Suaoki has been in the race for the best portable solar generator for sometime now.
As a matter of fact, as long as I can remember.
It is thus a company that I have watched with interest and seen it grow in the business of ensuring that we all have portable solar power – when we actually need it.
Its creation, the Suaoki G500 500Wh Portable Solar Generator, on the other hand, is a unit that has intrigued me ever since it was launched sometimes back.
The special interest I have in this model of Suaoki is inspired by the fact that it shares a name with one SUV that has been my favorite since I was a kid: the Mercedes Benz G500.
Like the Mercedes SUV, will this solar power station prove to be as strong and as reliable? Will it possess the ‘go anywhere’ ability the SUV commands?
Going by its boxy frame – and considering my inherent love for the G-Wagen – I suspect it will.
However, in the portable solar world, nothing is fixed and most things are not as they appear – at least on face value.
This is why, today, I decided to stop the admiration and come closer with the intent to take a professional (good) look and relay my opinion to the world.
The result (you have my word) will be a super thorough review that will detail the good, include the bad and garnish the ugly – if found.
Without further ado, let’s begin!
First Impression Of The Suaoki G500 500Wh Portable Solar Generator
Unlike other portable solar power stations that give non-techie folks a time of their lives when they try to unravel what they are, the G500 does exactly the opposite.
Thanks to a ‘body on frame’ construction and boxy look, most non-techie onlookers easily manage to guess what the G500 solar power station is without much ado.
For the others who do not get the guess on the first try, they still manage to come pretty close – in their submissions.
Many have held that it is sort of generator – gasoline or inverter – all thanks to its all baring design that leaves nothing to the imagination and importantly, seeks to make a statement – and fast too.
The few who, on first sight, got the unit wrong, also did an amazing job trying to figure it out – at least, when compared to the other portable solar generators that I have reviewed in the past.
This, in itself, is refreshing. Importantly, it is also a testament that the folks who actually oversaw this design knew exactly what they were doing as this and subsequent events prove.
For the professional however, the first look brings to mind a resemblance the G500 bears to the classic Goal Zero Yeti Lithium line of portable solar generators.
With the units from Goal Zero and their image firmly ingrained in memory, it is no wonder that, recognizing this option from Suaoki isn’t any task that can be considered uphill.
This resemblance with the Goal Zero Yeti Lithium series is slight, however, it still is strong and perhaps, that remains the ultimate reason the majority of the non-techie folks got to correctly identify the unit.
The bare-resemblance with the Goal Zero offering is curious: the Suaoki G500 500Wh Portable Solar Generator, in its own capacity, also closely resembles the legendary G-Wagen, all thanks to its boxy rendering.
This combination of similarities between two well loved and respected brands gives the unit a visual presence that combines the best of two worlds and fortunately, leaves the G500 with a design reality that both Goal Zero and Mercedes cannot (read: have not yet) match(ed).
What Can The Suaoki Solar Generator Power?
The G-Wagen, the legendary SUV which I have held this solar generator resembles in a strange way is an incredibly capable offroad beast. It is the type of SUV you would want to be in when the apocalypse happens.
The Suaoki G500, on the other hand, is a unit that boosts 500Wh of power, with a battery that is rated at 137.7Ah – an impressive battery capacity for both the size of the unit and its retail price point.
With these specs, hopes are high – naturally.
However, with portable solar units however, the smartest (and surest) way to find out actual capacity is to connect a plug (or USB) to them and watch them do their thing.
This is how our ‘G Class’ performs:
- A mini cooler for about 9 hours.
- A smartphone for over 40 recharges.
- A plasma TV for about 3 hours.
- A traditional laptop for over 5 recharges.
Please, kindly note that the gadgets and devices mentioned here are not exhaustive neither do they project the full majesty of this Suaoki.
To be more elaborate and encompassing, the Suaoki G500 500Wh Portable Solar Generator can brilliantly power any small (or average sized) gadget that is rated under 300 Watts.
However, the runtime of such gadgets and units will largely depend on their respective power requirement, their models and the exact manner in which they draw and expend power.
It is also a smart thing to remember that, even for the electronics specifically mentioned above, actual results may vary slightly – given the fact that electronics are not all rated the same in energy requirement and consumption.
These are all smart and very important things to remember.
Key Specifications And Features
To get to know and appreciate any portable solar station, you’ve got to understand what it offers by way of its specs and features.
Traditionally, techies are inclined to specifications and all others are more bothered about features.
