Solar charging has almost become the method of choice of charging gadgets on the move. With products like the Solio Hybrid, if you live somewhere sunny it’s an easy decision to make. But what about in less sunny climes? Well in the UK, Echarger has launched theMobile Solar Charger.
Unlike the Solio, it doesn’t have an internal battery so you’ll need to put in up to three rechargeable batteries and then unfold the case to reveal the solar panels. Then it’s up to the sun. You can also use it to charge the batteries through your computer using the USB cable, but I went for six hours in the British sun. And it was a lovely day so I hoped for good results.
It was recommended that I use 1600mAh rechargeable batteries for best performance but as I’ve only got 2700mAh ones I had to make do. The charger comes with a few connectors – Nokia, Sony Ericsson, iPod, USB and one for the Nintendo DS so that’s what I decided to try and charge with it afterwards. I left it alone to charge although you can play it while its charging (but I didn’t) and the three batteries gave one and a half hours of charging. This translated to almost an hour and a quarter of game play on the DS before it died – and that was with full sound and the screen brightness at maximum. Which is pretty good really.
The downside is that although the charger is portable in size, you can’t really use it on the move – it doesn’t attach to a backpack like the Solio Hybrid for example. Also as a piece of electronics it’s not made from environmentally friendly materials, but using rechargeable batteries powered by the sun is better than using the mains or normal batteries.
The Mobile Solar Charger costs £30 from Echarger.