On Monday we featured what I call a “no-brainer” deal on the “GRDE Explorer 10,000mAh Solar Dual-USB Charger bundled with 2 Mini Lamps“. Coupon code RMAM2NIL still (hurry!) drops it $5.55 to just $12.94 Prime shipped. My rationale for picking this up even though I already have a ton of USB batteries…

It is a mouthful but let me go “ShamWow” on you real quick. At $13, a 10,000mAh dual USB 2A battery is a great deal. But this one is waterproof-ish and rugged too. Plus it has a built in LED light and LED battery indicator. And it has a solar panel on it so you can keep it charged with the sun. That would be a great deal for $13. But “if you act now”, they will throw in 2 USB lamps which you can use on your laptop too (nice if you don’t have backlit keys). At $13, this is a no brainer. I’m buying it just for the USB LED lights they are throwing in – which usually cost more than $13 by themselves.

Well it did indeed arrive yesterday and I immediately put it to work (it came 3/4 charged) as a lamp for reading a story to my 4-year old at night. Now the light those little USB lamps give off is kind of on the blue side, but it works a treat. In fact they are so bright, I unplugged one of them and it was plenty enough to read a few stories. Both USB lights will almost light up an entire room.

As far as solar charging, I didn’t have time to get real scientific and it is extremely rainy today in the New York area so I’m just going to say it’s probably enough to keep it from going dead. Solar panels this big are mostly a gimmick anyway – if you want meaningful solar charging, you should get something bigger.

It also charges phones via the two USB ports fairly well. The 2A port was barely quick-charging my iPhone, while the 1A port was keeping my UE Roll from dying this morning.

The fit and finish on here is just fine and frankly much better than I expected for $13. I wouldn’t call this super rugged or even trust it to drop in the water but it can probably take a few drops and splashes.

Solar-battery-usb-lights

What I bought it for: The USB lamps – I’ve seen for about $10 ea and I’ve wanted one ever since my seatmate was using one on red-eye back from CES. It’s the perfect amount of light, the perfect form factor – bendy necks – and at what I’d consider a great deal. Usually these USB lights go for about $6-$7 each so this is pretty much a free battery for me.

So if you had any reservations before, let me assure you that this is a nice setup for $13 or even the $18 after coupon expires. The only thing I’d hesitate on is the speed of charging, which is barely 2A when other solutions out there are 2.4A and even higher. 

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