Portable power is a relatively new phenomenon, but one that everyone seems to agree makes sense.
The PNY The Outdoor Charger is a tough go-anywhere power bank designed with the outdoorsy action camera user in mind.
Its size and weight are more than other similar capacity power packs, but that’s all part of the design and ensures that it stays safe when out on the trail.
Getting started with charging is simple, plug in, hit the power button, and you’re away. It even features a powerful light if you need some illumination when you’re out for a night hike.
If you go out and about and need reserve power for USB charging, you really can’t go wrong with the PNY The Outdoor Charger.
PNY is a powerhouse when it comes to computer peripherals, with a massive catalogue of products; from graphics cards, to flash memory and solid-state drives.
PNY memory cards have been pushing the limits of speed and capacity for years, so it’s great to see the company branching out and starting to look at a few accessories tailored for the action camera market.
Powering this new line-up is a portable battery charger that has been designed to charge your smartphone or action camera while out and about.
Made for the outdoors
The new Outdoor Charger instantly reveals that’s it’s been designed for the active life. There’s none of the usual sleek and slim power pack style that’s so common with these chargers.
Instead, the outer shell is tough, and the whole device has a high quality feel that’s reassuring. You instantly know that it’s going to withstand a knock or two and it’s not going to matter too much if you get caught in a rain shower.
The Outdoor charger features a shock-resistant shell, 2.1A USB output, 2A Micro-USB output, built-in flashlight and a protective rubber cap that helps to ensure the USB ports remain protected from rain and water splashes.
The battery’s technical specifications show that this is a 7800mAh Lithium-Ion pack with an input of 5 Volt DC – 2000mA and output 5 Volt DC – 2100mA.
Sizewise, it’s comparable with a pack of playing cards at 96 x 72 x 27mm, at least those are my measurements with an old school ruler, and it weighs in at 225g.
Designed with outdoor use and action cameras in mind, the power pack has features a hook built into the side of the body. This can be used with the included carabiner to tether the charger to the side of a bag or belt so it doesn’t accidentally get lost.
Handling out in the field
Power packs are relatively new, and the capacities have been steadily increasing, from just providing a single charge to these days averaging around four charges for the ‘average mobile’.
PNY quotes four full smartphone charges, and being an iPhone 6 owner it’s been tested with this.
Before starting out with the PowerPack it needs a full charge, but it comes part-charged with two of the lights illuminating, 40% is the recommended storage charge for lithium ion.
The charge time for the pack will vary depending on how you charge it; with the direct USB to the household mains being the fastest route, car slightly slower and solar panel slower still (if at all).
The charge of the pack is highlighted by the illumination of four small lights next to the power button. These lights also show how much charge remains in the pack, so it’s all very easy to understand.
Once the pack is charged, you can throw it in your bag. The robust design is reassuring, and the device feels like it’s more than capable of withstanding a knock or two.
The outside of the pack is two-toned and textured, with a blue interior and hard rubberised plastic exterior. This design enables you to get a good purchase, so there’s little chance of you accidentally dropping it.
There’s the Micro-USB port for charging the pack while the standard USB is used to plug in your action camera or phone. A rubber flap helps to protect the two ports.
Once the cable is attached, you can then hit the power button to start charging your camera or phone.
Another nice feature is the built-in flashlight; when activated, by holding down the power button for a few seconds. The light thrown is bright and more than enough to be used as a torch for when out on a night hike.
PNY The Outdoor Charger Verdict
Finding a niche is essential and the PNY The Outdoor Charger has done precisely that.
Other outdoor chargers do a similar job, but PNY has created a compact, robust powerpack that can be relied on.
I like the simple design, and during the test, I used the pack to recharge my phone and a variety of cameras including the GoPro Hero 6 Black, Isaw Touch and Yi 4K+, all of which recharged fully.
There were also a couple of occasions when I ventured out with the pack to use it as a flashlight, and again it was perfectly good. There’s no ability to focus, but it threw plenty of light of light so I was able to find my way.
If you’re in the market for a portable power source, then I would highly recommend PNY’s The Outdoor Charger.
For more details check out the PNY website