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EcoFlow River Mini Review: Lots of power in a small package

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EcoFlow RIVER Mini

MSRP $349.00

“The EcoFlow River Mini brings battery backup where you need it, with 210Wh storage capacity, 300W continuous output, a variety of ports, and Qi wireless charging for your phone.”

Benefits

  • Lightweight and portable

  • 15W wireless charging

  • Lots of USB ports

  • Includes a 100W USB-C port

  • Rear notch makes it easy to carry

The inconvenients

  • Tight exit location

  • Glossy black finish is a fingerprint magnet

  • No carrying handle, so difficult to pick up

EcoFlow’s River range of compact power stations have a design philosophy that focuses more on portability and functionality rather than battery capacity or output. The River Mini is the smallest model in the series, and it packs some serious capability into a form factor small enough to fit under your car seat, or maybe even in your glove compartment. It has a respectable 210 watt-hour battery, 300 watts continuous AC output from two outlets, three USB ports, and a 12-volt accessory outlet. It is available in standard and wireless versions, with the wireless version including a built-in Qi wireless charging pad.

Design

The EcoFlow River Mini charges a phone wirelessly.
Jeremy Laukkonen/Digital Trends

The EcoFlow River Mini is a sleek little device, with a rounded rectangular shape and a glossy black plastic finish that’s somewhat reminiscent of an old clock radio. The top of the device is cutaway and flat, making it a good place to put your phone and other small items. If you opt for the wireless version, this platform doubles as a Qi wireless charger capable of delivering up to 15W. In terms of performance, it lives up to best wireless phone chargers.

The front of the River Mini features a large digital display, power button, USB ports and the 12 volt accessory socket. AC outlets are located around one of the sides, along with a panel you can open to access the charging input sockets. The other side of the River Mini is devoid of features, as is the rear. The back of the device has a large cutout along the bottom that provides excellent grip. Although this powerhouse is small, it is a bit big and heavy like a palm football. Cutting goes a long way in solving this problem. It’s still a bit awkward to carry, but it’s very easy to handle.

Front and side view of the EcoFlow River Mini.
Jeremy Laukkonen/Digital Trends

The glossy black plastic case looks great, but I found it to be an absolute fingerprint magnet. I’m not a big fan of the glossy black plastic electronics for that reason, but it cleans up nicely with a microfiber cloth. The soft rubber ring around the top of the device suffers from a similar problem, as it seems to pick up dust that settles in the rubber, giving it a smudged look.

Setup and use

The EcoFlow River Mini on a table with accessories and a manual.
Jeremy Laukkonen/Digital Trends

The River Mini is ready to use, although you’ll probably need to charge it first. Mine arrived about 30% charged and was ready to go in about an hour. You can turn on the device by pressing a button on the front, then activate the desired output method by pressing a button near the relevant ports. From there, all you have to do is plug in your devices.

EcoFlow has an optional companion app that works with all of its power stations, and I highly recommend taking the time to install it alongside the River Mini. The River Mini even has a QR code sticker on the bottom. Scan the QR code, and it will take you directly to the app list in the App store Where google play.

The EcoFlow companion app is quite simple. The River Mini has a small button on the front marked IoT Reset, and by pushing it, the device broadcasts a Wi-Fi network. You can connect to this network with your phone, add the device in the EcoFlow app, then connect the River Mini to your local Wi-Fi network. Once this process is complete, you can monitor battery capacity and power consumption through the app, check each device’s connections, enable and disable ports, and even load firmware updates.

Sockets and Ports

Close up of the EcoFlow River Mini AC sockets.
Jeremy Laukkonen/Digital Trends

The EcoFlow River Mini includes two AC outlets, three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, and a 12V accessory outlet. It also has a Qi wireless charger on the top that supports fast wireless charging. The ports all worked as advertised and I was able to plug in a variety of devices for testing purposes. The only problem I encountered is that the two AC outlets are a bit crowded and there is only enough space to connect one grounded AC outlet at a time.

