TechStage | Photovoltaic power station Novoo Omni tested: mobile 230 V socket with 300 W

Power stations with 230 V supply electrical consumers independently of the mains. Thanks to various connection options including a 230 V socket and a high continuous output, the devices are ideal for leisure, work and as an emergency power supply. The internal batteries can be charged either via the power pack, via a 12 V socket or with the help of a photovoltaic panel. The devices offer maximum flexibility.

This individual test is about a light and compact power station from the manufacturer Novoo. The online shop Banggood provided us with the test device Solar generator Omni currently as a limited offer for 332 euros available from an EU warehouse. The regular price that other shops charge is around 400 to 500 euros.

With dimensions of around 23 x 20 x 15 cm, the Novoo Omni is one of the most compact power stations that we have had in the editorial office so far and it also fits in a backpack. So far, only the Anker Powerhouse 521 (test report) or Blitzwolf BW-PG-2 (test report) models have been similarly small. The weight of around three and a half kilograms (3400 g) can be carried comfortably with the handle on top. It’s a pity that it can’t be folded, because then the device would be even flatter and you could also put a smartphone, camera or other consumers on it.

The workmanship of the black plastic case with the orange accents makes a decent overall impression. Merely the noticeable transitions of the plastic parts are manufactured less precisely than with most of the competing products. Four soft rubber feet on the underside ensure a secure stand.

In addition to the power station, a suitable 230 V power pack (18 V, 3 A), a 12 V vehicle cable, concise, multilingual instructions and an accessory bag are also included in the scope of delivery.

The ports and controls of the Omni are all placed on the front, with the exception of the integrated emergency light. This is where the general power button is located, the small status display, the small round plug for DC input (connection to the power supply unit or solar panel), the 230 V socket, the three 12 V outputs (1x car, 2 x round plug connectors each 10 A) and a total of four USB slots (2x USB-A 2.4 A, 1x USB-A 18W, 1x USB-C-PD 45 W). To activate the outputs, there are power buttons for alternating current (230 V), 12 V outputs and USB ports. This is unusual, since most devices only differentiate between direct and alternating current.

What we noticed are the unprotected connections (only the 12 V car socket is protected by a cover) and the small diameter (3.9 mm) of the power adapter plug. The first point is annoying, but there are only a few manufacturers who solve it better. The second point is important when choosing a suitable solar panel (guide). This means paying close attention to the specifications, all power stations tested so far require significantly thicker plugs. Here you are best advised to use inexpensive no-name panels. These usually come to the customer together with a whole set of adapters.

The emergency light and power button are located on the side of the housing, which accommodates the positioning of the handle, since the Omni can be used as an XXL flashlight in case of doubt. The LED is bright enough to find the way to the tent, but the lamp is not very powerful. Inexpensive LED flashlights (purchase advice) perform significantly better here.

The operation of the Novoo Omni is self-explanatory and uncomplicated thanks to clear labeling and a clear layout of the control elements. To switch the Omni or the respective outputs on and off, it is enough to press the respective power button for several seconds. The same applies to activating and switching through the light modes of the side LEDs.

In direct comparison to many previously tested power stations, the status display of the Omni is not only small, but also not very meaningful. It starts with the capacity display in 20 percent blocks – this is correspondingly imprecise. It is also not clear how much power is currently being input or output. In practice this is impractical. Estimating whether the solar panel is optimally aligned is a matter of pure luck. The question of remaining running time and current power output also remains unanswered. You can only see whether current is being charged and whether outputs are active. Whether these output electricity is also not clear.

Before charging for the first time, we test the maximum performance of the small power station. To do this, we plug in various consumers, such as tools, kitchen appliances or electronic gadgets. The Novoo Omni also delivers the specified 300 W of the 230 V socket in practice. According to the power meter, our Omni easily delivers 293 W, even if the fan turns on audibly. If the output is below 100 to 150 W, the active cooling remains silent. If the specified power of 300 W is exceeded, the power station immediately deactivates the AC output.

