Although this charger is not very new to the world, it’s new for me, so figured I should share my experience. I am not one of those people who uses energy conservation (user limiting) efforts on their phone; like dimming the screen to unusable levels, setting auto off to 30 seconds, or disabling any of the live tile features that makes Windows Phone special. So I am always looking for charging solutions. As I am currently working for a renewable energy company, thought it would be a good idea to give a solar charger a try.
The Monaco Solar Charger is a lightweight powerhouse, capable of dishing out 1800mAh of juice on a full charge. Enough to bring most any phone from brick, back to life. The charger measures 2.5” x 4.625” x 0.625” thick and weighs in at about 2.75oz. Although we are talking solar power here, if by chance you winter in a northern Scandinavian country, you can also power the charger from any USB port or the included AC adapter (Output 5V, 1A). But come on, what fun is that when you have the sun at your disposal. Just place the Charger on you dashboard, windowsill or back deck in the morning and you will be good to go by late afternoon. The specs claim a full solar charge will take about 8 hours, while an AC/USB charge should finish in six. Btw, you can also charge the Solar Charger with a desk lamp (doing that right now), but that would be an extremely inefficient method, unless of course the desk lamp had to be on anyway, which would then make it a really good idea.
The Solar Charger is light on packaging; nothing more than a plain white E flute (packaging lingo) box. Not sure if that makes it cheap or environmentally friendly. But the lack of any type of printed information; on the box, in the box, or on the device itself does make me a tad suspicious. The charger includes; a 30” USB to Mini USB Power cable that connects the Charger to your computer or the included AC charger block, a 60” device charging cable with two pin tips for mini and micro USB outputs, which will work with most any of today’s phones. Well almost any. The vendor also offers an iPhone/iPod adapter ($7.95) so you could charge your iDevice. An indicator on the Charger face will glow red while charging and change to green when fully charged. There is no indicator when the Charger is actually connected to your device, but that’s not a problem for me.
I left the Solar Charger on my dashboard for about 7 hours of daylight today and it was fully charged when I checked back. Plugging in to my phone, it immediately started charging. Not sure about its capacity yet, which will take a few cycles to prove out, but so far it appears to work as advertised. I would have like to see a simple pouch included to protect the Charger’s face, but fortunately I had a couple lying around that fit quite well.
Whether you choose to use the Monaco Solar Charger as your primary juice machine or simply for those those times where a power plug is not a practical option, you will be doing your part to free yourself from the grid. And that’s always a good feeling. I picked up my Solar Charger from WirelessGround for $39.95, with a 15% discount and free shipping. But a quick search brought up multiple hits, including one on eBay for $29.95 with free expedited shipping. So what are you waiting for. Time to cut the cord.