Use the Sun to Charge Your BlackBerry!
It seems apt that I am writing this with Earth Day coming up on April 22nd. Green is all the rage these days and while even Al Gore uses a BlackBerry there is no getting away from the fact that they do run on electricity. So, while it might be the size of a squirrel’s paw, the little device does leave a carbon footprint.
Thankfully, there is a solution for those who want to have as little impact on the environment as possible – the Solio Hybrid 1000, a portable solar panel recharger.
Whether you think of it as a good or bad thing, your BlackBerry is functional almost everywhere these days, even in areas where you may not have access to a power source, but as long as you have access to the sun your best resort may just be the Solio recharger. Solio are clearly targeting some of their marketing to the developing world where reliable power is an issue. Its mobility also fits well with the mobile cell generation who crave portability and environmental sustainability.
The Solio 1000 is a universal charger and comes with a variety of tips that makes the recharger compatible with a number of different phone, MP3 players and GPS devices such as a BlackBerry, iPod, and various mobile systems such as Motorola, Nokia and Garmin.
The universality of the interchangeable tip cable system means you don’t have to lug around a bunch of different recharging cables, which is a handy feature.
The Solio Hybrid 1000 Solar-Powered BlackBerry Recharger
With an eye to the rougher areas of the developing world, Solio has engineered a pretty rugged unit. It can take some knocking and dropping and will keep ticking. It doesn’t have any easy to break or clog up knobs or buttons and everything is encased in a solid plastic case. A carabineer type hook allows the charger to be hung from tent wires, car mirrors, backpack straps or pretty much anything else with little chance of it coming loose.
Despite its tough feel, the Solio 1000 is thin and lightweight. It’s about twice the length of a Blackberry Curve and about as thick.
The unit is extremely simple to use. The instructions that come with the unit are pretty basic although impossible to figure out. Thankfully the process of charging your Berry is pretty straightforward. Pick the correct cable plug in and begin recharging. The Solio itself takes a bit of time to charge itself up to begin with. It can be charged in the sun, which takes typically about 12 hours first time out of the box. The Solio 1000 also has a tip that fits into your USB port on your computer or laptop and you can charge from that, which takes considerably less time. As with any solar device, the amount of available sunlight, the time of year and interference of shadows can affect the amount of time it takes to charge.
The Solio 1000 indicates its available charge from the internal battery with a simple green light indicator. Pressing the start button will flash between one and four flashes; four indicating a full charge, three for 75% etc. It is good to check as the device may have sat in the sun for several hours but only shows 50% charged. IT is still worth trying out because 70% charged is more than enough to power up a cell phone. The internal battery can store energy for up to a year and the company claims the battery is good for more than 500 charges.
The Bottom Line
The Solio Hybrid Solar Charger H1000 is a really useful device if you are environmentally conscious or plan to be in an area with little or no power source – the Kalahari Desert or camping in the backwoods. The multiple tips make it a versatile unit if you have a number of different devices to recharge and they are easy to change. The unit is rugged and solid and very easy to use.
Charging is easy although the instructions were little help. I found it easy to charge from my computer and from the sun, although it was hard to gauge when the unit was sufficiently charged. The Solio Hybrid 1000 is available from ShopCrackBerry.com for $79.95.