I was recently sent a couple of Mobile Solar Chargers for review. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but my first impression when I opened the box was, ooooh they are sleek and really quite lovely looking!
And look – a light thingy on a flexible stalk!
I eagerly tore into the box to read the instructions on how to get up and running, and hit a wall. As jogblog has already documented on her blog to say the instructions are a little confusing would be an understatement. They have clearly be written by someone for whom English is, at best, their second language, but I would hazard a guess that it could be their 3rd or 4th. I was quite surprised at this, as the website and email communication I have recieved is all fine.
Anyway, I decided not to let the language barrier prevent me from trying them out, so after reading the instructions for both chargers (the one pictured is a Lite Mobile Charger 1500Mah, I also recieved the Pocket mobile charges 2500Mah), I deduced that both needed 3 cycles of a mains charging followed by a full discharge. I duly did this for both, then sent the 2500Mah charger off to V with a friend to test, whilst I kept the lite one to test over a weekend spent mostly reading my kindle in the garden.
My charger was really easy to use. There’s a button on the back that you press to see how much charge is left. It has a little switch on the side which you set to off to charge it up, on to charge your gadget or LED for the light. It couldn’t be simpler to use – the charge lead has a USB at one end so when you are charging the device you plug into a PC or plug, and when you are using it to charge your gadgets, the USB goes in the charger and there are thingamijigs for the other end so you can charge an iphone/kindle/other things that I don’t have. You can see at all times how much charge is left and it actually holds enough power to fully load an iphone (3gs), and charge a kindle to 75%.
It does take HOURS to recharge, but then as it says on their website:
This is free power, but if you compare the size of solar panels needed on a house, these small portable chargers are efficient. It is worth remembering that solar panels work most efficiently when they are in direct contact with the sun. This means not behind glass on a windowsill or dashboard or with their protective covering still in place.
Which is a very good point, although I’m not quite sure how to get the charger into DIRECT contact with the sum – perhaps hire a modern day Lazarus?
Well, not ugly really, but the pocket charger I gave to my friend didn’t work so well. Actually I’ll rephrase that, I think it doesn’t work so well with apple products. She plugged her iPhone 4 in, it charged for about 10 minutes then stopped. so she pressed the button, which we think turns it on (instructions not so good for that one) and it started charging but then stopped again. I tried it with my iPhone and it did the same, but when I tried my Kindle, it charged that up fine. Wierd.
In summary, I would highly recommend the Lite Mobile Charger 1500MAH as a portable power device. I intend to leave it in my car (it comes with handy suction caps!) to use as an emergency charge, and I will take it on holiday to keep my kindle charged as that’s going to see a lot of action. Not so sure about the other one, I would suggest that it’s OK as long as you don’t want to charge anything starting with an i – it seems they are incompatible.
They do have chargers with higher power outout – see here for the full range – Happy shopping!