REVIEW: Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Power Bank
Anyone who travels with any regularity probably already recognizes the value of carrying a good USB battery pack with them while on the road. Whether you find yourself frequently stranded at the airport, trying to get work done on a long flight, or even headed to remote campsite, a battery pack can be an indispensable piece of kit. Depending on its capacity, these portable power sources can keep our smartphones, tablets, and other devices functioning for hours on end without having to plug into a wall outlet. Some of the higher capacity models can even power our laptops, making them the perfect option for road warriors and digital nomads.
One such example of this type of battery pack is the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Power Bank. This unit has everything you need to stay powered up while on the go, with some fantastic features that help to set it apart from the crowd. But its $300 price tag puts it well above most other portable power packs on the market as well. What does the Sherpa 100AC bring to the table and is it worth that much money? For certain users the answer is a resounding yet, while others may want to save some cash and look elsewhere.
Capacity (5) ★★★★★
The Sherpa 100AC comes armed with a 94 watt-hour battery pack, which is the equivalent of 25,600 mAh. That puts it on the higher end of the USB battery pack market and close to the limit set by the FAA for the largest battery than you can legally carry on a plane. In other words, it provides a lot of juice in a relatively small package, offering enough capacity to recharge a smartphone seven times, a high-capacity tablet three times, and a laptop more than once. It is difficult to find fault with the capacity of Goal Zero’s power bank, although it should be noted that there are plenty of other models that offer a similar amount of portable power in smaller, lighter, and less expensive packages.
Charging (5) ★★★★★
With its two USB-A ports, two 60-watt USB-C (Power Delivery) ports, and AC wall outlet, the Sherpa 100AC offers options for charging just about any kind of device, including modern laptops. The USB-C ports—one of which is used to recharge the battery pack itself— are both incredibly fast and efficient, making them the preferred option for keeping your gadgets functioning while away from home. Goal Zero even threw in a Qi charging pad on top of the power bank to offer wireless charging on the go too. The Qi pad isn’t fast, but it is very convenient, allowing you to charge a smartphone without having to occupy one of the other ports. The Sherpa 100AC itself can be recharged via wall outlet, 12-volt car port, or a solar panel, which gives it a level of versatility that the competition usually can’t match. Depending on where and when you use it, these options are definitely appreciated.
Portability (3) ★★★
Thanks to its rugged construction and plethora of features, the Sherpa 100AC isn’t as lightweight as most of its competitors. In fact, the power bank tips the scales at two pounds, which is a substantial amount of weight for those looking to travel light. But this is a battery pack that can’t be judged on its specs alone. If all you need is a portable charger to keep your phone running, than you’ll find plenty of smaller, lighter options for less money. On the other hand, if you’re a mobile professional who needs a steady supply of power on the go, this will be the best two pounds that you can possibly carry with you on your journeys.
Overall: (4) ★★★★
There is no question that the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Power Bank delivers a lot of value, it just doesn’t deliver it for everyone. This is a USB battery pack that is designed with a specific type of user in mind, namely one that needs plenty of power and ports in a durable package built to survive in the outdoors. For its $300 price tag, the Sherpa 100AC provides plenty of ports, a wireless charging pad, and a built-in OLED screen for monitoring power in and out. It can features multiple ways to recharge while on the go and it ships with four rugged charging cables (Apple Lightning, Micro USB, and two USB-C). However, Goal Zero inexplicably left an AC adapter out of the box, meaning you’ll have to buy one separately. The company offers its own 45-watt model for $35, but it truly feels like one should be included in the box, especially considering the Sherpa 100AC’s asking price.
That said, this is a truly great portable power bank for those who need these kinds of capabilities. If you happen to fit that description, you’ll find that the Sherpa 100 AC is tough to top. On the other hand, this device is overkill for most travelers, who are probably better served by purchasing a less rugged option with fewer features.
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