NIWA Home 200 X2 Modular Solar System Review

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What we tested

NIWA Home 200 X2 Modular Solar System
£149.99 from Portable Power Technology
Buy it here

What’s in the box?

  • 2x 100 lumen lamps with dimmer switches
  • 1x Modular charge controller with 3000mAh battery and USB outputs
  • 1x 5W modular Polycrystalline solar panel
  • 1x Modular high power USB hub with 2x USB outputs
  • 1x Power Station for DC and solar docking
  • 1x 3 meters lamp extension cable
  • 5x Mobile phone adapters
  • 1 x AC Adapter (UK)

NIWA Home 200 X2 Modular Solar System

First impressions

The quality of this kit feels good, and although the solar panel is quite small, it feels sturdy. The modular system is really well designed, and the hub has 2 USB sockets and features LED indicators to show you how much power is left. It slots easily on top of the battery, which in turn is slotted onto the base unit.

NIWA solar light reviewThe light on inside our tent on our second camping trip

Straight out of the box it’s intuitive and easy to use, and before we took it camping for the first time we left it to mains charge overnight. We were keen to make sure it was fully charged before taking it camping with us that weekend as the weather forecast was for heavy rain all weekend, and they were sadly spot on; far from ideal conditions for a solar panel to charge.

NIWA Home 200 X2 Modular Solar System

The lights themselves are pretty big, and each time we have camped we’ve chosen to take just one with us, and we’ve found that one gives us more than enough light in our enormous 6m bell tent. The lights have a handy clip attached to the top that makes them easy to hang, and we were pleasantly surprised by the length of the cables, which allow us to run the cable right into the centre of the bell tent, which is 3 metres away from the solar panel positioned outside the front of the tent.

NIWA Home 200 X2 Modular Solar SystemThe light up and attached to the centre pole of the bell tent

The verdict

The first time we used the kit we were only away for one night, but the second time we camped the weekend after we used it for two nights. The Niwa provided us with reliable power throughout both camping trips despite it receiving no additional help from the sun. We used the lights on three evenings in total, and charged our phones at least twice.

The unit did finally run out of power on the last night, but given there had been literally no sunshine to charge the battery, we really weren’t surprised and were happy with it’s performance.

We used it again last weekend on a third camping trip, and weather conditions were very different. We had sunshine for most of the weekend, and in full sunlight, the battery charged from dead to around 2/3rds full in one day.

NIWA Home 200 X2 Modular Solar SystemThe unit in use in the centre of the bell tent on our first camping trip of the year

Pros

  • We absolutely love the fact that the system is modular and you can add additional batteries should you want to
  • Two USB ports meant we could both charge our phones at the same time
  • Apart from the rather large lamps, the unit and solar panel are nice and compact, making it easy to transport
  • Brilliant for camping, we love having dependable light that doesn’t rely on the use of disposable batteries
  • Easy and intuitive to use, and it feels well made

Cons

  • We feel that the design of the lamps isn’t ideal for camping due to the wide plastic shade. Whilst they work effectively and diffusing light I think they could easily get damaged in transit
  • A flip out stand to allow you to stand the solar panel up and angle it to the sun would be nice, we ended up lying it flat on the ground or balancing it against the side of the tent

NIWA Home 200 X2 Modular Solar SystemIn use during our second camping trip

Summary

We think this is a great little unit at a good price point; ideal if you’ve never used a solar power hub like this before and particularly good if you are short on space and don’t want to have to transport a larger, bulkier solar panel. A carry bag to pack everything into would have been a nice touch for camping, but we have used it on 3 camping trips now, and have found that everything fits easily into a standard Sainsbury’s bag-for-life. It performed well when charged fully from the mains, and having since taken it camping for a weekend in sunny weather, we are pleased to report that the battery charged effectively, showing 2 green lights on the LED indicator panel after a full day in direct sunlight.

Thank you to Portable Power Technology for supplying the featured product for us to test.

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