There are times in your life when you need a little (or a lot) of power. That’s OK if you are near a power outlet, but often you can be off the grid, perhaps on a hiking trail, a beach, being chased by the CIA, or possibly Mars. No matter where, it’s possible you’re going to have to make a call, or watch a video, and you’ll need power.
Enter the Gomadic SunVolt Solar Charger. Now before you get grand ideas that you can use the SunVolt as a replacement for your local nuclear power plant you need to remember a few things about power output consumption. 10 Watts of power is enough to power your iPad, but it is not enough to power a typical laptop (90 Watts). So the SunVolt is perfect for your smartphone, MP3 player and tablet, but not so great for powering your fridge. Check out my video review below.
- On a clear day, the standard SunVolt charger can produce up to 10 watts while the larger SunVolt Max gives 15 watts. Generic gadget power requirements – iPad 10 watts, LED light 1-5 watts, Flux Capacitor for time travel 1.21 GigaWatts.
- The SunVolt does not necessarily need bright sun in order to produce energy, but it does help. It will work on a cloudy day (although with less efficiency), however it will not work under a standard light (fluorescent, incandescent, or LED).
- Using a variety of charging tips you can charge 30pin iPhones/iPads, Blackberry’s, various other gadgets and smartphones and most rechargeable speakers. Gomadic offers a variety of adapter tips for charging up additional devices for $5.95.
- You can charge up to two devices at one time using a supplied Y cable…. although clearly the more devices you add the slower things will charge.
- The optional battery pack uses rechargeable lithium batteries to store 3400mAh of power. This is enough to power up a standard smart phone about two times.
- The case is both rugged and attractive. It provides a variety of slots to help you maximize the SunVolt’s angle to the sun. The more direct the sunlight the better your charger will work. A nice sized pocket is provided on the front which is useful for storing your tips, battery pack, and frogs.
- Solar chargers of this type are typically better thought of as ‘trickle’ chargers, rather than being able to quickly power devices up from flat to full. So if possible charge your gadget up at home before you set off, and use the solar power to keep the device battery topped up on the move (or use a battery pack).
Conclusion: A well designed and robust solar charger which delivers power when needed, and comes with nice touches like the protective case and dual device charge cable. We advise you buy the optional battery pack to get the best use from the product.
SunVolt – $99.95
SunVolt Max = $129.95
Additional Tips = $5.95
High Capacity battery Pack = $39.95