Review: Solio Hybrid 1000 Solar-Powered ReCharger

Solio Hybrid 1000
By Kevin Hill on 14 Apr 2008 01:34 am
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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.

Solio Hybrid 1000
Harness the sun to recharge your BlackBerry

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.

Solio Hybrid 1000
The device comes with bits for a variety of other devices including
the BlackBerry, iPod, GPS systems and Motorola and Nokia phones

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.

Solio Hybrid 1000
Solio are eco-friendly in their packaging, which is made
from recycled materials and is recyclable

Solio Hybrid 1000
The Solio Hybrid 1000 features a sturdy frame and clear
solar rechargable battery

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.

Solio Hybrid 1000
The rear of the device features the rubberized start button

Solio Hybrid 1000
The versatile and easy-to-use bit system is... easy to use!

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.

Technical specs

  • Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.71 x 2.6 or 198 x 68 x 18mm
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Ion 3.7V 1A cell
  • DC Input: 5-6V 0.4Ah 
  • Weight: 4.6 oz. or 131g

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.

Solio Hybrid 1000 Review Summary:
Solio Hybrid 1000 Solar-Powered Recharger
Ratings

Pros:

  • Light weight
  • Rugged
  • Easy to Use
  • Multiple charge pins

Cons:

  • Very basic indicators
  • Odd shaped carabineer
  • Need to have some patience if chargig the Solio via the sun and it's completely drained
Buy Now:
15 comments

Anonymous

People are getting crazy with this carbon footprint stuff. Its a giant hoax to generate tax revenue.

adambigge

And don't forget about artificially inflating oil prices... :-)

But seriously, I agree. This super "earth concious" attitude has had little positive effect on ANYTHING other than peoples sense of self importance.

If we want cheap energy with a low "carbon footprint" we need to go Nuclear. It is clean, safe (finally), and more efficent than what is currently out there. Plain and simple.

Hmmm...........nuclear powered Blackberries. Sweet!!

Anonymous

You think carbon footprint is a giant hoax? Tell that to the dying animals and melting polar ice caps.

I think this charger is a really cool idea, and might possibly be something that would be greatly helpful when camping.

Great idea.

Anonymous

Ok look, even if you reduce your lifetime carbon footprint .00000000000000000000000000001% by using this thing, how much more carbon is being emitted in the production of this thing compared to a 50 cent mass-produced ebay charger?! You lose.

Anonymous

I think this charger is a good idea to have in your 72 hour disaster kit, when power is at a premium. Considering the crazy and catastrophic weather the world has been seeing lately, you can't be too prepared (Who ever thought there would be a massive tornado in Atlanta?).
If you think carbon footprints are a hoax, you must have your heads buried in the sand. We have definitely impacted our environment and are starting reap the seeds we've sewn.

GolfTraxx

An interesting product. I like that it stores for charging later...

WRT carbon./environmental footprint, the economics of any technology is to measure how much of a carbon footprint it takes to get the product built and delivered to the final user, use it, and dispose of the product at EOL. This is the full environmental cost. Compare that to the cost of the other options (charging using a traditional wall/car charger - again adding up all environmental costs (including disposal.)

This is a VERY difficult thing to get a 'true' value and has been the source of debate on all tech. I won't say that this has a lower or higher total environmental cost as I don't have this data.

Anonymous

in the first picture it looks like the charger is twice, if not 3 times the size of the blackberry. this would mean it wouldnt be something you would clip onto your keychain?
is this true or is it just an illusion?

Kevin Michaluk

Yeah, it's a fairly big gadget - you wouldn't clip it to your keychain. More like your hiking backback or belt loop on hiking pants...more of an outdoors/rugged carabiner than one for your keychain.

Carbon dis-credit

I have had a Solio for a year now and never once been able to charge my phone. It hasn't worked one bit. And what's with charging the Solio with a wall charger? How is that environmentally sound? Don't waste your money.

Tree Hugger

Have had my solio 1000 for about six months now and it has worked well for me. Maybe you should have called in for warranty support if you had troubles with yours.

Anonymous

I'm tired of all this "green" trendy talk. We went through this in the 70's, it had more of the population behind it, and it got us nowhere. Just to piss off the "carbon footprint" people, I leave all my lights on in my house.

Anonymous

HA! I personally love that t-shirt that says "My carbon footprint is bigger then yours."..

There are so many people just freaking out about this stuff and i think it is all BS. Just Al Gore making money. Cant blame him for every thing though. After all he did invent this great thing called the Internet....

astrochimp

You know this device is neat and all, nut it kinda looks like a hunting knife!

Scarlet Berry

For real, I hate all these all of a sudden Green Nuts, the only reason I'd consider getting this is because I live in FL where it's super sunny. But come on, all these Green people only realize their wrong when it's already TOO late. Too little too late, people.

Xopher

I can see using this. Not because of carbon footprint. I go hiking and camping several times throughout the year. This means no power source while up in the mountains. I still might have cell coverage, or may be using my BB for GPS. By having the Solio out throughout the day, it'll charge just using the sun and I can charge my BB at night, and have a backup battery source if needed.