I recently wrote a quick overview of the HELIO, but I’d like to delve a little deeper. Solar technology received a huge push over the past few years and powerbanks are no exception. Unfortunately, this push included guilt tripping you into buying the product. But I’ll focus on HELIO and what it has to offer.
HELIO provides a powerbank and flashlight for outdoor and emergency purposes. Housing a 5,200 mAh battery, it can charge most phones multiple times. But the focus of this powerbank lies with its solar component. Solar charging works best with outdoor technology and HELIO checks these off the list.
The developers focused on making HELIO versatile. So it houses a large battery to power a 150 lumen light and charge your tech, all with a hanger for a suspended flashlight. It was also built small enough to put in your backpack while you hike. Additionally, you can recharge all that power using the sun.
So let’s get down to the setbacks of HELIO. Solar charging offers a green, off-the-grid power supply. However, solar charging is SLOW. While it charges in 6 hours via USB, it charges in 2 days with the solar panel. It takes eight times as long to charge up with the sun. This is a far cry from convenience or practicality.
Beyond that, it doesn’t fit in your pocket. The HELIO only works if you are taking it hiking or in a sizable bag. Most powerbanks are built to be super portable, but this powerbank appears bulky and inconvenient. The free market offers a lot of other options in much more compact sizes.
The bone I have to pick comes from the marketing campaign. Maybe it’s just me, but I hate being guilt tripped in a marketing campaign. The campaign pushes their slogan of 100% solar – 100% heart along with their call to action to help them provide solar lighting to those who need it. Maybe I lack a certain amount of compassion when looking at products, but GoFundMe offers services to help those in need. I’d be happy to support those in need, but I really want a good product without the emotional messaging.
Overall, HELIO offers little new. It pushes solar technology in a familiar way all housed in a powerbank that’s just too big. To make things worse, it costs $99 retail. I just can’t make myself excited about old technology and basic functionality. Let us know what you think about HELIO in the comments below!
HELIO launched on Kickstarter with $25,000 raised and 46 days left.