However, despite the divide you, getting both the numbers and the whistles can both be a smart and intelligent thing to do before you actually part with your money.
Here is what the G500 looks like, in detail:
- Dimension: 11 x 7.5 x 8.3 inches.
- Battery type: Lithium-ion.
- Battery capacity: 500Wh (137.7Ah at 3.7V).
- AC output: 110V, 300W (600W peak).
- DC output: 12V, 3A , 72 Watts X2.
- USB outputs (3): 5~12V/3A (QC 3.0) 18W Max.
- Solar charging: panel size – 21.5 x 1.2 x 21.3 inches; solar panel capacity – (100W,14-40V, 10A Max).
- Weight: 15 lb.
- Lithium ion battery with an appreciable battery shelve life.
- An impressive Wh to generator size ratio.
- 24 months product warranty and 24/7 customer care service.
- 3 USB ports of varying amperage to ensure devices plugged to the unit charge as fast as they can.
- A visually pleasing design.
- A true hybrid charging reality.
- LCD – one that displays all the vital generator stats.
Weight, Noise And Runtime Analysis Of The Suaoki 500Wh Portable Solar Power Station
A few years ago, a heavy solar generator was practically worshiped for a reason that wasn’t far fetched: weight. More weight then equals more power and more power literally translated to better run time.
Simple. Short and brutally straight to the point.
That was before the advent of the lithium ion battery variant for these power stations.
With lithium ion batteries today, the reverse of what was obtainable in the past now holds true: the lighter a portable power station, the better. Afterall, weight and power can now appear in the same sentence, so far as these units are concerned.
It is with this mindset that I rate this generator.
At 15 lb, the unit is not the lightest in its class – there are other lighter models like the Kalisaya KP601 – a model that gives you more power for a pound or so weight less than the G500.
Nevertheless, this generator is still light enough to be held with one hand an even ensure a trek with it. If you’re super fit and healthy, getting the unit up a flight of stairs in one hand, unassisted should also not be a challenge.
In the weight metric, I score the generator a pass mark.
In terms of noise, this solar power station is as easy on the ears as a traditional solar power station is expected to be.
This means that, using the G500 in a normal working environment, no sound is bound to be perceived.
If you’re looking for anything remotely related to noise, you’ll need to wait for the dead of the night when everything is still – and a pin drop can be heard.
During such times, it is easy to hear the cooling fan working – in a manner a traditional laptop does it thing. If you’re not usually bothered about the noise the fan of your laptop makes (when it’s working perfectly fine), you’re certain not to even notice the fan operation on this unit.
Noisewise, I score this portable solar generator an excellent rating.
Finally, runtime. With the ability to handle smartphones, TVs, laptops all the way to juice extractors, the 500Wh of power that this generator demonstrates is certainly amazing – and a joy to behold; especially given its price point and other side attractions such as its relative lightweight reality.
Capable of charging a plethora of devices, across board, over and over again without needing a recharge itself is an attribute many other portable solar generators need to emulate from Suaoki in general and the G500 in particular.
Without further ado, my verdict: excellent!
What You Should Understand Before Considering The Suaoki 500Wh Portable Power Station
The Suaoki G500 500Wh Portable Solar Generator looks tough and like the Mercedes G-Wagen, appears capable of handling anything thrown at it both weather and load wise.
If you have this cute idea, it would be a smart thing to disband it now – and face the cold, hard truth.
Though a ‘monster’ in its own unique manner, this Suaoki cannot and should not be made to handle everything from load to the weather.
First of, the capacity of this unit is rated at 300 Watts with a surge of 600. Anything rated beyond this will simply not fly.
If you’re interested in some badass power, kindly take a look at something designed to handle that. A perfect example is the Goal Zero Yeti 3000 lithium.
More importantly, as tough as this generator looks, it isn’t weather-proof. Don’t be thus fooled by its looks and attempt to unduly expose it to the elements like you would the legendary 4X4.
Kindly keep these two realities in mind as you consider this portable solar power station.
Charging Means & Times Of The Suaoki G500 500Wh Portable Solar Generator
The portable solar power station has many things to love. However, top on this list is the hybrid charging reality that comes standard with most of the options available today.
The reality of actually having a plethora of options to ‘refuel’ is one that is difficult to shrug off.
In this regard, the G500 is no different and comes fully loaded with 3 solid charging options:
- AC &
As it is customary, the solar charging option is top on the list here and primarily, is the option that excites me most, given the reality of both its portability and convenience.
It is also the preferred charging option for most users today.