In the test, we can supply our workstation with a Macbook Pro, DECT telephone, two monitors and various USB consumers with the power station, but we have to unplug the laser printer. Its consumption is low in standby mode, but the start-up current and the power requirement when printing would quickly catapult the total output to over 700 watts. The resulting 100 to 120 W are no problem for the power station.

The small battery pack also reliably supplies light tools such as a drill/driver, our hardware store jigsaw or the hot glue gun. However, the Omni lacks power when used with more powerful consumers, such as our rotary hammer, an electric hand-held circular saw or the hot-air dryer. The situation is similar with kitchen appliances. Although the ice cube maker and cool box can be operated, the kettle, hotplate or electric grill are clearly too energy-hungry. This is not surprising given the size – moderate consumers such as chargers for notebooks, cameras, drones, on the other hand, are optimally suited.

After the first performance tests, we charge the completely empty batteries to 100 percent with the supplied power pack and experience a surprise. Loading is completely silent, but takes an incredibly long time. Despite the small capacity of only 296 Wh, the Novoo Omni needs almost seven and a half hours to be fully charged. This is negative record! The Ecoflow River (test report) with just under 300 Wh also needs about one and a half hours and the Anker Anker Powerhouse 521 (test report) with 256 Wh needs less than four hours.

After charging, we reconnect our PC workstation to the multiple socket and check how much electricity we can draw. In four different runs, we draw between 248 and 269 Wh from the power station in just over two hours each. In the best case, this corresponds to a loss of just under ten percent in terms of capacity. An excellent value! As a rule, the difference here is about 15 percent.

How high the conversion loss actually is always depends on the connected consumers. The lowest losses occur when using 12 V devices on the corresponding DC outputs. Experience has shown that the most is lost when using low-performance 230 V consumers.

The tests with various mobile universal solar panels (guides) from Xmund and Flashfish were also successful. However, since the Omni allows a maximum of 54 W input power (18 V, 3 A), charging takes all day despite 100 W panels and the best weather conditions. Too bad, at least 100 W should be possible here in order to be able to charge the battery faster.

Simultaneously charging and discharging the Novoo Omni is possible and works reliably in the test. That’s a good thing, because it’s the only way to make permanent use far away from the socket possible. The Blitzwolf BW-PG2 model (test report), which is also very compact, lacks this pass-through function, which was our biggest point of criticism in the test.

We received the Novoo Omni for this test from Banggood, where the device comes with delivery from an EU warehouse currently for a fair 332 euros is listed. The regular price of the power station is around 400 to 500 euros, which we find a bit too expensive.

The Novoo Omni is also available from other online shops. However, the model cannot be found on Amazon or in the price comparison.

The small solar generator Novoo Omni leaves a positive impression and we like it not only because of the current price situation, but primarily because of its compact size and low weight. The almost 300 Wh capacity and 300 W continuous output are comparatively low, but they are easily sufficient for many applications. If you are planning to supply power to your camera, laptop, drone, RC model, camera or similar when you are out and about, you will get a compact solution that also fits in your backpack. Thanks to its silent operation below 100 W, the mini power station also cuts a fine figure in the tent or at work.

If you want to operate the device independently of the power grid, you should pay attention to the diameter of the connection plug when choosing the solar panel. Here we can recommend inexpensive no-name panels. On the one hand, suitable adapters are usually included, on the other hand, the power station can achieve a maximum input power of just over 50 W – even small and inexpensive panels are sufficient here. The 100 W panels used achieved good results in the test.

The main criticism of the Novoo Omni is the little meaningful status display in combination with the imprecise capacity display. We would have also wished for covers for the ports for outdoor use. As a Macbook user, a more powerful USB PD port would also be desirable.

If you want to use consumers over 300 W, you have to look for an alternative. If it is to be similarly compact, Ecoflow River (test report) with 1800 W for 380 euros or Blitzwolf BW-PG1 (test report) with 500 W for 570 euros are possible. If consumers are also to be supplied over long periods of time, more capacity is required. Since the selection ranges from a few hundred to several thousand Wh, we recommend taking a look at our individual tests in the Powerstations theme world.

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