A few days ago, one of our writers reporting from the CES posted a short article on the Solio solar battery charger. Now, I am not sure how long ago it was released in the US but it has been in Australia for at least 9 months and I was one of the unfortunate few that purchased one.
The full story after the JUMP…
Right from the get-go I had nothing but trouble with it. The issue was that when ever I plugged it in to my Blackberry to charge the it,(back then, a 8100 Pearl) it would completely drain the battery within 2 hours. The first time it did it, I thought it might just be a charging issue so I put it in the sun on the dashboard if my work van for 2 straight days (both very sunny days). Still the problem continued. Next, I tried charging from the cigarette lighter (kind of superfluous really for a ‘Green’ product!). Again the problem continued. Even if I plugged the charger into a fully charged (or close to it) device the Solio unit would discharge it with-in hours (great if you want to condition your battery’s but not too flash if you are running low on power).
I returned it to the store which happily replaced the unit but the exact same problem again. Upon returning to the store again, they suggested the problem lied in my BlackBerry (What, a BlackBerry problem! Never!). I tried the charger on a spare Motorola handset with the dis-charge problem continuing. I also tried it on a Bluetooth headset, with again the same result.
After many many failed attempts, I returned it to the place of purchase for a refund. The store staff told me that every unit they had sold, had been returned with the same fault. Since then, I have not seen them on the store shelves at all and can only assume that they have been withdrawn from sale.
Now then, all of this happened in around June 2007 and as we all know 6 months in this industry is an absolute lifetime (my 8100 Pearl was about 8 devices back!). They may well have rectified the problem since then but if so, Why can’t I buy one from the shelves in Australia still ???
My advise would be to wait off a bit and see if there is still a problem or not….On the positive side…At least it looks good…