The other day I was asked if I’d like to review a solar charger battery pack for portable devices that comes from Mobile Solar Chargers. At first I was a little dubious because I’ve seen some battery packs and solar chargers that have been rather badly constructed/have a flimsy design and provide as much power a lemon-powered battery. But as I had just gotten a new phone that likes battery power, I thought I’d give it a shot… and I was genuinely happy that I did!
What arrived in the post was the Executive Mobile Charger, with a nice and hefty 6000Mah battery. In the pack came the charger (obviously) and a short USB lead with interchangeable connections that would suit most devices, such as an iDevice (iPod, iPad, etc.) and mini USB and a micro USB.
The device itself feels very solidly built and I didn’t feel like it would break as soon as I picked it up. It weighs (according to my kitchen scales) about 185g, which is actually quite light when you consider that it’s three or four times the capacity of your regular phone battery.
Using the device really couldn’t be simpler… Basically just plug in the lead in the ‘USB-out’ port and in to the device of your choosing and push the on/test button. That’s it! I tested it charging my Galaxy S3, a Sansa Clip MP3 player, a Samsung i8100 phone and an iPad2 – all started charging without any problems at all… and I still had juice left in the solar charger! I knew I had juice left because the charger has four handy lights on the front, each representing 25% battery power and you can press the on/test button to show you how much is left.
Eventually I did wipe out the power in the charger and wanted to give it a boost of energy quite quickly. Thankfully there are three ways you can charge the device itself… There’s a micro-USB in port that allows you to charge it from any charger you have that has that kind of connector (a mobile phone charger, for example), so that’s what I initially used. However, you could just use the supplied USB lead and plug it in to your computer and charge that way. I tried that, too, and it worked perfectly. Obviously, though, one of the biggest draws of this charging device is that it contains a solar panel for charging via sunlight. The solar panel itself covers the majority of the device front side, but again I was dubious about its potential. Some solar panels can be a bit picky and like really direct sunlight before working very well. Again my doubts were sent away! I was able to get it charging from within about three foot of a window on an overcast day. The solar charging is only a trickle charge, so would take 45+ hours to fully charge under direct sunlight… But, hey! It’s free recharging, right?
I’ve only had the charger a couple days, but it really proved its worth this morning when my house experienced a power cut for a few hours and I had forgotten to charge the iPad during the night. All I had to do was plug in the solar battery charger (which I had remembered to charge up) and it meant that I could still do what I needed. And I was able to give my phone a boost on the train journey in to work after my son had used it for a fair bit of gaming this morning. Wonderful!
So all in all I was very impressed with the device. To break it down, this is what I liked:
- Even though it’s predominantly plastic, I felt the build quality was pretty good
- Very simply to use – I could even trust my dad to be able to do it!
- Great battery capacity
- Multiple recharging options
- Solar panel worked without having to be outside or in strong sunlight
- The charger turns off automatically when the device is disconnected so as not to drain the battery
But with the good should come the bad… But really, for what this device is there really wasn’t much bad about it. However:
- The back of the device is quite scratched up already from me putting it down on the desks, in my bag, etc.
- The two silicon feet on the device to, presumably, stop it sliding around on the desk don’t really do much to stop that as only one of the feet really touches the desk on the unit I have
- I wish it came with a carabiner so I could hook it on to a bag or something while out walking so it can charge up via the solar panel
They are, though, quite minor negative points.
All in all, I’m very happy with the device and think it will be exceptionally useful!