Image: Courtesy of Biolite
BioLite, already a known entity in the outdoor industry, has unveiled a new product that combines their love of solar panels and lights. The product, known as the Sunlight, is a compact solar-powered light that sells for $25; it is currently sold out until May.
The Brooklyn-based company may have started by selling camp stoves in 2012, but they have expanded their business to include lights, lamps, solar panels, power banks and even more stoves. Last year, they unveiled the very impressive FirePit, and similar to how that product improved the traditional campfire, the SunLight aims to improve on compact lighting solutions. The new product is a significant step forward from BioLite’s first lighting system back in 2015.
With three different modes, all activated with a single button; the SunLight becomes a versatile piece of equipment. Apart from the white light mode—this is the only dimmable setting—there is the full-color mode, which switches between colors by pressing the button. The final setting and the most fun is party mode, which slowly cycles through all available colors for ambiance purposes, I assume.
Image: Courtesy of Biolite
The small, square light is roughly 3 inches by 3 inches and less than 1 inch in thickness, and it still packs an impressive 100 lumens. BioLite claims their product has 50 hours of runtime, but what it doesn’t mention, is that this is probably on the dimmest setting only. They also don’t say how long the runtime is when the SunLight is at the max setting of 100 lumens. Interestingly enough, however, is that the light can run for an impressive 6 hours while on party mode, a fact that chose to disclose on an FAQ. When the battery reaches low power on any of the modes, the light switches to reserve power and emits a dim white light that lasts for four hours.
I have not been able to get my hands on this product, so I can’t speak on how good, or bad it is, but I can comb through the specifications, and that will have to do for now. This product would be useless if it wasn’t water-resistant, and so it comes with an IPX4 rating, which will protect the device from splashing water but not submersion. It weighs 3.4 ounces and packs a 750mAh lithium-ion battery compared to the battery of an iPhone 8, which stands at 1,960mAh. The battery charges through two methods; method one is through the traditional USB cable, and it takes 2 hours, while the second method involves using the solar panels and takes 7 hours to charge fully. Fun fact, the Sunlight comes with a built-in sundial for maximum solar ray intake.
For such a small product, the SunLight packs a heavy punch, and it will be interesting to see how the industry reacts to it. This is just speculation, but had this been another brand debuting the product, like Black Diamond, The North Face or Goal Zero, it could have easily been $50 or more. The one product that resembles the SunLight, or at least the first one that comes to mind, is Goal Zero’s Lighthouse Mini Lantern, which does not come with a built-in solar panel and only has a white light, albeit one that shines for far, far longer at 400 hours. The Lighthouse mini lantern is priced at $50, and the bigger version at $80 and they both require Goal Zero solar panels, which are, of course, sold separately. The point is, if all the marketing fluff about this product is true, then you’re looking at an incredible product being sold at a generous, if not downright charitable, price.
I would like to clarify, that I am not trying to imply that their claims are untrue, just that I have not tried the product. In addition, whichever claims they make—if they are not concrete facts—like the dimensions of the product—must be taken with a grain of salt. We would prefer to do our own tests on battery life, time to charge, and durability.