by the beveled edge.

Here too, I had to struggle with a couple of the little doors to get them to open since the little rubber nub is so tiny and doesn’t offer much purchase for a round, stubby fingertip. I actually popped open my knife to grab the tiny little rubber flap handle on one of them.

But with determination, I was mostly able to get them without bringing in any other tools into the equation. And I assume the rubber doors are designed to be that tight to give it a bit more weather resistance in case a slight sprinkling were to occur. It is designed for outdoor use such as camping, after all.

With a current price of $249 on Amazon and a coupon you can clip to take $50 off directly on the product page, this seems like a darn good deal to me.

Portable backup batteries are not cheap, and I’ve tested some that go into the thousands of dollars. But to get some serious functionality for $200 offers some real value.

And the first time you plug in an AC device when you’re in the middle of a field, hundreds of feet from the nearest wall outlet, you’ll realize what an awesome power that is to have at your disposal!


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