With loadshedding being the hot topic of the week (excuse the pun), there is some comfort in the fact there are more reliable brands available on the market for your power requirements. Whether you’re looking for a good power bank or a complete solar solution, the more visibility there is for quality products, the better informed the consumer is. We reviewed the Mini UPS from one of those trusted South African brands, Elecstor, a few weeks ago. This time around, we have another product that will prove to be helpful, especially this festive season – the Elecstor Core 314Wh Portable Power Station.
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Build and Design
The unit presents a diminutive figure but does much more than its size leads you to believe. In terms of its dimensions, it measures 255x100x200mm. This is quite a compact unit and can be stored away easily when not in use and when charging. Its compact size also makes it ideal for travel.
When you have limited capacity in your boot as you’re travelling this upcoming holiday season, there’s still plenty of room for the Elecstor Core 314Wh Portable Power Station. Unlike many portable power stations, it doesn’t have a squared design. Instead, its rectangular-shaped design makes it much easier between the bags and the rest of the luggage in the boot or under the seat.
Although it has a small frame, it is very solid. The unit weighs 3,4 KG. This is on par with the weight of larger units with the exact specifications. This is deceptive due to its size and sometimes feels heavier due to the weight distribution. However, this bulky build and rugged finish make for good viewing. It has a silver finish, a plastic polymer material for the case, and a metallic handle for a more durable finish. This adds to your ease of mind, knowing that the high wear-and-tear areas have a solid build for longevity.
In addition to its build quality and efficient design, there’s still a matter of its ports to discuss. The front houses all the ports available, an LED numeric battery indicator, a power button and a light. Additionally, there are two USB Type-A ports and one Type-C port. For the more conventional ports, it has a 9/12V DC 10A output, as well as a three-pin AC outlet. While it doesn’t have a dedicated two-pin outlet, it’s nothing an adapter can’t fix if required. This covers most of the leading outlets in use in South Africa, so you won’t be left short-changed when the device is in use.
Overall, it offers a well-rounded compact design, a solid build quality and sufficient ports to complete the job.
Elecstor Core 314Wh Portable Power Station Specifications
As mentioned, the device has sufficient ports to meet most requirements for low-watt appliances. However, you need to know a few more detailed specifications before plugging in any tech you have around the house to avoid any damage to either device.
As the name suggests, it has a 314Wh battery. More specifically, this is a high-capacity, rechargeable lithium battery. The battery has a capacity of 8,4000mAh, which can easily power a few devices for the standard 2-hour loadshedding slot.
Regarding its output, the USB ports support 5V 2A, with the DC being a 9/12V 10A option. Furthermore, it has a 300W output total, which means the devices plugged in cannot exceed the 300W power draw at any given time. It has an input of 15V 6A for recharging, which is a bit on the lower scale but nothing too dramatic.
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Performance and Battery Life
We’ve already seen that the Elecstor Core 314Wh Portable Power Station has you covered in its design, build and interface. However, it’s the ease of use and the performance that determines the true worth of the device. And this power station does just that.
To start with, we look at the ease of use. It’s pretty easy to set up and use, which is a good sign for any tech device. Keeping the maximum output in mind, you simply need to turn on the power for the device, plug in your devices and turn on the port. It’s that simple. While running, the LED indicator will continue showing its percentage so you know when it’s nearing battery drain.
Depending on the load you’re using, you can expect differing results. You can expect a battery life of a little over an hour using the maximum output simultaneously. This isn’t ideal and is not recommended. To put things into perspective, you can continually charge your smartphone, which draws around 15W on fast-charge, and eke out about 20 hours of charging. Using your monitor and drawing about 15-20W, this drops to between 15 and 17 hours. When using your laptop, which typically has a 60-70W draw, you can continue to charge for around four hours. This is similar to your TV, with a draw of between 50-70W depending on the size, resolution and the like.
In addition to the times, there is a minor aspect you also need to pay attention to. The heavier the output draw, the more heat the unit produces. This, then, triggers the fans inside the unit, which adds a fair amount of noise. It’s not deafening, but it is noticeable. This wasn’t an issue for lower draws; it only triggered the fans when using the TV and not the laptop and monitor combination as expected.
If one aspect of the device needs some improvement, it is its slow recharging time. On average, it takes about four hours to charge from zero. During the testing over two-hour loadshedding periods, I would use about 80-90% to use its capabilities thoroughly. It would take between 3h30m and 4h30m when putting it back on charge.
Is It Worth Buying the Elecstor Core 314Wh Portable Power Station?
The Elecstor Core 314Wh Portable Power Station ticks many boxes for a portable power solution. It’s compact and rugged while being relatively lightweight. Additionally, it features all the necessary ports and options for day-to-day use while offering an easy-to-use setup.
It has a retail price of around R4,000 but is currently on sale at an impressive R2,999 if you are in the market. At either price, the unit is an excellent asset for any household looking at relatively inexpensive power options during loadshedding.
During stage 4 and stage 6 usage, the unit will be put through its paces quite a bit more. So, if you really need something that will last a four-hour stint and recharge in less than two hours (often the gaps between loadshedding during higher levels), then it may be the only reason you’ll need something more in line. That said, few competing devices on the market can beat it for price and performance.
Elecstor Core 314 Wh Portable Power Station
- Compact design and solid build
- Relatively lightweight
- Ease of use
Ease of Learning
Ease of Use
Value for Money