iLand FLY Solar USB Charger Review
Late last year, blacksheepwarrior.com was contacted by a representative from iLand Solar Green Technologies and offered a chance to play with their FLY portable USB charging solar panel.
Being the inquisitive person that I am, I readily agreed to give it a try and here is what I found out!
How the iLand FLY Works:
In a nutshell, the iLand FLY USB solar charger converts solar energy into electricity (2.6 W) and transfers it to a 2100 mAh battery pack. The user then charges their device from the battery pack utilizing the supplied connectors or their own device cable.
The Solar Panel:
The iLand FLY solar panel contains 4 glass-free amorphous silicon solar panels that are encased in a thin, water and dust resistant outer layer. The outside, which is transparent, exposing the four panels to the light source. According to iLand, the solar panels are “shadow tolerant” and are not affected by temperature.
The main body of the panel is flexible, and our testing did not show any lack of durability. The panel itself weighs in at about .3 Lbs. and folds down to approximately 9.25”x 3.75.” Unfolded, the solar panel stretches out to approximately 9.25” x 16.25”.
The panel features three eyelets that are used in conjunction with the three included bungee tie-down straps. The tie-down straps are really useful as they allow the user to strap the panel on a backpack or outside a vehicle, etc.
The other notable feature found on the solar panel is the USB port. The USB port is the same style found on most laptops and modern computers. It is, however, encased in a durable plastic housing and secured to the panel via four screws. The underside of the panel features a plate and the panel is sandwiched between the two layers of the housing.
One of the concerns that I have with this solution, is the fact that the USB receptacle doesn’t feature a dust cover or water resistant plug. A feature that will need to be addressed if the iLand FLY is going to be taken seriously by military professionals.
The iLand FLY Battery Pack:
The iLand FLY battery is a small 2100 mAh battery that is encased in an aluminum housing with green status LEDs.
The battery pack weighs a little under .2 lbs. and appears durable. However, like the USB receptacle, it doesn’t come with water and dust resistant port plugs. The battery, itself is capable of 1000mA output and operates on the DC 5V output current. Charging cycle life is > 1000 cycles and in my experience, it takes about 3-4 hours to fully charge.
As stated above, the battery pack features three green LED status lights that light up while the battery is being charged. Once the battery is fully charged, all three lights will indicate the full charge. While disconnected from the solar panel, the battery status lights are not lit but checking the charge status can still be accomplished easily by depressing a silver button on the battery pack.
I, along withs several other reviewers, tested out the panel under a number of conditions ranging from high altitude snow capped peaks to hot desert valleys. The iLand FLY worked as expected and held up to the rough use that was thrown at it. During one outing, I actually strapped the panel to the back of my assault pack, using the provided bungee tie downs. The panel continued to charge without issues.
The battery pack managed to charge my iPhone 5 to approximately 60% from a very dead state.
The whole kit included the panel, battery, cables and connectors, and all of the kit was included in my daily go bag as well as my assault pack for some time. I wanted to make sure that not only would the iLand Solar FLY charge as advertised but that it would also take the passive abuse during storage and transportation.
iLand Solar Green Technologies states that the FLY was designed for military use and while we can envision many military and law enforcement uses, we still feel that there needs to be some improvements made before it will be up to the task.
First and foremost, we would suggest that water and dust resistant plugs be integrated to both the battery and the panels cable connector ports. Secondly, the battery compartment would benefit from a shock proof case and more discrete LED indicator lights.
Finally, the whole kit would benefit from a more condensed part list, maybe by integrating the battery and cable and eliminating the numerous device connectors.
Aside from the suggested improvements above, it would be nice to see the iLand FLY components being built in Switzerland where iLand Green Technologies is based (currently made in China). With that being said, I really liked the light-weight approach and durability of the panel itself. The iLand FLY Solar USB charger worked as advertised and is going to be a great product for outdoor enthusiasts and light LE/Military use.
Where to buy it: