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Solar Freeloader Pico

Solar Freeloader Pico solar-charged back-up power supply

Energy for free

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The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Solar claims that it takes up to ten hours to charge the Pico fully using direct sunlight. Given Blighty's weather of late, it’s been hard to get ten consecutive hours of sunshine. You don’t have to have a full charge, of course, to get you out of flat-battery purdah, but the timescale is still long.

Solar Freeloader Pico

USB and Mini USB provide power to adaptors

I found it hard to get a full charge using solar energy alone. Having left the unit in a window over a weekend with long periods of sunshine, it still had very little energy to transfer to a phone. A second attempt, this time leaving it outside, facing South and under direct sunlight for ten hours, only cranked up a single bar on the Samsung.

This is better than nothing, but it’s free energy very sparingly absorbed. To use the Pico on solar alone, you’d need at least a full day of sunshine to charge it before taking it with you as an emergency recharger. Quite honestly, for the few pence a USB charge costs, that’ll be a better option in most cases.

Solar Freeloader Pico

The bundled adaptors

The Pico could come into its own on holiday, but only if you're visiting somewhere with more continuous, brighter sunshine than the UK can manage.

Verdict

At just £17, this recharger isn't a bad buy, even if you don’t use the solar panel. The ten-hour sunlight charge claim seems a tad optimistic for typical British weather, though. ®

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Solar Freeloader Pico

Solar Freeloader Pico solar-charged back-up power supply

A compact back-up battery that can be charged over USB or, thanks to its solar panel, sunlight.
Price: £17. Extra adaptors: £4-5 RRP

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