When I first opened the 4,000 mAh Rutherford promotional power bank, my first thought was that this is an awesome piece. The feature that immediately catches your eye is the solar panel taking up nearly a whole side. In addition, it is lightweight, relative to some of our other power banks the same size.
As usual, I fully charged the Rutherford power bank before using it the first time. Out of the box it took only an hour and a quarter to fully charge, using the USB cable with a wall outlet. Once fully discharged, it took four hours and ten minutes to recharge fully. Charging progress is shown through a series of four lights. When you first plug it in, the first blue light starts flashing. Eventually, this light turns solid and a second flashes. When the fourth blue light stays solid, you know that the Rutherford power bank is fully charged.
The first time I charged my phone (a Samsung Galaxy S4 with a 2,600 mAh battery) using the Rutherford branded power bank, it took one hour and forty-seven minutes to charge it ninety-five percent. After that, it was able to charge my phone fifty two percent in thirty-seven minutes. On average, the Rutherford was able to charge my phone one full time in an hour and three quarters and the second time it charged between forty-seven and fifty three percent in approximately thirty-five minutes. That seems pretty good for a 4,000 mAh power bank.
To show how much power is left in the power bank, the same four blue lights are utilized in reverse order.
The Rutherford has a solar panel for charging in sunlight. This is a great option to charge the Rutherford when on the road, but I don’t recommend using the solar panel as the exclusive means of charging it. This is due to the fact that, while it takes only four-ish hours to charge the power bank using a wall outlet, in the sun it takes approximately fifty hours. During the three weeks that I was testing it, it was the middle of the summer and we had nearly fourteen hours of sunlight a day. If I had kept it in the sun the entire time, it still would have taken more than three and a half days to fully charge. If cloudy days are included, it would take even longer to get a full charge.
Several other items I noted about the solar charging abilities:
This power bank was not designed with a carrying attachment. This means that in order to charge it while on a hike, I would need to hold it the entire time in my hand.
The most convenient location to charge the Rutherford promotional power bank in direct sunlight was the dashboard in my car. This leads me to my next issue – the casing is aluminum. The first time I left it in my car was for less than fifteen minutes. Despite this short amount of time, when I got back I was unable to hold it directly due to the heat of the metal. A plastic casing would have solved this issue.
On the other hands, the Rutherford did not require direct sunlight in order to charge. When sitting in a sunlit room, the blue (charging) light would start flashing. However, in the same room with indoor lighting and no sunlight, it would not charge.
Although the imprint area on this power bank is only .38” x 2”, I feel that it provides a great promotional value. The imprint is right above the solar panel. Every time someone sees the solar panel their eyes will be drawn to the logo right next to it. The uniqueness of the solar panel makes one look at it often, thereby taking in the logo as well.
As a power bank, this is a great, quality, lightweight piece. While the solar charging is a nice feature and certainly adds to its style and uniqueness, it could be improved on. Fortunately, this does not detract from the overall power of this branded power bank.