I can't blame Jackery for positioning the promotion of its flagship solar generator at IFA 2022 in Berlin next to a giant RV camper mock-up. That's the pitch: Buy a solar generator and take it camping.
Enough with the camping song and dance. We all know what these environmentally-friendly power-source devices are increasingly becoming about: They're tools for survival.
Think I'm kidding? Look at the headlines. Floods, fires and hurricanes. Power outages are constantly with us. We need reliable power and not to rely on fossil fuel-powered systems.
These were the thoughts racing through my mind as I watched Jackery's European head of marketing Ricky Ma explain the explosion in camping and other outward-bound activities during the pandemic and his 10-year-old company's development of an array of solar-powered generators, panels, and other earth-friendly technologies (including an adorable, electricity-generating personal windmill).
But the star of this show (and it was a show, with break dancers and a German chanteuse expertly singing popular American tunes) was the new Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro.
I've seen my share of portable solar panels, though I will say Jackery's are lighter and more stylish than most, but not many solar-powered generators. This one certainly has some impressive specs:
- 1002 wh capacity
- 230V, Dual Power Delivery of 100W
- Quick Charge
- USB-C ports
- AC-charging option
More importantly, though, the portable box can charge in under two hours using four of Jackery's solar charging panels. Jackery told us that this works even on a cloudy day.
Is it also heavy? Yes. I grabbed the 25-lb (11.3 kg) box and was surprised by its heft. I would not want to carry it up into the mountains. However, putting it outside my home after losing power during a blackout, brownout, or hurricane? Absolutely.
Is it bulky? At 13-in. x 10-in. x 10-in., yep. Though, I was tickled by the image Jackery showed of someone using the bread-box-sized generator on their nightstand. I think I might prefer to connect the generator to an extension cord.
At 46 decibels, the Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Pro is about half as loud as a diesel generator, but it's not silent.
At $1,299 (£1,120, $1,900 AU), it's also at least double the price of a fossil-fuel-powered generator and that doesn't include the cost of the solar panels, which will probably run you a few hundred dollars each.
On the other hand, fuel prices are still sky high and in a disaster, diesel and gas can be hard to come by. Sunlight? Usually, it's in plentiful supply.
As I walk the halls of IFA in Berlin and companies talk about sustainable and earth friendly-gadgets, I see the subtext. The earth is a mess and we need to protect not just our pocketbooks from pricy energy costs, but ourselves from an unpredictable world.
You won't hear companies like Jackery pitching their products with tag lines like "Prepare for the worst!" or "At least you'll still have power!" but they have to know what we're thinking. I know what I am and I might just prepare by buying a solar-powered generator.
IFA 2022 is Europe's biggest tech show, and TechRadar is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and announcements, plus our hands-on first impressions of the new TVs, wearables, audio devices, and other gadgets on show.