Owners of power stations were still smiled at a few years ago. In the meantime, however, the powerbanks in large format have also arrived in the masses. There are many reasons for this. On the one hand, it is becoming increasingly popular to go on vacation with a camper or van in domestic areas. In this case, the compact battery storage units are considered a practical power source for all conceivable electrical devices. Furthermore, the currently exploding energy costs ensure that many people want more independence from the conventional power supply. Since the batteries of modern power stations can be charged without an external power supply with the help of suitable solar panels, power outages should no longer be a problem. In the AlphaESS BlackBee 1000 test, we want to take a closer look at such an emergency power generator 2.0 today. In doing so, we’ll not only take a close look at performance, but also ease of use.
Power stations are becoming more and more popular
The BlackBee 1000 is a first from AlphaESS. Admittedly, we know the company as an expert for smart storage solutions. However, the manufacturer itself has not yet launched a power station in this format. This is no coincidence. In view of the rapidly increasing demand for battery storage that combines portability with rich capacity, AlphaESS is now also entering this segment.
Connoisseurs in the field of battery manufacturing will know that the company bases its expertise in different battery solutions. For example, AlphaESS is one of the big players in home solar, along with Huawei and Tesla. The manufacturer now wants to prove that this is also possible in a small format with its Powerstation. A practical advantage of the BlackBee 1000 is that it theoretically makes its user independent of the home power supply. After all, it can be charged with the help of a suitable solar system.
|Nominal capacity||1,000 watts|
|Net connections||12 ports|
|Battery type||Li-ion battery with 1,036 Wh|
|ambient temperature||0°C to 40°C (loading).
-10°C to 40°C (discharging)
|Dimensions and weight||340 x 255 x 270 mm and 10.2 kg|
|DC input||12 – 24 V (max. 180 W)|
|USB-C input||PD100 W (5 V / 3 A; 9 V / 3 A; 12 V / 3 A; 15 V / 3 A; 20 V / 5 A)|
|Nominal output power||1000 W|
|Peak output power||2000 W|
|AC output||230 V / 50Hz|
|AUX output||1 * 12 V / 10 A|
|USB-C output||Output 1: PD100 W (5 V / 3 A; 9 V / 3 A; 12 V / 3 A; 15 V / 3 A; 20 V / 5 A).
Output 2: 5 V / 3 A
|USB-A output||Output 1: 5 V / 2.4 A
Output 2: 5 V / 2.4 A
|Wireless charging function||2x wireless charging (10 W each)|
Scope of delivery
In the package there is not only the AlphaESS BlackBee 1000 itself. On top of that, the manufacturer includes the matching charging cables (USB-C to USB-C, car charging cable, power adapter incl. charging cable). The whole thing is rounded off with the user manual and warranty card.
AlphaESS BlackBee 1000 review: design and workmanship
- Color scheme is reminiscent of bee
- Great workmanship
- Square shape with rounded corners
- Practical carrying handle
At first glance, it is clear that the AlphaESS BlackBee 1000 wants to be a real working machine that is up to all challenges. This can already be concluded from the robust housing. However, the name is also reflected in the design. After all, the combination of the colors black and yellow clearly reminds us of the small insect. The shape is simple and timeless. Typically Powerstation, the BlackBee 1000 comes in the shape of a cuboid. This proves to be a great advantage, especially when taking it on a camping trip. After all, it can be easily stored in the trunk like a Tetris block in good old Tetris fashion.
Its dimensions of 342 x 264 x 254 mm in combination to a weight of 10.2 kg also ensure that it can be carried from A to B comfortably. Fortunately, the manufacturer gives the case rounded corners. Thus, you don’t have to worry about bumping into sharp edges or causing serious damage with it. The case does not only look good, but is also manufactured to a very high standard. AlphaESS relies on an extremely resistant plastic for the most part. However, the storage solution experts have somehow managed to make the otherwise hard plastic wonderfully grippy. This feels very good. The rubber coating on the bottom also prevents the power station from slipping back and forth.
A busy bee
- 1000 watts of power
- 1,036 watt-hour battery capacity
The fact that the power station in the bee design offers an astonishing amount of power despite its compact dimensions can already be seen in the name. Thus, the number 1000 stands for nothing less than the maximum wattage to which the BlackBee 1000 is capable. Consequently, up to 1000 watts of power can be drawn from the three connections, each with 230 volts. This puts it roughly on par with the EcoFlow River Pro (test), which offers 1200 watts of power. The integrated battery offers a capacity of a remarkable 1036 Wh. The competition from EcoFlow cannot keep up here with just 720 Wh. AlphaESS has thus clearly positioned itself in the midfield of power stations and created an all-rounder that combines performance and battery capacity with a compact design. A look at the competition makes it clear that it can be done differently.
For example, with the EcoFlow DELTA Pro (test), you get 4,500 watts of maximum power and 3,600 Wh of battery capacity. However, this then also weighs a proud 45 kg. At the other end of the scale are extremely handy power stations like the Jackery Explorer 240 (test), which weighs only 3 kg, but only offers a maximum of 400 watts of peak power. If you can’t decide for one or the other, you can choose the compromise in the form of the AlphaESS BlackBee 1000. AlphaESS also wants to step it up a notch in terms of performance. The BlackBee 1000 will be followed by the BlackBee 2000. The manufacturer also promises double the performance. However, this performance increase will also have a negative impact on the weight. So before buying a power station, always keep in mind how mobile the practical energy storage device should be.
