Solio Classic Hybrid Solar Charger Review

Intro:

Maybe it was on a long flight, an extended camping trip or a ridiculously long commute home, but at some point you and your digital devices have probably found yourselves desperately low on battery power with nary a power outlet in sight. Better Energy System’s answer to this conundrum is their Solio Classic hybrid charger. Armed with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, USB and solar charging capability, a suction cup Batman could climb a building with and an impressive set of adapters, this hybrid charger from Solio promises to power up almost any device anywhere.

Now you can finally make that super urgent phone call, finish the last 10 minutes of that movie or crush that last level on Angry Birds no matter where you are or how low on juice you may be…or can you? We rigorously tested the Solio for this review and discuss whether it delivers the goods on the go as well as it claims to.

Solio Classic

image via Solio

De-boxing:

The Solio hybrid charger was conscientiously packaged in 100% recycled material and printed with entirely vegetable-based inks. The charger itself is manufactured using 80% recycled and recyclable materials. Along with the charger I found a USB charging cable, a suction cup, six different charging tips and a brief, picture-based manual. When folded down, the Solio classic is compact enough to stow away conveniently, though not so small that you’ll be able to stuff it in your pant’s pocket. It is lightweight yet rugged enough to take a few spills without sustaining any debilitating damage.

When folded out, the Solio’s three solar panels mimic the look of a fan. The Solio’s internal, rechargeable battery is said to be capable of holding a charge for up to a year and incapable of being overcharged. The included adapter tips will support Samsung and LG devices, any device requiring a mini USB plug and, with a female USB tip, will work with the charging cable included with iPhone, iPod and other popular MP3 players.

Testing and Performance:

I prepared the Solio charger by first connecting it via USB to my laptop. Since the provided USB charging cable can also be plugged into a USB car charger or USB wall plug I went ahead and used those alternatives later in my testing. In all cases, it took a little over 9 hours of charging for the Solio’s multi-color LED to turn green, indicating a full charge had been attained.

To test the Solio’s charging speed and capability, I connected it to in iPhone 3G, iPod Touch, LG phone and a Sony PSP slim. I ensured a full battery charge was reached in between each test. The time required to charge each device with the Solio’s battery varied, but echoed the amount of time required when using an electric wall outlet. Though it took a little longer for the Solio to charge the devices on average, it managed to do an impressive job of charging the devices to capacity. For instance, my PSP normally charges in 2 hours and 15 minutes when connected directly to the wall.