Sunday, May 3, 2009

Solar Power : Oh Solio Mio!

I'm a firm believer that all learning and no fun makes Dan a fairly testy dude... So after the all the symbols from yesterday, its time for a bit of fun. Like so many out there, I'm addicted to my iPhone. The last thing I needed in life was the ability to check facebook from anywhere. Lord help me...

So how can I combine this obsession of mine with a green lifestyle you may ask? Funny you should ask that, I asked myself the same question. My first integration of mixing my iPhone into my new green fascination was to use it when hiking. There are a variety of great GPS applications out there that will track your path, average speed, min/max elevation, distance, "hot or not" rating, etc... There is an extensive list of applications out there, check out the iTunes store under Navigation for the list. I currently use "GPS Kit". It appears there is a new application called MotionX-GPS which allows you to track journeys you have taken and to share them on your facebook profile with one simple click. Crap, now I need to get that one too. I digress...

As with everything awesome, there are downsides. The price of awesomeness is extreme battery suckage. You heard me... It's such a shame that there is no way for me to plug my iPhone in WHILE I'm hiking. Wait for it... Introducting the Solio Magnesium Edition (pictured above to left of the title picture.) Am I really seeing solar panels I can strap to my backpack to plug into my iPhone while I'm on the trails? Indeed I am. Here are some of the features of the Solio so conveniently put together by its manufactuer:
  • One hour of sun will give you enough juice to play your iPod™ for about an hour or provide up to 25 mins of additional talk time on most cell phones.*
  • Provides an emergency power source when away from power outlets.
  • Adapter tips allow you to power multiple gadgets with a single charger ( tips for most products included in pack.)
  • Works with multiple gadgets, including mobile phones, iPhone™, Bluetooth® headsets, smartphones/PDAs, MP3 players, portable gaming devices, digital cameras, GPS and much more.
  • Reusable - use it again and again.
  • Compact lightweight design - convenient for travel or emergency use.

This unit features 3 NASA grade Solar panes which charge up a Rechargeable Lithium Ion 3.7V 1.8A cell battery. This unit can be charged via the sun, or tranditional wall socket. Many of my friends have units they use with their iPhone to charge it when not at home, but all rely on the use of traditional alkaline batteries. I would rather use the suction cup provided and stick it to my window to charge it up. Granted, I do not have one of these yet, so I'm going off the company literature, but you have to admit, its pretty damn cool. Also of note, this can be used to charge handheld game systems, digital cameras, and a variet of other small electronic devices. Unfortunately, it will not charge a laptop.

To use this unit with iPhone 3G, you will need an extra adapter tip which costs about $15. The cost for the solar charger itself runs $169.95. All together, not a bad deal. This is more expensive than the traditional alkaline battery iPhone chargers, but taking into consideration its green advantages, and the overall price of batteries over the time you use it, the difference will pay itself off. Plus it has a cool factor.

I plan to get one of these in the future. When I do, I will write a full review from a hands on perspective. If you purchase one, please let me and everyone else know what you think!

As always, thanks for reading. Stay green people...


  1. holy crap, thats awesome! how do i get one? i can just go to verizon and get one? sorry i don't know alot about this! i have an ipod and a phone but not one together, can i still get a solar phone charger?? this is craziness!

  2. Hey Nikki!
    This will work for your iPod and phone most likely! The iGo tip system lets you change the charger tip for whatever device you want to charge. I can look for a place you might be able to go in NYC to get one if you want, if not you can get them from the manufacturer. Let me know. Thanks for reading!

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