This large panel was one of the top contenders in our side-by-side testing, mostly because it has 20W more output power than the previous largest panels we tested. It came as no surprise that it would outperform smaller panels in terms of power, and it’s up to you to decide whether the extra bulk of a 40W panel is worth it for your charging needs.
Credit: Jane Jackson
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Charge Interruption Recovery
It is in this metric that the X-Dragon 40W really shines. Since it has double the surface area of every other panel in this review, it’s able to charge our electronics quickly and efficiently. Even if one part of the panel becomes shaded, the rest of the cells are still exposed to sunlight, allowing the panel to continue to deliver a charge to our battery. Even with intermittent shading, the X-Dragon was still able to charge our small battery from 0% to 15% in a half hour, offering up some of the best performance in this metric.
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Here, the X-Dragon is precariously hanging from a tree branch, only to be knocked down by wind a few minutes after this picture was cinemaboxhd.orgit: Jane Jackson
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When it comes to charging speed, it made the most sense to closely compare the X-Dragon to the Voltaic panel, as both were tested as laptop-compatible panels using large external batteries. We tested the X-Dragon 40W with the Aceyoon battery pack and found that it took most of the day to charge this 50,000mAh battery. Similarly, the Voltaic 20W took all day to charge its battery of comparable size. It’s challenging to get the battery packs fully charged off of the panels, which made it very hard to successfully charge a laptop in the field.
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That said, for smaller tasks, like phones or small batteries, the X-Dragon 40W performs well. We had no problems with the panel itself and its overall functionality; it just took a significant chunk of time to charge the batteries completely.
We had difficulties maximizing sun exposure with the bulky cinemaboxhd.orgit: Jane Jackson
Multiple Device Charging Speed
While the X-Dragon 20W panel (previously tested) struggled to charge two devices simultaneously, the 40W model was the most effective in this metric. In full sun, it has enough power to deliver a continuous charge to two small batteries at the same time. We charged both of our little batteries from 0% to 4% in 30 minutes. Unlike the 20W models we reviewed previously, the 40W managed to charge both batteries at once. The closest competitor to the X-Dragon is the Anker 21W. The Voltaic Arc 20 can’t charge multiple devices at once, making the X-Dragon a more versatile option as a laptop-compatible charger.
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With the same construction as the 20W version we tested previously, the X-Dragon 40W is an equally durable panel. Both have a durable canvas material on the outside and durable plastic solar cells inside. The downside to the 40W is its large size; the panel is a few feet wide when fully opened, and is over twice the size of others in this review. We found that it was difficult to prop the panel up when using it outside; this meant that the X-Dragon was always falling over, causing more wear and tear over time. The smaller panels are similar in design but saw less wear and tear during the testing period because of their size.
The X-Dragon 40W works best laying flat since it is so cinemaboxhd.orgit: Jane Jackson
Weight & Portability
It is in this metric that the X-Dragon 40W stands apart from the rest of the panels. It’s over double the size of the largest 20W panels we tested and weighs a whopping 37 ounces. Unless you are sure that 40 watts of power is what you’re looking for, it can be a heavy, cumbersome option.
Both the Voltaic (bottom left) and the X-Dragon (rear) had trouble charging a large battery efficiently. Even after a full day in sun, the panels did not successfully fill our cinemaboxhd.orgit: Jane Jackson
The X-Dragon 40W on its own is not the most expensive panel we tested. Unfortunately, the panel works best when combined with a large battery that is laptop compatible. Paired with the Aceyoon 50,000mAh battery, this set-up ends up costing a pretty penny. As a budget option for a laptop-compatible system, the X-Dragon 40W is a decent option, though still an investment.
The X-Dragon 40W has double the surface area of all the other large-capacity panels we have cinemaboxhd.orgit: Jane Jackson
When testing two of the best laptop-compatible systems we could find, it became clear that there is still room for progress in this realm of solar energy. The X-Dragon 40W is large enough to charge a laptop battery, but its size is a major drawback. When combined with a battery, it can set you back a few benjamins. These are major drawbacks, but the panel itself performed well and can charge multiple devices simultaneously. If weight or size is not a concern, this large capacity panel is a good option for charging larger batteries.