Going the solar charging route is simple enough: place the recommended 100W solar panel in the sun, plug it in and the generator does its business.
The time this takes? An impressive 6-8 hours, depending on the intensity of the sun and the actual placement of the panel to smartly track solar rays.
This time frame, for solar charging, is one of the very best in the portable solar generator world. Not many options can compete or provide better figures.
AC wise, the unit comes with an AC power adapter that when plugged in, fully recharges the generator from a flat state to 100% in about 10 hours.
While this is ok, it is my sincere belief that this figures can be better, especially, given the fact that the solar charging option charges in as little a time as 6 hours.
The magic (to speed things up the AC route) would have been a simple improvement in the output of the charger.
Still, at 10 hours (for a full charge), this solar generator (yet still) performs way better than most options – even comparable models from more popular brands.
Now, if you are a regular reader of my work here, you’ll understand one thing: I passionately hate the 12V DC charging option for portable solar power stations.
The reason, of course, isn’t far fetched: they take forever.
However, the Suaoki G500 500Wh Portable Solar Generator brings an interesting edge to the game that it is worth a look – even by me. The unit gets to charge by this means in a mere 8 hours!
The implication of this is simple and straight to the point: if you’re travelling on a long road trip, you can easily juice up things well before you round up your road trip and arrive at your destination.
Isn’t that plain cool?
Who know? I’m already falling in love!
Compatible Solar Panel For The Suaoki 500Wh Portable Solar Generator
The G500 solar power station is primarily a solar powered portable generator.
However, the solar panel that will fully enable this function isn’t included in the box – you’ll need to buy this separately (the cable for the connection is however included).
Now, the specifications of this compatible solar panel are simple – and straight to the point: an MC4 compliant solar charging cable – which should ideally output about 100W.
Now, there are many solar panels (foldable and non-foldable) that meet this spec; you’re free to choose from any of them to achieve your solar charging reality with this generator.
However, Suaoki specifically recommends the Suaoki 100W Portable Foldable Solar Panel.
The reason for this special recommendation? It is from the stables of Suaoki directly.
What this means is that, when you opt for panel, you aren’t going to be bothered with thoughts of whether or not you actually got the correct panel or the reality of whether or not it will serve you well in the months and years to come.
You will also be rest assured that you’re buying something made awesomely – which will mean that you’ll not be bothering about failure or a replacement soon.
Special Feature(s) Worthy Of Note
The USB Type-C or simply, USB-C is an emerging standard in the world of USB and their connections thereof.
Currently, there are a plethora of USB types right from ‘A’ to other options that it is difficult to track or understand till you have a device that actually demands it (or a plugged in adapter) to function.
This can be frustrating – to say the least.
To put this into perspective, imagine needing a separate USB connection for your printer, another separate one for your smartphone, a third for your external hard drive and yet, a fourth for your new MacBook or ChromeBook Pixel.
With the new Type-C USB port that is standard on this solar power station, you’ll have the benefit of charging newer devices that come with this USB type (without the need for an adapter) and more importantly, would not need to upgrade your generator when the much awaited unification of all USB plugs and ports (across devices) to Type-C happens.
Pros And Cons
No matter how awesome something is, it would certainly have disadvantages. That is the way of the world and ultimately, the manner all things work.
Now, the G500 from Suaoki isn’t any different and below are its pros and cons:
- Fast charging (especially with the solar option at a mere 6 hours).
- Hybrid charging reality with a DC charging option that actually works 🙂
- Novel USB Type-C port integration.
- Built-on overload and overcharging protection features.
- Smart LCD that displays all the vital generator stats.
- Auto power off feature that sees the generator power itself off after about 10 minutes of idleness (to save power).
- An excellent price in comparison to close competitors from other (equally established) brands.
- There is no standard carry bag for this generator.
- The G500 portable power station, unlike the G-Wagen, isn’t weather proof 🙂
The Suaoki G500 is a practical solar power station that will certainly serve you through an emergency and everyday, from task to task.
The only caveat here is that, though this generator appears to be as tough as the Mercedes G-Wagen it shares name with, it has 2 major limitations – ones you should be comfortable with before buying; these limitations being lack of a carry bag and the fact that the unit isn’t weather-proof.
If you’re ok with this, then, in my professional estimation, the unit can be deployed to serve – in the most brilliant of manners.
However, you don’t need to take my words for it: head over to Amazon and see what other buyers (and users) are saying about the Suaoki G500 500Wh Portable Solar Generator and then, like a true informed buyer, decide for yourself.
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