The hit TV series Game of Thrones popularised the phrase, “Winter is coming”, as a slogan for preparing for a harsh future. With dire warnings of loadshedding expected to worsen in South Africa this winter, it could not be more appropriate.
Both in the noisy and violent finale of the series and the depressing silence of electricity shutting down – give or take the sound of generators kicking in – survival comes down to one word: preparation.
For both load-shedding and unexpected power outages – like when the power doesn’t come back on for another few hours – one of the great challenges of the working South African is to remain productive. The most effective solution, if one doesn’t have the budget to install solar power, is a portable power station. Various models have been available for some time but, lately, we have seen dramatic improvements in readily available options.
Now, there is another big name in portable power stations in South Africa: BLUETTI, founded in 2019 and headquartered in Las Vegas, has quickly become a global market leader in energy storage, thanks to setting a new bar for portability, versatility, and elegance.
The new Bluetti EB3A Portable Power Station stands out in this regard and allows one to prepare for power outages in the home and office, or for lack of power outdoors..
First, the specs: it is a 600W AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter, meaning it can continually power any device requiring up to 600 Watts of power, including desktop and laptop computers, TVs, smartphones, Wi-Fi access points, drones, gaming consoles and, yes, portable powerbanks. It allows up to 1200W surge, meaning it can handle a brief increase in power draw, such as when a device starts up, or is under heavy load, such as a computer powering up, or a mini-fridge switching on.
Its 268Wh capacity is enough to power anything from laptops, tablets, and smartphones to cameras and lights. It will cope with a bar-fridge, as long as other devices aren’t connected at the same time.
It allows for charging via the AC electricity mains, solar, car, and generator, as well as combinations of AC+ and solar, and AC and adapter. Its LiFePO4 battery comes with a promise of more than 2,500+ Life Cycles, the number of times it can be charged and discharged, before it loses 80% of its capacity.
Most significantly, it has 8 outputs for charging multiple devices at once. Its array of ports includes two AC outlets (120V, 60Hz), two USB-A ports (5V, 2.4A), one USB-C port (100W), and one 12V DC car outlet.
One feature truly stands out, since we have never seen it on portable power station before: a 15W wireless charging pad on top of the unit.
We kept two laptops and two smartphones charged and running for more than four hours, which drained the unit to just over 50%. That means it would have kept us going got a full working day if needed.
That is a major selling point in its own right but, as they say, there’s more.
It’s the most elegant portable power station we’ve used, with a fold-out handle that gives it the look and feel of an old-time portable radio. A digital display provides a clear indicator of charge level, input, and output. A yellow globe alongside the display offers emergency light, with its own power button that allows one to select both constant light and flashing light for emergency situations.
That tells us the device is ideal for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities., as well as for powering a small office or the entertainment needs of a family. A mobile app provides a useful dashboard and monitor for the device, which supports Bluetooth connectivity to smartphones.
Need to prepare for winter? The BLUETTI EB3A Portable Power Station is a winner for its compact size, lightweight design, and versatile and dependable performance.
What does it cost?
R 7,999 at za.bluettipower.com/products/bluetti-eb3a-portable-power-station
Why should you care?
The BLUETTI EB3A Portable Power Station is a versatile and powerful power source that can be used in a variety of situations, both indoors and outdoors. It is a great option for anyone looking for a portable, long-lasting, and reliable power source.
What are the biggest negatives?
- It is not going to run your fridge or air fryer, but then it is not intended for those.
- The fan gets a little noisy while its recharging, although it is silent in normal operation.
What are the biggest positives?
- It looks great, is compact and readily portable.
- Multiple charging ports along with flexible capacity makes for wide device compatibility.
- It is exceptionally versatile, and can be recharged from tegular electricity supply, solar panels and car batteries.
* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee