Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Solio Magnesium Edition Solar Charger

If you have read an article about personal solar power or have seen items featured on a TV show, chances are there was a Solio charger in the mix. The company was one of the first to put out a compact, innovative solar charger and its fan design made it fun to photograph.

Now they have put out a more rugged but far more expensive Magnesium Edition model that is nice, but a dubious upgrade in my opinion. (It lists for $200). Like the original, blades fold out to allow three different surfaces to catch the rays and store them as energy. Then you can charge up your phone, your iPod, or whatever gadget you have the right connections for. Some of those come with this, plus this newer model gives you a coupon for ordering one more. This model also works with the iGo system of plugs, so if you already have that this upgrade will be worth it for compatibility.

I got more stymied by this item than most. For one thing, there is only one button on it, so if the charger is not doing what you want (indicated by coded flashes), good luck figuring out what to do. In my case it would not charge initially using the sun; I had to plug it into a socket first, then use solar after it ran down. It did fully charge my iPod from solar power though, and the company claims it will hold its charge for a year. The rule of thumb is, one hour of sun equals 15 minutes of cell phone talk time or 40 minutes of MP3 music.

This newer one claims to have 25 percent more output, but is it worth $100 more than the original Solio charger? If you are about to climb Mt. Everest, maybe so---or if you already use the iGo charger system. Otherwise, go for the original.

You can get either version of the Solio Hybrid charger---as well as lots of other useful solar gadgets--at Current Energy.

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