Enerplex is a division of Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. Ascent is known for its highly efficient thin-film solar modules (otherwise known as CIGS (copper Iridium Gallium (di)Selenium). Enerplex brand products include portable solar battery chargers as well as battery packs for mobile devices.
When EnerPlex came up with the brilliant idea of combining an iPhone 5/5s battery case with their solar panels for recharge capabilities, they had hit on a jackpot.
Integrating a CIGS thin solar panel with a battery pack case is an ideal solution to satisfying the energy-sapping vampires that are characteristic of mobile devices.
Gizmo Scoop was provided a sample EnerPlex Surfr device to review during CES 2014. It must be noted that the device was a pre-production model and was not due for retail for another 6-8 months. Due to confidentiality reasons, Gizmo Scoop did not write a public review until the product was launched to the public. However, Gizmo Scoop did provide EnerPlex feedback on the device.
Gizmo Scoop editors used the device for a period of 8 months. During this time, the build quality of the device deteriorated. The glue holding the outer ‘blue’ ring wore down. Eventually, the inserts that correspond to the buttons on the iPhone fell out. The editors super glued the trim ring of the case back but eventually other sections of the trim ring glue deteriorated. At this point, Gizmo Scoop editors decided that the build quality issues of the device have to be addressed and contacted EnerPlex.
Outside of the trim ring issue, the device actually worked like promised. The battery life is rated 80% of an iPhone 5s battery (thus recharging your phone from 20% to 100%). The sound quality of the phone was great and the overall build quality of the case is excellent. The solar panel was the only issue. The manufacturer’s claim of 15 minutes of talk time per hour of recharge was only good if the phone was left in direct sunlight or close enough to direct sunlight. Leaving the phone in the hot sun seemed to drain the battery faster. We noted the case would not charge in office or artificial lighting. This may be an issue with CIGS panels.
Overall we were very pleased with the device. It is our understanding that EnerPlex fixed the trim ring issues and the product is now available for retail purchase. The device is a good competitor to Mophie and PhoneSuit.
If you would like to purchase a EnerPlex Surfr, follow our link to Amazon.