We first took a look at San Jose, California-based Suntactic’s solar charger offering, the PC5, late last year. At the time, it was one of the few players in the solar charger game that offered a mono-crystalline solar panel that was capable of putting out six watts of power via USB connection. Recently, Suntactics announced that the PC5 had received a bit of a cosmetic refresh and a name-change as well.
The new sCharger-5 now has a blue cover to match it’s blue USB connection bay. Otherwise, the solar charging device appears to be the same. The company says that its choice to add the blue cover was in response to customer suggestions and the name change a move to reflect “importance of solar energy in today’s environmentally friendly consumer environment.”
Like its predecessor, the sCharger-5 can crank out enough solar generated electricity to directly power iPhones, Droids, Blackberries, portable media players and portable game machines-pretty much anything that accepts a USB interface as a power source. On the company’s website, Suntactics notes that sCharger-5 is reportedly “superior to other solar USB chargers that must convert 12 volt power down to 5 volts for USB charging.” Suntactics seems to believe that its product, which is designed specifically around USB, charges iPhones in particular better than its competition.
Along with the changes to the device’s cosmetics and name comes a small hike in price. The PC-5 originally retailed for $129.95 whereas the new sCharger-5 is listed for $139.95. The sCharger-5 does not come with a rechargeable battery pack, as some others in its price segment do. However, USB battery chargers are becoming more commonly available and can be purchased to work along with the solar charger. The device is weather-resistant and is rated to handle temperatures up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Suntactics also offers some mounting solutions for the sCharger-5. According to the company, the device is manufactured in the U.S., near the company’s headquarters in San Jose, California.
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