Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Gear Closet: Jackery Explorer 200 Portable Power Station Review

The options for taking portable power with us on our journeys continue to grow, become more efficient, and more specialized. In the past, it was possible to take a generator of some kind with us into the field, but often times they were heavy, bulky, and unwieldy. Today, we have lightweight options that still manage to pack a lot of power, keeping our ever-expanding list of electronic devices functioning while on the road.

One company that has been at the forefront of this revolution for sometime is Jackery. They make a host of products that provide portable power, including small, lightweight models for smartphones an tablets, as well as larger options for laptops, small appliances, and other devices. They even make lightweight solar panels for gathering power from the sun while on the go too. But the company's latest offering is a unique portable power station designed specifically with drone users in mind, although it is versatile enough to go well beyond that too.

The new Explorer 200 looks a bit different than most other portable generators on the market, using a flat, compact design, that actually makes it easier to carry and store. It also allows it to sit on a variety of surfaces with more stability, which is a big plus if you've ever had to use one of these devices in a remote area.

The Explorer 200 offers 200 watt-hour of power capacity and comes with a number of charging ports. The device features two standard USB ports, as well as a USB-C port for keeping mobile devices and other items charged on the go. It also includes a 12-vold DC port – the same as the one found in your car – that adds a lot of versatility to the power pack.

The DC port allows users to plug in a wide variety of items, as many products use this type of port to collect power while in a vehicle. But the Explorer 200 allows you to bring those items with you to the campsite, backyard, workspace, or wherever else you go. And you can even plug in an inverter to extend functionality even further, giving you the ability to charge a laptop or virtually any other electronic device.

When Jackery designed the Explorer 200 it was specifically with drone users in mind. This portable power station is perfect for recharging batteries in the field and keeping your done up and running longer. While UAVs are great tools for adventure photographers and filmmakers in particular, their battery life isn't the best. Finding ways to keep them in flight while in remote areas can be a challenge, but this device offers everything you need to extend flight time and keep working. It's small, relatively compact size (210 x 161 x 48mm / 8.2” x 6.3” x 1.9") helps facilitate that, as does its 5.1 pound (2.35 kg) weight. That might sound like a lot, but compared to other power packs, that's relatively svelte.

The Explorer 200 is built like a tank and can take plenty of punishment. It has an extremely solid feel, making it easy to recommend for use in the outdoors. While it isn't completely waterproof, it is "splash proof," meaning it can survive the rain and being in close proximity to water, you just don't want to completely immerse it.

Other nice features include an LCD screen that provides users with a read-out of the current battery level at a glance. The Explorer 200 also comes with built in surge and short circuit protection to help keep your electronics safe. The power station is compatible with Jackery's 50-watt solar panel as well, allowing for recharges while in the field. The company even ships it with an excellent carrying case that holds all of the cables and instruction manual.

Priced at $299, the Jackery Explorer 200 is a great option for the mobile professional who need to keep his or her electronic gear functioning no matter where they go. It is compact, well-built, and offers a lot of versatility and functionality. If you're in need of just such a power station, this one will definitely fit the bill.

Buy the Jackery Explorer 200 at Amazon for just $199.

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