Large spotlight on the back brings light into the darkness
- Headlight with three-stage light intensity
The fact that the BlackBee 1000 does not take up much space does not only have to do with its compact dimensions. The arrangement of the connectors also contribute to this. Finally, manufacturer AlphaESS positions them all at the front. This means that the power station can be placed with its back to the wall without any problems. But not only the ports can be found at the front. On top of that, there is a practical display that shows the most important status information, such as battery capacity and drawn or supplied power.
Looking at the back of the Powerstation, it quickly becomes clear that it should also feel at home on construction sites. After all, there is a huge spotlight here, which AlphaESS has divided into two parts. This should not only bring light into the darkness in dark carcasses, but can also be used comfortably as lighting on the camping site. Really cozy the light is not, but if you ever need to recognize something, the spotlight is worth its weight in gold.
AlphaESS BlackBee 1000 Test: A Master of Connectivity
- Connectors for up to 12 devices
- 2x Qi charging pad on the top
- External power adapter
For a power station to be truly viable, it needs to be able to offer a variety of connectivity options. And that is definitely the case with the BlackBee 1000. So you have here the possibility to connect up to 12 electrical devices at the same time. The selection of different connections leaves nothing to be desired. On the one hand, you will find three classic sockets with 230 volts. With the help of the USB-C ports, you can easily charge your smartphone, laptop or Bluetooth speaker.
I find it really cool that AlphaESS installs two Qi charging surfaces here. These enable wireless charging of the smartphone with a power of 10 watts. You can charge the BlackBee 1000 either via power cord, USB-C or with the help of the matching solar panel. If you want, you can also charge the integrated batteries via several inputs in parallel.
According to the manufacturer, you should be able to charge the 1036 Wh battery up to 1000 times. So in terms of longevity, there’s nothing to complain about. I am only a bit displeased about the power supply design. Instead of integrating it into the case, AlphaESS relies on an external design. This may make the BlackBee 1000 smaller and solve typical problems with ventilation, but I would have found an integrated solution with a simple power cable nicer.
AlphaESS BlackBee 1000 review: practical test
In theory, the AlphaESS BlackBee 1000 already sounds like the perfect power station. But how does it do in practice? Here I can reassure you. You can feel at any time that manufacturer AlphaESS can fully play out its expertise in the field of storage solutions. This is at least true if you want to connect conventional devices like notebooks, smartphones or speakers. In any case, the power station never proved to be overwhelmed with my electronic devices.
The specifications AlphaESS makes on its own website also seem to be correct in this regard. For example, you should be able to fully charge a Macbook 12-15 times. Two people should be able to hold out for a camping weekend without any problems. Certainly, the BlackBee would also easily cope with a powerful gaming computer in view of an output power of up to 1000 watts. On the other hand, if you are in the trade and want to use the rugged power station to run power-hungry machines, you should pay attention to the maximum output power of 1000 watts.
Here, the compact power station should certainly be overwhelmed with one or the other. A simple impact drill shouldn’t be a problem, though. That’s why we don’t see this as a minus point. Rather, “what you see is what you get” applies in this area. Those who need more power will have to look elsewhere or wait for the BlackBee 2000.
Easy to use
The operation of the AlphaESS BlackBee 1000 is foolproof. Here, the manufacturer relies on purism and does without a lot of bells and whistles. For example, you won’t find a smartphone app here, as the devices from the competitor EcoFlow have on offer. Instead, everything happens on the device itself. That means that you always have everything in view via the display. In addition to output and input power, you can also see the remaining battery status. You don’t get touch control either. To turn on the display, simply click on the info button. After a few seconds, it automatically turns off again. The only exception is when you have activated outputs or are charging the power station. Then the display stays on.
For example, this is also the best way to plan how long you’ll be able to power your speakers and lighting for the barbecue. I like this purist approach. Others, on the other hand, might miss the gimmick via a suitable app. However, there is one exception to the uncomplicated control. This concerns the two Qi chargers on the upper side. Although they are supposed to provide a high degree of comfort via wireless design, they do the opposite because you have to activate them every time you use them. For this, you have to press the info button twice.
AlphaESS BlackBee 1000 review: conclusion
The AlphaESS BlackBee 1000 is a high-quality manufactured power station that comes with a robust and cool design. In view of its high performance and enduring battery capacity, it is ideally suited for home barbecues, but also for the weekend camping trip. The possibility of being able to charge it independently from the electricity via solar input is extremely practical. Another big advantage is certainly the expertise of AlphaESS. Since the company is well versed in the construction of storage solutions, you can expect great support here in the future.
At around 1000 euros, the BlackBee 1000 is clearly oriented towards the price range of the competition in the all-round power station segment. Actually, there are only two small shortcomings that I personally see. First, I do not understand why the two Qi charging surfaces have to be activated manually, and second, I would have liked to see an integrated power supply. The missing app, on the other hand, does not bother me, but it might annoy one or the other. All in all, it is a very good power station that is ideally suited for many areas of use.