How many times have you been on the go, out the door, and then found that your cell phone battery is at one bar? Or on a ride only to realize you forgot to charge your iPod or any other mobile device? It’s happened to the best of us at the worst of times. Of course you could always use a car charger, but what if you were on a bike? On a hike? In the forest with nothing but a backpack, a cellphone, your iPod and a can of bear mace? Your best bet is going to be a solar charger. The company KiwiChoice has a new charger that may be right for you.
The Kiwi U-Powered charger is a compact device with it’s own built in lithium polymer 2000 mAh battery that is good for more than one thousand charges. The economically priced charger folds out from a central pivot revealing three solar panels, when closed the device fits in the palm of your hand. The back side of the unit has a magnet so it can be stuck to metal objects, if you have no metal it can be hung from a backpack, maybe put on a hat (direct rays!), or lay out on the grass while you and that special someone enjoy a picnic or play a PSP game in the sun. The device also has a USB port and car charger function, so the battery can be charged prior to an outing then tapped as needed.
According to the website the built in battery takes about seventeen hours to charge in fairly decent sunlight, much longer under moderate cloud cover and probably would never charge on a real gloomy day. To those who need power but have no access to an outlet this solar feature still brings hope. And of course the solar energy is completely “green”.
Or is it? Before all our environmentally minded tech brothers start hugging each other, or trees, let’s not over look the estimate that the average solar panel needs about seven years of continuous use to generate as much power as was used to manufacture it. When all is said and done, even if the panel was used as a primary charging device for several years your carbon dioxide footprint would still be larger than if you just charged your phone or other portable device from the wall. Not to mention the amount of gasoline burned, energy used and carbon dioxide released driving to and from the electronics store to buy the gadget.
Still back on the bright side, no pun intended, the Kiwi U-Powered charger is affordable being listed on it’s website for $49.99, convenient, and probably a lot of fun. It’s quite similar to the first generation of Soldius solar chargers we took a look at a couple years back, just a tad more affordable. Eco friendly or just plain friendly, this device is worth checking out if you often pull yourself away from a conventional power source, but still can’t pull yourself away from the mobile devices you love. Keep in mind it’s far from revolutionary,