Note: this solargorilla was reviewed in conjunction with its companion product the.
The powergorilla is a big, flat black battery pack with a simple LED display to show power status, and a button that doubles as an on/off switch and power level selector. Its inputs are likewise minimalist, with power in and out plugs flanking a USB socket. Power to charge the powergorilla can come either from direct AC connection, or optionally by purchasing Powertraveller's solargorilla. We've reviewed both here together as they make a lot more sense when used in tandem — something we'll get to shortly.
The powergorilla resembles the solar panel that Powertraveller used on the recently reviewed, only on steroids, and in only one colour — a rather utilitarian grey. Like the powergorilla, there are two power outputs, with a choice of a regular plug for the powergorilla and other notebook style devices, and a USB port for charging portable mobile devices such as phones and some game systems.
Along with both the powergorilla and solargorilla, you get a variety of plugs to suit a large number of devices. The smaller tips are called "chimp nuts", while the larger ones are "gorilla nuts", and there's an easy way to differentiate them. As we noted in our review of the Powermonkey eXplorer, the chimp nuts are lightweight and feel rather flimsy. The gorilla nuts that you get with the powergorilla and solargorilla are conversely pretty solid little numbers that also benefit from being labelled. This is quite useful, as the nuts come in plastic trays that very easily pop open and spill everywhere, and getting them identified properly can be something of a nightmare. You do get the same set of Gorilla Nut tips with the solargorilla and powergorilla, so if you buy both you'll end up with some doubles.
Not unsurprisingly, charging is the name of the game for the powergorilla and solargorilla. As with the previously reviewed Powermonkey eXplorer, the idea is that you charge up the powergorilla, either from AC or solar sources, then take it with you to extend the battery life of your mobile gadgetry and laptop PC.
We charged up the powergorilla from AC first, to get an idea of its compatibility with a small suite of laptops. The powergorilla unit itself feels robust, and it's very easy to sort out the compatible adapter and correct voltage, at which point most of our test laptops got to charging. The one exception to this rule was an Apple MacBook. Powertraveller does sell a solution for Apple users, but it's complicated — you've got to buy the Apple Airline travel adapter, and then plug that in to a Powertraveller cigarette lighter adapter — and then finally into the powergorilla. The local distributor for Powertraveller products wasn't able to source the lighter adapter for our testing, so our MacBook went power-hungry during our testing.