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Review: 7 in 1 Solar Power Charger From BudgetGadgets.com

solarcharger1 Review: 7 in 1 Solar Power Charger
Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆
Cost: Currently $18.24 w/Free Shipping

NOTE: You should be able to get another 5% off by using the coupon code RM5OFF2 during the checkout

I had very low expectations before getting a chance to review this product, but once I did it really went above and beyond what I was expecting.

Solar chargers are known to be slow and almost not worth the effort. I mean, who wants to plug their Blackberry into a charger for hours just to get a bar or two of power out of the sun? The problem is that getting power from the sun just takes a long time. But that is where this solar charger really took a great idea.

While you can plug the solar charger into your BlackBerry and charge it directly from the sun very slowly, this solar charger has a built in battery. What that means is that you can leave the solar charger by itself in your window for an hour or two and just let it charge its own battery slowly in the sun. Then later, when your BlackBerry runs out of juice, you can plug it in and it will charge your battery straight from the solar charger’s battery. This let’s it work faster when charging.

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Oddly, it also comes with a wall charger so that you can charge the solar charger’s battery and just use it as a backup battery without the whole solar power part. I guess this is great as an extra feature, but if the whole idea is to be able to charge it off the natural sun, then this doesn’t really make all that much sense.

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When charging, the solar charger comes with a million different kinds of plugs for BlackBerrys and other types of standard phones. Most importantly, it comes with a USB connector so that you charge almost anything from its USB. I tried it out on my BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 and it got me about two power bars off of an hour or two worth of sun-charging. I think that’s pretty good for a backup power supply. I tried it with my wife’s old iPod Nano and it also charged nicely. Although, my friend let me try it on his iPhone 3G and it wouldn’t charge. The device does come with a MiniUSB adapter which will work on the Bold and older devices but the newer 8220, Storm, & 8900 use a MicroUSB jack which is not provided so you have to just use its USB cable.

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A minor annoyance is that when charging some things it makes a funny hissing noise. That just sounds like poor craftsmanship to me.

All in all I think this is a pretty “green” and “cool” charger that is good for use when traveling or just outside the home. I wouldn’t use it for a full-charge, but its great for a quick power boost. For instance, I just took it with me on a vacation to Puerto Rico and it was hot and sunny. I was out on the beach all day with no power outlets in sight. But the solar charger was perfect to give me a little power jump during the day.

Here is the score-card breakdown:

Pro:

  • Green factor
  • Charges easily
  • Has its own battery
  • Can be charged from an outlet
  • Comes with all sorts of adapters.

Con:

  • Doesn’t charge all devices
  • Makes weird noises when charging
  • Can’t fully charge your phone
  • Takes a while to charge the internal battery.
15 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I own the other solar charger I believe Ronen reviewed way back when. It was that review that convinced me to buy it.

    Its a great little gadget but charging via solar truly takes all day and even during an 8hour span of constant sun I achieved maybe a bar of power at most (of 5).

    Additionally, the charger provides power faster than it can charge itself meaning that at empty, unless its got a sufficient store in its internal battery, you CAN’T place your berry and the charger in the sun and walk away. The charger will stop providing and the charger itself won’t charge further until you disconnect both.

    Pro: Good backup battery.

  2. Someone let me know if it charges the Bold or not =P

  3. Yes. it charges the bold np

  4. I’ve never thought a solar charger to use in the car was worth spending money on. I am spending money on gas already, which via alternator already generates vastly more power than ever mobile gadget I own could consume.
    What makes this thing useful is its built in battery. I am not sure its utility is high if it is so slow to charge, especially if it lacks sufficient output power to run my device even when its battery is depleted.

  5. Seems like the reviewer was being a bit harsh. For that price, almost universal connectivity and being a backup battery is amazing. If you add in the fact that it can draw power from the *sun* then it is a great value even if it can’t fully charge your phone. If you have ever been somewhere where you *could’t* find an outlet, you’d agree. I paid $15 for a backup battery that only plugs into *one* device and requires 2 AA batteries. Seems to me an emergency charger that can draw power from the wall OR the sun is worth a lot more than that.

  6. I wrote the review and it was my first one. So looking at everyones comments I want to say a few things.

    1. For the price, this is definitely a great product. I didn’t know the price when I reviewed it so let’s chalk that up to the learning curve. But with that said, even for the price some things still bother me–like the hissing sound when charging.

    2. The best way to use this device is to keep it out and let the internal battery charge itself in the sun. Once the internal battery is charged, THEN you should charge your phone or other device. Charging it directly from the sun will be very slow and almost pointless.

    Thanks for the comments!

    • #2 definitely seems like *the* reason to get this thing.

      Otherwise solar charges are practically worthless. But the internal battery idea is pretty genius, as long as the internal battery can hold enough of a charge.

      My main question about this device is how much could a full internal battery charge power the device (roughly).

      • When I tested it on the Blackberry flip I charged it in the sun for about 2 hours (manual says about an hour and a half) and then I plugged it in. I got about 2 out of five bars off the charge. At this point in time I think that’s great.

  7. Since it’s your first review, a couple of comments for future thought when reviewing products like this:
    1. How does the unit feel? Like it was cheaply made, or solid and substantial? Heavier than it should be? Slim and svelte?
    2. How were the instructions? Easy to follow? Written in “Engrish”?
    3. Shipping and customer service– if you ordered it, how fast did it get there? If you call customer service, do you get someone live? And do they know what they are talking about? Do they have a web site?
    4. What would you suggest they improve?
    5. Was your unit a “regular” production unit, or a prototype or early release model?

    Just some thoughts that might help for the future.

    Eric

  8. I just ordered the 5 in 1 kit that looks the be the same exact thing, minus two of the plugs that I will most likely never use…. Only $10.21 shipped! This will be perfect for use on camping trips, just enough to keep devices topped off and can charge during the day while you’re out and about.

    This is the one I ordered:
    http://www.budgetgadgets.com/solar-power-charger-cellphonedigital-camerapdamp3ipod-p-2909.html

    • Nice find, might have to get that since I don’t need the extra connectors.

    • Got it a few days ago and have to say this was an awesome purchase for about $12 shipped! Does what it says, wish it had a little higher capacity battery but perhaps that will break in a little bit with some use on it.

      Takes forever to charge via a usb cable but seems to charge up quickly in the sun as well.

      Might have to pick up a few more of these as they’d be awesome for camping. Easy to keep the toys charged.

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