Let there be light! Review: AUKEY Solar Light

You've all seen the cheap LED garden lights, usually with a small solar panel on top. £5 each or thereabouts at garden centres and in bargain bins. And they put out a pitiful amount of light and stop working after a month in the rain.

This is something very different. 30cm long, with a full width solar panel, a large internal rechargeable cell, 18 high power LEDs with several brightness modes, proximity sensor, and a remote control to switch it between various modes.
I was a little sceptical, especially as it took a little perusing the instructions to even turn the light on (you'd have thought that it would default to 'on', but perhaps that would damage and drain the batteries in transit?)

However, this has proved wonderful in use. I mounted it (after initial testing) on a wall and it glows gently all night (i.e. when the sensor detects that light levels are low enough) and then the proximity sensor switches it to full brightness for 20 seconds when anyone comes near it.

In this shot, the light doesn't look that bright, but this particular corner/path of our house gets no light normally and is pitch black - and dangerous - so this light is a huge step forwards.

There are a couple of other modes - off completely until you walk near it, and just with the gentle glow all the time. There's a system of flashes to tell you where you are in the mode cycle and some trial and error is needed to get your head around all this. Though for most people, you'll find the mode that suits you and then you just leave the unit as-is, i.e. fully autonomous.

With my camera set with tight exposure, you can see all the individual LEDs that make up the light...

It's impressively bright for an outdoor light that's not mains-powered. The whole point of going solar is that there aren't any wires to run into the house (plus energy is 'free') and the system works well here.

The biggest testament to this AUKEY light's efficacy is that, on seeing it working at night, my wife immediately said "Can we get another one, to mount further along our side path?"

The only caveat is that I've been testing this in summer, when there has been plenty of light to charge the panel, I'll report back when winter comes around.

At £18 on Amazon UK, this is super value, I reckon. And do please nudge me in six months time for the long term review as well!

Update in late October 2017

OK, I take it all back. This failed after three months. No light, no charge. I took it apart but couldn't see any water damage - so I'm none the wiser. Take this as a data point. Maybe I was just unlucky? I had SUCH high hopes for this, too.



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