PowerFilm F16-1200 20w ReviewNovember 22, 2016
- Excellent power output
- Outstanding durability
- High power/weight ratio
- Outstanding versatility
- Broad range of adapters
- Relatively high cost
The PowerFilm F16-1200 20w delivers excellent power output and charging speeds, and is extremely durable. Additional converters and adapters also make the PowerFilm F16-1200 highly versatile. The PowerFilm F16’s has a relatively large footprint when deployed (31.7" x 30”), but it’s thin, flexible material packs down to a fairly small size but is rather pricy.
PowerFilm’s F16-1200 20w charges devices quickly and delivers excellent power output. In trials with our test smartphone, the PowerFilm F16-1200 generated an average of 3.93 volts, and charged 1% of our test smartphone every 1 minute and 26 seconds — enough to tie for second place among all portable solar chargers reviewed. With an optional converter box, PowerFilm’s F16-1200 is also capable of powering both 12V and 19V devices.
Measuring over 31.7” long and 30” wide, PowerFilm’s F16-1200 easily had the largest footprint of any portable solar charger we tested. Despite it’s size when deployed, however, the F16-1200 still manages to be considerably lighter, more flexible, and occupies significantly less space when packed than competing devices such as the EnerPlex Commandr 20. While the PowerFilm F16-1200 may not have taken first place in our tests to charge a smartphone, it should be noted that the PowerFilm is in an entirely separate class of more versatile solar chargers capable of powering higher wattage (12V; 19V) devices.
All PowerFilm panels are designed for the US military, and durability for the PowerFilm F16-1200 is outstanding. Unlike most other chargers, the solar cells on the F16-1200 are placed directly onto an extremely durable, synthetic canvas backing. This allows the panels and the entire charger to be flexible, lightweight, and extremely rugged. In our tests, the panels withstood impact strikes from a hammer of approximately 15 and 30 pounds force without any real damage or impairment. The panels and entire charger also withstood well beyond 180 degrees of twisting and torsion.
Unlike many of the smaller portable solar charges tested, the PowerFilm F16-1200 is extremely versatile and capable of powering USB, 12V, 19V, and nearly any other device with the addition of a converter box and adapters.
At $267, the PowerFilm F16-1200 was one of the more expensive portable chargers we tested and was nearly seven times the price of the faster and considerably smaller Renogy 14w E-FLEX. That said, it is must also be noted again that the PowerFilm lies in an entirely separate class of solar chargers that are also capable of powering larger 12V and 19V devices. Factoring the PowerFilm F16-1200’s versatility, features, and military-grade durability, the F16-1200 is actually an excellent buy for a broad range of solar needs.
Dave Thibodeau- Contributor
Dave Thibodeau is a veteran world traveler who tests travel apparel for the Gear Institute.