We decided to sum up some of the best solar gadgets we knew of that either have been designed for or are compatible with the iPhone (2G and 3G) / iPod Touch. We know solar gadgets are very popular these days especially among those who are cautious about being eco-friendly, the environmnet and of course the often talked about CO2 emission. We managed to put into this list five solar gadgets, we did think there were more but some like the one from Brando has been discontinued over time and some that had heard of were actually replicas of the genuine thing so we excluded those out!
We are by all means not related to any of the companies talked about below.
Freeloader 8.0 by Solar Technology (£29.99)
Freeloader 8.0 is something we’ve mentioned in the past before and received mixed comments, it is basically a charging device with solar panels that charges a multitude of the latest mobile gadgets including the iPhone and iPod Touch.
The Freeloader 8.0 solar charger is especially useful for the iPod, which it can power for 18 additional hours or a PDA, which it can power for 22 hours. The solar charger comes in cool silver or hot pink plus USB and miniUSB adapters as well as nine other types including Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia and LG phones.
The Freeloader 8.0 has two especially sensitive foldaway solar panels that can charge your devices even on cloudy days and it will even recharge its own batteries at the same time it charges peripheral devices. The Freeloader also has the option for users to buy an enlarged solar panel, called the Supercharger, which reduces recharge time by half.
SOLiCharger by Solight ($39.95)
Unlike the Freeloader 8.0, SOLiCharger is a much more tinier, lightweight (40 grams) lithium-ion based battery pack that plugs into the bottom of your iPhone (we believe should work with iPod Touch as well). The SOLiCharger also works both as a battery storage pack and as a direct solar energy charging device. The best thing about the SOLiCharger is that it’s got no cords or adapters.
- Works with both original and 3G iPhone
- Plug the SOLiCharger into your iPhone to provide up to a 50% charge to your iPhone battery
- Built-in solar panel on the back side charges the SOliCharger (takes up to sixteen hours of sun to fully charge)
- Weighs only 1.4 oz.
- Charges quickly in one of four ways:
- Directly from the SUN! Free solar power!
- Directly from your computer via the Apple/USB cord
- Directly from the 110v Apple® USB charging cord
- Directly from any 12v Apple compatible car charger
Simply plug in the SOLiCharger to an iPhone charging cord and it will fully charge in just 1.5 hours. You can even plug it into your phone and charge both at the same time. Then if your phone runs low on power, simply plug the SOLiCharger into the phone and it will immediately begin charging the phone. You can use your phone while it’s charging.
If there’s no power source available, no problem! The SOLiCharger has a built-in solar panel on the back side that will provide up to a 50% iPhone battery charge when the SOLiCharger is fully charged (can take up to sixteen hours of sun due to the capacity of the battery – 800mAh – and the small size of the solar panel). You can even charge the SOLiCharger in the sun while it is attached to your phone.
More info on the SOLiCharger from Solight here (currently out of stock).
iCharge Eco (Pricing: TBC)
Developed by a Japan based company, the iCharge Eco charger looks to be a promising solar charger. Like most Japanese made gadgets, it looks brilliant, colourful and solid. The unfortunate news is that we have not heard of whether this will be available anywhere else but Asia. Not only charging iPods and iPhones, the iCharge Eco design is what you could say a mini version of the Freeloader. (Look out for this space for updates on availability!)
The iCharge Eco also charges PSP/iPod/Nintendo DS, and mobile phones. It delivers an output of DC5.0-5.5V/600mA and comes with a 1,350mAh battery that takes around 3.5 hours to charge via an AC adapter, 5 hours via USB, and 15 hours via its built in solar panel.
TuffCharge Solar by Freeplay (£49.99)
Unveiled by Freeplay at this year’s MWC, TuffCharge Solar is a battery pack based iPhone case equipped with the ability to convert solar energy using solar panels. Your iPhone slides nicely into the TuffCharge Solar case which thus provides extra protection from damage (but at the cost of weighing 81g more), at the same time the TuffCharge case has a built in battery which gives your iPhone an additional 1400mAh battery, doubling your battery life.
As you can see, the casing looks slick, the solar panel on the back is hardly noticeable. A line of LEDs also on the back lets you know when there is enough daylight / sunlight triggering a charge status of your case’s battery. This does however take the solar panels approximately 11 hours to fully charge the TuffCharge battery given the most ideal conditions. An hour of sunlight is supposedly enough for 60 minutes of talk time or a couple of hours music playback, which isn’t bad especially if you’re outdoors and desperately needed the power. Your connections also feed-through the TuffCharge case which means you won’t need to take your iPhone out of the when you need to charge or sync your iPhone.
The TuffCharge Solar will be available from September this year in black or white for £49.99.
Solar Chargers for iPhone by Solar Arcadia ($45.90 – $45.95)
There are a number of solar chargers by Solar Arcadia, all of them take in the form of an iPhone case. Though they appear to be abit more bulkier than that of the TuffCharge Solar for example, it’s probably because these ones are made of leather (as claimed). The case is essentially a lithium ion battery pack with a solar panel that doubles as a flip cover for the iPhone. The instruction manual notes that an empty iPhone battery can be re-charged in 3 hours when the included Li-Ion battery pack is full. When the battery pack is empty you can set the case to direct charge mode and get your iPhone recharge on straight from the power of the Sun itself. Note that it does take a full 12 hours of direct sunlight to fully charge an empty iPhone battery.
With up to six different but quite similar designs, pricing varies between just $0.05. In terms of features and specs, they are all the same, it just depends on which one you fancy the best. The good thing about them is that they’ve got a built in LED indicator within the case and indicates to you when it is or isn’t charging. All six designs have reverse current protection circuit integrated to prevent batteries from being discharged at inappropriate times.
- Battery material: lithium ion polymer
- Lithium ion polymer battery capacity: 3.7V 1500 mAh
- Output voltage: 5V (max)
- Output current: 450 ma (max) + Solar battery 100ma(max)
- Charge voltage: Solar battery 6V+USB DC 5V
- Charge current: 100ma (max)+ 500 ma (max)
- Electric eye dimension: 83mmx50mm
- Peak power supplied by photocell: 0.61W
- Operating voltage: 6V (max)
- Electric eye charging current : 100 mA (max)
- Material of electric eye: multicrystal silicon solar
- High solar energy convert efficiency: greater than 16%
- Material: environment friendly ABS sheepskin
- Product size/weight: 125×64x25mm / 110g
See the full collection of designs over at Solar Arcadia here…