Gear Closet: Honda by Jackery HLS290 Portable Power Station Review

Over the past year or so, I’ve had the pleasure of testing a number of different portable power solutions from Jackery, including the Explorer 240 and Explorer 160. Now, the company has embarked on a partnership with Honda to produce a new line of power stations that are set to begin shipping later this month, and I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on one of these new models prior to launch. Does it live up to the high bar set by its predecessors? Read on to find out.

The new power stations are branded as Honda by Jackery, with two models slated for release soon. They include the larger HLS290 and the smaller HLS200, both of which share a lot in common with the models that I’ve already reviewed. Both models do feature upgraded battery packs that produce more power however, as well as a slightly different look that puts them more in line with Honda’s existing generators.

I’ve been testing the new HLS290, which comes equipped with a 292 watt-hour battery and an array of ports for recharging or powering your gadgets. Those ports include two standard USB port (5V, 2.4A), a 12-volt car port, and a standard AC wall outlet capable of producing 200 watts of continuous power. That’s enough to keep a mini refrigerator or 32″ LCD television running for nearly 3.5 hours. The HLS290 can also recharge most laptops as much as four times, or provide 17 charges to smartphone or 14 recharges of a tablet.

The new power station tips the scales at 6.6 pounds (3 kg), which makes it portable enough for use in a lot of outdoor environments (car camping, tailgating, in the backyard), but on the heavy side to lug to a backcountry campsite. The HLS200 is a bit more portable at 3.8 pounds (1.74 kg), but at the expense of battery life of course. Both models come with a built-in handle that make them very easy to carry and their durable cases will give you peace of mind that these power stations will survive nicely in the outdoors.

Jackery ships its portable power stations with an AC adapter for recharging them from a wall outlet at home, as well as a 12-volt cable for recharging in the car too. The new models are also compatible with the company’s solar panels, although I’ve been told that all new solar charging options are in the works and coming soon. Those new solar panels will be refined to work more efficiently with the HLS290 and HLS200. Recharging by wall outlet or in the car takes about 8 hours, while using the sun requires a bit more time depending on conditions.

As with previous models, the HLS290 comes with a built-in LCD screen that allows the user to closely monitor remaining battery life, as well as power in and out. This comes in very handy when it comes to knowing how much juice you have left and where it is all going. Pass through tech makes it possible to charge the power stations battery while also charging up gadgets that are plugged into it as well. That makes the HLS290 a useful device to have plugged in at all time at home, ensuring it is alway ready for use and providing a slew of ports for all of your various electronics.

In terms of what it offers, the Honda by Jackery HLS290 is a solid product that provides a lot of value for its $399 price point. That’s not a lot to pay for a portable power station that offers plenty of on the go power in relatively light and compact design. My only gripe is that I wish it came equipped with a couple of USB-C ports in addition to the standard USB-A plugs. More and more gadgets are switching to USB and it would have been a nice future-proofing option to have onboard here. Curiously enough, the HLS200 does have a single USB-C port, while its larger, more expensive, sibling doesn’t. This seems like an oversight in this day and age.

That said, it is still easy to recommend the HLS290 for anyone looking for a sturdy, dependable portable power station that won’t break the bank. Both versions of the new Honda by Jackery brand should begin shipping before the end of March. Visit Jackery.com for more info.

Update: The Honday by Jackery HLS290 is available now on Amazon for $349.99.

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