Scosche Solbat2 solar charger
Let’s just consider how you might use the device, with that kind of charge cycle. You might leave it outside on an upstairs windowsill for a week before you go away on holiday, but only assuming you were going camping where there would, at no time, be access to electricity.
Comes with a free carabiner, to hook it up, but work better in sunny California
If you’re in a hotel, you could charge it from the wall. Guest house, log cabin, caravan; the wall, again. Or from the cigar lighter in a car. The instruction sheet shows a Solbat2 suckered to the inside of a windscreen (a cradle with suckers is supplied), charging from its solar panel for when you next run out of juice five days into the future. But why wouldn’t you charge it from the USB socket on your car stereo?
Given the initial charge time for USB recharging is quoted as five hours and it took the review unit two hours for the charging light to go out, are you that stingy? A few pence for a USB charge, or a free one from the sun, but five, good, sunny days down the line.
Don’t get me wrong, the idea of a free, eco-friendly charge from our favourite neighbourhood star is appealing, but until solar panels are a lot – and I mean at least ten times – more efficient, the impracticality outweighs the greenness by about the same order of magnitude.
If you want a robust, handy backup battery you can take with you on trips, which is more sturdy than a second battery for your phone and can service a variety of portable kit, this is a good choice. If you're heading for a holiday in the sun this half term, it could well keep your mobile going all day as you Tweet from the beach, Yet given the UK weather, don't expect to get a lot of use from a solar charger here. ®
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