Solio Classic rechargeable solar power pack
More gadgets mean more power consumption and that in turn means more fossil fuels being burnt etc etc. Being a gadget lover and an eco friendly gadget lover can sometime be a hard (and expensive) graft, but one company hopes that you can have your cake and eat it.
The Solio Mobile Charger was originally designed for the mobile phone, but seeing the success of the iPod, the company that makes it, has jumped on the branding bandwagon and added an iPod connector socket option.
The premise is simple. Use the sun to charge the charger and then the charger to charge your iPod. In use, especially in the UK the dream isn't as much of a reality as you might hope. Perhaps in a country where the sun is constantly beating down every day every week the story might be different, but in the South of England on an overcast, occasionally sunny February, the story is very disappointing.
To catch the rays, the white-covered Solio spans out from its rather compact form into a three-pronged propeller. In the box is a large strong sucker to attach it to a window. This is a valuable and useful attachment as it allows you to get the most from the available light. Failing that, the instructions also suggest a pencil (not included) to prop the device up so it can point towards the sun when a window is nowhere to be seen.
The box of course says that you'll have a fully charged unit within eight hours of setting it up. A bold claim and one we can only believe would be possible if you were sitting on Mercury some time during the summer months or if you could go back in time to 2003. In our tests, day one achieved a 25 per cent charge; day two seems to make no difference to the 25 per cent ascertained on day one. It was only after day three did we reach 50 per cent. Day six was the day when we finally pressed the button to reveal the unit was fully charged. After six days of waiting we then had to wait a further six hours to allow the juice to transfer from the Solio to the iPod and eventually on the seventh day, as if it was written in the scriptures we had life.
It's a long time to wait for a single charge of the iPod and one that probably most won't want to make. Of course, if you're one of those impatient types the Solio comes with an adapter to charge it, which in our minds, sort of, defeats the point in the first place.
VerdictThe only way we can see you getting any joy out of this is if you live in a sunny environment and certainly not in good old Blighty. The Solio does work, just not at the speed that most gadget-crazed, power-hungry chargers might want and for that reason we can't recommend spending your cash on it. If you're about to set off around the world and know that finding an power socket is going to be a problem then yes this would do the trick, but if you're just planning on being a bit green at your house in the home counties, then think again. You might be environmentally friendly if you choose to buy this charger, but you'll also have nothing to listen to either.
This product was kindly loaned to us by ipodworld.co.uk