In the past year, there has been one product to grace this space that has proven itself indispensable time and again. This product isn’t necessarily the most stylish thing around, but that hardly matters. Sometimes the beauty of something is a direct result of how it performs.
This product is the rechargeable portable battery bank, and for the modern gadget-laden man, it is a thing of beauty. Oakland-based Solio, however, believes that products of this sort would be so much better if, in addition to being charged by the electricity that comes out of the wall outlet, a battery bank could be charged by the sun.
Ten years ago, Solio imagined that useful solar battery products could be made small enough to fit into one’s pocket, and so they went about making that happen. Today, they have a full lineup of innovative and versatile solar-powered products that look to expand upon the freedom already afforded by the advent of portable battery banks. Let’s take a look, shall we?
- Clip-Mini (rechargeable flashlight): Five illumination modes (100%, 50%, 10%, Flashing & S.O.S.), high-efficiency solar panel, Lithium Polymer battery, 8.4 lumens of max light output, 5-7 hour charging time from the sun, or 1 hour via USB, will hold a charge for a year so you can always be prepared – $25
- Classic 2: Battery pack and solar charger, 3200mAh Lithium Polymer battery, fixed discharge rate of 5V, 1000mA, 6 hour 15 minute charging time via USB or wall outlet, 8-10 hours from the sun – a fully charged Classic 2 will provide 15 hours of talk time on the average smartphone and 137 hours of music from an iPod Touch – $100
- Xcellerator+Hub: Battery pack and solar charger component system, Hub contains a 2000mAh Lithium Polymer battery with a 4.5 hour charge time from USB and a 4-6 hour charge time from the sun, the Xcellerator solar panel can be used to shorten the charging times of any of the Solio solar products, generally cutting charging time in half – $100
The great solar experiment begins today. For the next few weeks, I am going to do my best to keep my phone (HTC Vivid PH39100) charged by the sun only. This will likely prove a bit challenging since solar panels charge most efficiently on perfectly sunny days with no zero obstructions, including glass. Finding a place to charge the battery packs is one thing, finding a place to do it where the gear won’t get stolen will surely be another.
Stay tuned for the reviews of these Solio products. For more information or to make a purchase click here. Solio products are also available at REI, Radio Shack and Sprint stores.