Several EcoFlow River Mini cables on a table.
Jeremy Laukkonen/Digital Trends

For charging inputs, the River Mini includes a connection for an AC power cable and another connection that can accept a 12V charger that you plug into your car’s cigarette lighter, accessory port, or solar charger. . It also includes all the cables you’ll need for each of these options, with an AC power cable, 12V accessory cable, and solar charger cable designed to plug into standard solar panel barrel connectors. If your solar panel does not use MC4 barrel connectors, you will need an adapter.

Battery and performance

The top view of EcoFlow River Mini.
Jeremy Laukkonen/Digital Trends

The River Mini contains a 210Wh lithium-ion battery capable of delivering 300W continuous power with surges of up to 600W. It has a pure sine wave inverter, which means it is suitable for the operation of delicate electronic and medical devices. For example, someone with sleep apnea could use the River Mini to run your CPAP machine on a camping trip without worrying about damaging your equipment.

Each of the USB-A ports is rated to deliver 5V at 2.4A, and the USB-C port can deliver up to 100W. The wireless charger is capable of delivering up to 15W. The 12V accessory socket is rated at 12.6V and 10A, which is enough to power most of the same gadgets you would normally plug into your car’s cigarette lighter socket. The USB-C port was capable of powering anything I threw at it, including a Nintendo Switch in dock mode and a MacBook Air M1.

The USB-C port was capable of powering anything I threw at it, including a Nintendo Switch in dock mode and a MacBook Air M1.

Since the River Mini’s battery is rather small, I found it to charge very quickly. It charged in about 90 minutes when plugged into the wall, and it posted a charge time of about three and a half hours when I plugged it into my truck. Do not leave it plugged into a vehicle without the engine running, as this may drain the vehicle’s battery to the point where the engine will not start.

My River Mini review unit did not include a solar panel, but I was able to plug it into my Jackery SolarSaga 100 using an adapter. The River Mini automatically detected the power input and went into charging mode, and I was able to charge the battery, in direct sunlight, in about three hours.

Price and availability

The EcoFlow River Mini has an MSRP of $349, but is usually priced between $229 and $299. You can buy the EcoFlow River Mini from Amazon and a number of other retailers, or directly from EcoFlow.

Our point of view

The EcoFlow River Mini attacks the portable battery market with flying colors. Competitors in this price range are generally a little more compact, but most also feature much weaker batteries, no AC power, or a single low-amperage AC output at maximum. With two AC power outlets, four USB ports, a 12V accessory socket, and fast wireless charging to boot, the River Mini covers all the bases.

The killer feature is that the River Mini has the same charging capabilities as the larger EcoFlow units, meaning you can plug it into a solar panel to maintain electricity during a power outage or when traveling off the beaten path. network. It doesn’t come with a solar panel, but it’s good to have the option to add one if you decide you need one.

Is there a better alternative?

the Anker 521 Portable Power Station is an option that covers most of the same basics as the River Mini. It has a similar battery capacity and the same number of AC outlets, but one less USB port. It also doesn’t have wireless charging for your phone, and it doesn’t come with any of the cables needed to hook up a solar panel. It has a nice handle that makes it easy to carry.

How long will it last?

The River Mini doesn’t look or feel as sturdy as other EcoFlow products I’ve used. The glossy black casing is thinner and more likely to crack under pressure, which can be a factor if you plan to subject the device to any kind of rough use on the road, be it camping, tailgating or something else. It’s designed to complete 500 cycles before the storage capacity drops to 80%, meaning you can empty and fully charge it every day for almost two years and still retain 80% of the original capacity. It’s likely to last well beyond that with gradually diminishing capacity, but EcoFlow backs it up with a two-year warranty against defects.

Should I buy it?

Yes, you should consider buying the EcoFlow River Mini. It is one of best portable power stations I’ve seen in this size, with features that beat most of the competition. The inclusion of a wireless charging pad more than makes up for the lack of a carrying handle, and I like that it has the same connections for solar power as its larger relatives. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for an entry-level device to keep on your desk to power your computer or networking gear, with the added bonus that you can power various USB devices and charge your phone wirelessly.

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