Review: BlackBerry Solar Charger From 100milligrams
Imagine finding yourself in the middle of, oh, let’s say the doctor’s office waiting to be seen. Now we all know how long that takes. And you’re playing an intense game of Chuzzle and you notice that your Berry is flashing that annoying bluish-green “I’m gonna die. Plug me in NOW!” flash that we all hate to see. By this time, you’re panicking and thinking, “Great. If my Berry dies, I’m gonna miss _____(fill in the blank)”. This is the time when a portable charger would come in quite handy.
Well, 100milligrams have you covered. They have a solar charger available for your precious BlackBerry so you never again will have to see that dreaded low battery signal! Justin Sandery from 100milligrams was gracious enough to send us a couple for review. And let me tell you that this solar charger has been through quite a few tests. So here it goes from box opening to actual use:
Upon receiving the charger, I notice the box is not like something that you normally see. Imagine, if you will, those funny Chinese metal stress balls (you know, the ones that make a jingling sound when rubbed together). Now throw that thought aside and focus on the box it comes in. It’s a paper-like box, but very sturdy with a magnet that holds the lid to the box. That’s what the charger is shipped in. It’s tucked safely into a foam sleeve for protection on the left side of the box.
And on the right side is a red ribbon that, when pulled, reveals a neat little stack of presents that will make the most technologically advanced geek giddy with joy. There are enough different charging tips for just about any portable electronic device you might have. So this BlackBerry charger is not only for the BlackBerry, but can also charge iPods, Nokias, Motorolas, Samsungs and even more. (Heaven forbid you still have one of those phones, though. 😉 ) There is also a wall plug available for those who live in Europe or like to visit there.
At the bottom of the box is an instruction booklet. It’s both in Chinese and English. So I decide to peruse the instructions for helpful information (which also let you know of the charging abilities of the charger itself) before tucking them back into the box. I just happen to be the “learn it while you work it” type of person. I found out that there are 3 ways to charge the charger. The first way is the way it was meant for, solar power. The second is by USB on your computer, and the third is by an AC adapter. The manufacturer recommends that the charger be charged by USB or wall plug for the initial charge. It also has a really neat little LED light that can be used as a mini flashlight! BONUS!
Here is a picture showing the initial charge off my laptop. It took about 30 minutes for the red light to turn green signaling the end of the charging cycle. Once I took it off the USB, I was able to get a full battery charge on my BlackBerry in the house in normal lighting in about an hour.
After the battery was drained (during normal usage), I decided to give it the solar challenge. I took my kids to the park and after the charger was left in full sunlight (do not place the BlackBerry under direct sunlight – you might ruin the screen), my BlackBerry was fully charged in just over an hour. I wish I could tell how well it works in rainy or overcast weather, but Southern California has been very warm and sunny lately. So that’s another test that cannot be done until at least November.
It is very hard to determine the actual amount of charges available on the charger because it’s constantly using either the sun or the fluorescent lighting to regain its charge, making it very efficient since you can use it anywhere. You can recharge using solar power while taking laps in the pool, driving to work, while at work or just about anywhere else you can think of. And the USB or AC Adapter during those times when the charger cannot recharge itself, such as in the dark.
Once I started using it, which has been since the minute I unpacked it, it’s always by my side. I always make sure I pack it in my purse before I go anywhere. I was kind of skeptical about using a solar charger since I’d heard that these in general are nothing but trouble, but since I received it, I’ve had nothing but good thoughts for it. It’s been a life saver for the times (and it’s quite often) that I run my battery down by constantly texting and emailing. The build of the charger is very durable so I’m not afraid of a tumble or two. I totally recommend anyone to go to 100milligrams and pick one up. They run very inexpensive at $29.95.