Gear Editor Chris Townsend chose this portable recharger as his Best Buy when he tested the latest options on the market
The Venture 30 from GoalZero is the most powerful recharger tested and also the best designed. It takes the form of a hard plastic block with roughened panels for a good grip. A long rubberised cable fits in a slot that runs around three sides. This has a USB connector at one end and a micro USB connector at the other. There’s a second USB port – a separate cable is needed to use this, as one is for charging anything without a standard micro USB port. The flat cables don’t tangle and can’t catch on anything when not in use. The whole unit is waterproof against rain, splashes and dropping in puddles but not if submerged for any length of time.
There are five blue indicator lights on the Venture 30 that flash when it’s charging a device or being recharged. The faster the lights flash, the faster a device is being charged. Each light represents 20% battery capacity; when that’s used up the light goes out so you can see roughly how much power is left. I’ve only recharged the Venture 30 from the mains but if you have a GoalZero Nomad solar panel you can also recharge it from that.
The charging cables fit all my devices though they’re awkward with the recessed port on the headlamp – a separate, more flexible cable is better for this. The Venture 30 can be programmed to charge devices as fast as possible using a feature called Smart Charge. When this is run the indicator lights do speed up though I can’t say this feature makes a big difference to charging times.
The Venture 30 also comes with a useful torch that makes a good backup to a headlamp. This has three settings – high, low and strobe.