Solio Classic Hybrid Charger

Review: Solio Classic Hybrid Charger for BlackBerry

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Solio Classic Hybrid Charger Review

Recently a friend introduced me to geocaching. If you're not familiar with it, geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache's existence and location online at geocaching.com. Anyone with a GPS device can then try to locate the geocache.

Geocachers have traditionally used dedicated handheld GPS receivers. A typical model runs all day on expendable or rechargeable AA batteries, is water and shock resistant to military standards, and can be loaded with location data via a connection to a computer that's connected to the internet. Handheld GPS receivers range in price from $100 to $400, which is in the same price range as a BlackBerry Smartphone. Since most BlackBerry Smartphones now come with a functioning GPS receiver, I wanted to try geocaching with a BlackBerry.

I've found over 200 caches using my Verizon Tour 9630 with Geocache Navigator for Verizon, by Trimble Navigation Limited. In the process, I've noticed two significant short-comings of a BlackBerry compared to a dedicated handheld GPS receiver: limited battery life and little or no water / shock resistance. CrackBerry has previously published reviews of the Otterbox which provides shock and water protection for the BlackBerry, but makes replacing a dead battery with a spare impractical in the field. What's needed is a way to recharge the battery in the BlackBerry while away from a USB or car charger. That brings us to the subject of this review, the Solio Classic Hybrid Solar Charger.