When it comes to summer and gaming, I find that there needs to be a compromise somewhere along the line. After all, the Great British summer is hit and miss at the best of times, therefore any pleasant nights that we have, we tend to want to be outdoors. While making the most of the warm evenings, enjoying a beverage, eating and socialising with family and friends is pretty much my summer dream, how about a bit of outdoor gaming to throw into the mix?
What if I told you that there was a way that you could enjoy gaming anywhere you wanted? Regardless of being close to a plug socket?
Behold the EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max Portable Power Station!
Off-grid gaming….to the max!
When I was asked if I would like to test out a Portable Power Station that could output 230v, I was in awe. With my main job as a building services engineer with an electrical bias, as well as a gamer, this needed to be seen to be believed.
With a battery capacity of 2048Wh, lifting the DELTA 2 Max out of the box was always going to be a two-handed affair. I was thankful to see two handles!
Weighing in at 23kg it is surprisingly 30% lighter than close rivals according to the marketing literature. Even at 23kg, you would want some help transporting this futuristic piece of tech about, that’s for sure.
Rocking a two-tone dark grey and silver finish, there are things to look at on all sides of the power station. This was a bit like handing a child a puzzle box, I did not know where to start exploring first!
On the front there is the on/off button at the bottom, towards the top is the main screen that tells you what the power station is doing as well as how much charge it has left. Below are two USB-A ports, both allowing for 5V, 2.4A, and 12W maximum per port. In addition, there are two USB-A fast charge ports that offer an increased voltage on top of the 5V to push those amps home with 9v@2A and [email protected], giving a max output of 18W. To complement, there are an additional two USB-C ports that can output a stepped voltage from 5V to 20V at 5A with a maximum of 100W per port. Some brilliant versatility there!
On the back
On the rear of the DELTA 2 Max, there are four 230V 3-pin AC sockets. These allow you to plug in up to 4 items, totalling a maximum demand of 2400W. There is some clever tech built in to ensure that when devices start-up, their surge does not cause a problem. 4800W surge is good enough to cover most appliances including a refrigerator compressor or, heaven forbid, a CRT monitor.
If you do so require, you can drive a bit more from the DELTA 2 Max if required using the X-Boost function. This allows you to pull up to 3100W, at the sacrifice of a faster discharge rate and a warmer battery.
I’m still not quite done with the outputs. As well as AC and USB outputs, there is also a 12.6V 10A car power output that runs at a maximum of 126W. Being able to utilise the DC output gives greater efficiency when discharging the battery as you are not wasting power through the conversion of DC to AC. The DELTA 2 Max seriously caters to all eventualities. Just make sure to pack the correct cables for your devices!
Ok, so onto inputs. The DELTA 2 Max can be quietly charged using power from the wall socket, reaching 80% charge in 53mins and only omitting 30dB of noise.
This James Bond-esque piece of tech just keeps on surprising me. With a car output port present, I guess it is no real surprise to learn that you can charge the power station from the car. But how about solar panels?
Although sadly my test subject did not have them to play with, the EcoFlow solar array allows you to plug in 2 portable panels, or 4 bifacial panels that can help provide up to 1000W of charging to the DELTA 2 Max. Fantastic if you are away and need an energy top-up. This is most efficient (and free) as it is DC to DC, therefore no AC conversion to lose power and heat through!
Coupled with the additional PowerStreamBalcony solar system, you can also plug the DELTA 2 Max into your wall socket and any surplus energy generated can be fed back into your house, hopefully reducing your electricity bill!
Surely there isn’t much left to talk about for design? Wrong Mr Bond. Walk this way.
Should you be wanting to maximise your gaming time, great outdoors enjoyment, or even have that ever-ready UPS, there is the ability to link further batteries into the foray.
Using the included cable you can link to another DELTA 2 Max Smart Extra Battery and effectively double your battery capacity. This can be carried out twice to expand to a whopping 6144Wh.
When it comes to the actual heart of the DELTA 2 Max, the battery is the most important element. All of us have probably suffered from battery fatigue that leads to faulty and inconsistent discharge rates. Well here, EcoFlow has used a LiFePO4 battery (LFP). What is it? Glad you asked.
