If you have ever shopped for automotive accessories, there’s a likely chance you’ve come across the Audew brand. Established in 2013, this Chinese company is known for its versatile lineup of portable car jump starters and tire inflators, among other accessories. This time around however, we’re going to take a hands-on look at Audew’s 300Wh portable power station, which can also serve as a competent jump starter for your car.
Before we dive into the power station itself, it should be made clear that these devices aren’t the same as traditional gas-powered generators. Most portable power stations have limitations and shouldn’t be purchased to power, say, your whole home. They are essentially rechargeable battery-powered inverter generators, equipped with AC outlets and USB charging ports to keep your gear charged—such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, small appliances, or even a CPAP machine. But since these are battery-powered generators, they offer power without the noise and fumes you’d get from a gas-powered generator. More importantly, these are safe to use indoors and could come in handy if you lose power in your home.
Just keep in mind that once the battery is fully drained, the portable power station will have to be plugged in and recharged. This could be an issue if you were using it as an emergency source of power and there’s no power in your home. Unlike gas-powered generators, where you can just go out and get another gallon of gas, you may have to use solar power to charge up your power station. Also, these power stations do take a while to fully charge, which is something to consider if you want to use these in an emergency situation.
It’s more likely you’re shopping for a portable power station to use on your next camping trip, or even for tailgating. So should Audew’s DP300 portable power station be on your short list of products to check out? Read on to find out!
Table of contents
What's in the Box?
Along with the portable power station, Audew includes a 110V AC power adapter, 12V car charger, 12V jumper cables, an MC4 connector, and of course, a user manual. The MC4 connector is used to connect solar panels (sold separately) to charge the device, while the included jumper cables must be used with the portable power station. The unit does not come with any USB cables, but it’s likely you have plenty of those lying around.
Overall, we found the design of this portable power station to favor function over form. The front of the unit features an LCD screen and on/off switch, along with the jumper cable port, four USB ports, and both charger ports. Rubber dust caps are used to cover the jumper cable, USB, and charge ports. The pure sine wave AC outlets are located on the right side of the station, along with a power switch, while the built-in LED light is located on the left side (when looking at the front of the unit). Measuring 12.17 inches by 7.64 inches by 9.06 inches, its size is fairly consistent with other similar options. Our scale weighed the unit at exactly 11.5 pounds.
Sporting a black and orange color scheme, we weren’t a huge fan of the glossy black plastic that covers the majority of the power station. If it matters to you, fingerprint and dust easily stick to the surface, taking away from its otherwise sleek appearance. The large handle at the top of the power station is also a bit strange, since it doesn’t fold down or conceal itself in any way. The overall height of the power station could have been reduced by a few inches if a foldable handle was implemented in its design.
Before we get into the features and functionality of this portable power station, it’s worth talking about the LCD screen. Its main purpose is to display the remaining battery charge of the power station, but we couldn’t help but wish it was a more accurate display. Instead of showing percentages for battery power, it uses a fairly old-school display with bars, which leaves you wondering just how much battery life is left. We also wish the screen displayed more data, such as how much power it’s using for the devices connected to it.
There are built-in warnings and alarms, that will notify you if something is causing an error with the power station. The LCD screen will display “Device Alarm” if this is the case, such as plugging in a device that requires more than 250 watts of power. Other protection features include over-current, overload, over-voltage, and short circuit protection.
Features and Functionality
This portable power station uses built-in LiFePO4 (lithium iron phosphate) batteries, considered to be the safest type of lithium batteries currently available. Battery capacity is rated at 81,000mAh and Audew says it’s good for about 2,000 battery cycles—that is, fully discharging and charging the device. It supports devices up to 250 watts and its rated energy is 300Wh. That’s good enough to power and charge most electronic devices through its pair of pure sine wave 110-volt AC outlets. There are a total of four USB outputs on the power station, two USB-C outlets and a pair of quick charge USB-A outlets.
The preferred method of charging the power station itself is with the included AC adapter, which can take up to seven hours for a full charge. The car adapter or solar panel (sold separately) should charge the station a little slower, about eight hours. Of course, recharging time will vary, especially if you’re using solar. It’s worth noting that you aren’t able to use the power station while it’s charging.
As for the jump starter, it’s rated at 1000A, so it’s able to jump start vehicles with up to a 4.0-liter gasoline engine or 3.5-liter diesel engine. That should cover the majority of vehicles out there on the market, but if you’ve got a bigger engine lurking under the hood, you likely don’t want to rely on this power station to give it a start.
In our testing, we found the four USB outputs to work as rated, offering fast charging on our mobile devices. The power station also had no issues charging up our laptops and providing power to a mini fridge. Having used Audew portable jump starters in the past, we weren’t a least bit surprised to see how effortlessly this power station jump started a 2017 Hyundai Elantra that had been sitting for weeks. Unfortunately, we did not receive the optional solar panel with our sample power station, so we aren’t able to comment on how well that performs.
One standout feature worth mentioning is that the DP300 portable power station doesn’t use any built-in fans for heat dissipation. That means it’s extremely quiet to use, which could be important if you’re going camping.
It’s unlikely you’re primarily purchasing a portable power station for its lighting capabilities, but the built-in LED flashlight should suffice in an emergency. Considering the weight of the power station, you probably don’t want to be carrying it as a flashlight. But if you’re camping and inside a tent, it’ll definitely come in handy if you’re trying to hook up something in the dark.
What is a Pure Sine Wave Inverter?
You may have noticed that we refer to the 110-volt AC outlets on this power station as “pure sine wave” outlets, and if you’re wondering what that means, we’ll try to explain. Power inverters are designed to convert DC power to AC power, which is what electronic devices need. What you may not know is that power inverters can generally output that power in two forms: modified sine wave and pure sine wave.
It’s widely accepted that pure sine wave is the better of the two, providing power flow in even, arching waves. Modified sine wave delivers power with a more “blocky” signal and generally isn’t even compatible with modern devices. In other words, if you’re ever shopping for a power inverter, you’ll want a unit that is a pure sine wave inverter. The Audew DP300’s outlets are pure sine wave, meaning you shouldn’t have to worry about any compatibility issues with your devices.
Our Final Verdict
There are numerous reasons why you could be shopping for a portable power station, and ultimately choosing the right one largely depends on what you need it for. If you’re certain that you don’t need a gas-powered generator (or don’t want to use one), you’ll need to determine how much wattage you need for your devices. If you don’t need to power any sort of device over 250 watts, such as a microwave oven or rice cooker, then the Audew DP300 is a great option.
We would consider this to be an excellent entry-level portable power station, great for taking on camping trips to ensure all your mobile devices stay fully charged. The built-in car jump starter comes in handy for emergency situations, capable of jump starting vehicles with up to a 4.0-liter gasoline engine or 3.5-liter diesel engine. Since it does weigh almost 12 lbs, we wouldn’t recommend tossing it into your backpack and traveling with it—it’s not that portable.
The ability to use solar-powered charging is also a great plus, but you’ll have to purchase that separately, unless you already have a kit. We do wish the LCD screen displayed more data when the device is being used, but our biggest gripe is the fact that it doesn’t support charging and discharging at the same time. That means you’ll have to find time to charge the power station when it’s not being used, which could be inconvenient when you’re camping. Fortunately, its battery capacity should be sufficient for most camping trips, limiting the amount of time you need to charge the station.
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