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Review of the SOLIO Solar Charger
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Posted: June 06 2010 at 11:20am | IP Logged Quote weaponeer

The SOLIO solar charger, is designed to use the sun to charge 3200+ devices (not at the same time) such as cell phones, PDAís, MP3ís etc.

Now most people assume that to use the device to charge your dead or dying cell phone you would open the SOLIO up like a flower to expose the solar cells to the sun, attach one of the adapter tips (so you can plug it into your phone), and then stick it in the sun and let it charge the ďgreenĒ way.

Well, itís much better than that because you donít know when your cell phone will die (such as night time), you see the SOLIO is really a hybrid charger, meaning it has a built in Long life internal 1650Amh Lithium-Ion Battery. So when you put the SOLIO in the sun it charges its own battery, and you can charge your device from that battery.

Now best of all it typically can charge a device not once, but a couple times (depending on device), and because itís charging from a battery it charges quickly.  Otherwise you would have to keep the solar panels connected for many hours just to charge a device from the Sun.

Itís easy to use; you just open it up and stick it in the sun.  You can even use a pen or a stick, to place it in the hole to angle the unit towards the sun for the best possible charge.

Now keep in mind it will take most of the day to charge your SOLIO depending on weather conditions and it works best in strong sunlight. For those living in the city, it comes with a slam suction cup so you can stick it to a window to charge during the day, and for the back packers, and campers, you can stick it on a tent pole or tie it to the outside of your pack to charge during the day or while hiking.

One unique feature is you can also charge the unit via USB, so itís always charged ready to go, and the internal battery will hold a charge for about a year.

Now I have used this model for a year now, and it works just like the website states, and I was able to get 2.5 cell phone charges from my SOLIO before needing to charge it again.  While traveling I would place it on the dash and let it charge as I was driving, and use that rather than carrying 15 power cords for all my devices. It works well, itís compact, and not very heavy at all, so itís great for camping.

The stats say Charge output 5-6V, 800mA output range, 4.8 Watts. And will power an Apple iPod Nano for 56 Playtime Hrs per SOLIO charge or a Blackberry for 6 Talk time Hrs per SOLIO charge. Itís size is 4.7 x 1.3 x 2.5 in 120 x 61 x 34 mm, and weight is 158 g.

The only drawback is it takes 9 Hours+ to charge the SOLIO by the Sun or USB, and 4.7 hrs by power outlet. The SOLIO I have is made of ABS / Polycarbonate, and itís pretty rugged.

Yellow Case Not Included

The SOLIO I have is one of 4 SOLIO models being sold (mine is the classic).  While I like my SOLIO and its great when you are away from home or office, itís not a very practical daily charger.  Itís best used when you need to have an added charge, or to top off your device, and it really does work really well in the field and in remote locations.

COST:  Approx.  $50 to $80 depending on model and where you buy it.

I like it, itís affordable, and itís great to keep with you when you are traveling or camping. You have a backup power supply for all your devices.  Its only limitation is the time needed to charge it.

Normally thatís not a big deal because you leave it in the sun all day and only use it to charge your device when needed, the rest of the time itís charging. Keep in mind you could run into several days of bad weather and little sun, so you may run out of power before you can fully charge again, but you still have it for normal emergencies and can charge your cell phone during power outages.  I keep mine in a small first aid case I have that fits it perfectly, and I normally leave the SOLIO fully charged and in my B.O.B. Pack ready to go if ever needed.

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