Rechargeable batteries are an area that is constantly evolving, especially due to the advancement of electric cars. While you may be familiar with NiCd, NiMH and LiOn batteries, each has its own flaw, depending on how they are to be used. Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4), is currently the safest lithium battery available on the market. With no maintenance, a wide temperature range, long life span and high discharge ability, you do, however, pay a premium for it.
Science lesson over, the DELTA 2 Max can achieve 3000 cycles to 80+% capacity and is covered by a 5-year warranty. EcoFlow feels that this is long enough to span at least 10 years of usage and that it is “6x longer than power stations with a similar output and capacity.” Quite the boast if true!
Ok, so I have covered inputs, outputs, and battery life..surely that’s it? No hang on, there is also Bluetooth and wifi!
Through the EcoFlow app, available on Android and iPhone, you can not only monitor your DELTA 2 Max’s performance but also control it.
You can tell it at what time to charge up, whether to prioritise solar panels, when to discharge as well as how the power station is used, i.e. as a pass-thru UPS.
When powering devices, the app can show you how much power each outlet is using. Useful for understanding the demand of your tech and adjusting how you use them accordingly.
Using the app is a very simple affair whereby notifications will also keep you notified on battery capacity if need be. Of course, if you prefer not to use the app, you can always take a look at the screen of the DELTA 2 Max however you would lose some of the scheduling functionality.
With the hot summer nights we have been having, I could not resist the urge to set up the projector and screen in the garden along with the Nintendo Switch. Powered by the mighty DELTA 2 Max, it was refreshing not to have a long trailing lead coming from the house.
Getting your gaming night all up and running is as simple as you think. Literally, plug in the two 3-pin plugs into the AC sockets on the rear of the power station, and turn it on. Instantly you have power as well as both the built-in screen and app that flicker to life and show you how much power you are using, your capacity, and usage time remaining.
With both of the devices running, I was drawing a steady 103W. This gave me around 16 hours of gaming time! After a couple of hours of MarioKart 8 and Mario Party we decided to watch Extraction 2 on Netflix. Due to the low loading, the power station was inaudible in terms of fan noise and after 4 hours of playing games and watching a movie we had only used 25% of the battery. There are fans that can kick in if the temperatures start to increase.
While the freedom to be able to both game and watch a movie completely off-grid really excited me, I was intrigued to see how the DELTA 2 Max also faired as a UPS system. I decided to plug in my BT home hub, PC, monitor, desktop speakers, LED lighting system and anything else that came with a plug and was found to be part of the PC rig. Much to my wife’s annoyance, I then switched off the power to the house. The power station, previously on trickle charge, seamlessly took over.
Reviewing this power station has been quite bittersweet for me as I once lost both my PC and my HDD backup in a power cut. I subsequently lost all of my pictures of my children as babies. Something I could never get back.
Powered by battery, and in a nerdy way, I quite enjoyed seeing the usage of my system. While typing this review I was drawing 185W, and could do so for over 7 hours. However, if I was to load Diablo 4 it rapidly ramped up to 420W, and I suddenly only had just over 3 hours left of my remaining battery capacity. While this was expected due to the increased loading on the graphics card, it was still interesting to see how much power was being used. With energy bills as they are, a smart meter is all well and good for your overall usage, but where are the real energy guzzlers at?!
The EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max is an incredible piece of kit that oozes versatility and is there whenever you need it. While devices such as these may be looked upon as the sort of things doomsday preppers may invest in, the system itself offers a lot more.
From outdoor gaming in the glorious weather that we have been having, to offroad adventures with a few creature comforts, the DELTA 2 Max has it covered. I love the idea of being able to recharge using the vehicle or a mini solar panel array.
Having protection from power losses appeals to me at a time when we have experienced a fair few disconnects recently, ensuring that you do not lose any work and more importantly that your machine does not suffer a malfunction from the sudden loss of power.
At a price tag of £1899, it is a very premium product, however, the build quality and resilience the DELTA 2 Max offers opens a whole new world of fun and security.
For what it does and how it does it, the EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max scores an impressive Thumb Culture Platinum Award.
Disclaimer: A product was received in order to write this review.