So many different types of solar gadgets have hit the market in the last year or so that we’ve found ourselves with a bulging box of solar gear that needs some review attention. Since these devices are relatively simple, it made sense for us to gather a few together for a solar gadget roundup and give each of the devices their own “mini review”.
For this roundup, we take a look at the Devotec Solar Sound 2, the Scosche SolBAT II, the Scosche SolCHAT II, all devices that now sell below the original asking price, and determine if these pieces are still relevant in the burgeoning solar gadget market.
Scosche SolBAT II Battery Backup and Charger
There are now so many different solar battery backup and charging devices available over such a wide range of prices that finding the right one has become a flat-out daunting task. For those looking for a practical, effective and totally affordable entry level option, look no further than the Scosche SolBAT II.
The SolBAT II packs in a 1500 mA battery which can be charged by the sun or by USB. It can charge a phone or other portable device directly off the sun or from the power stored in its battery.
The SolBAT II comes with a cradle and suction cups for fixing it to a vehicle’s windshield. A universal carabiner mount is also included- which we found handy for attaching it to a backpack.
We found that about eight to nine hours worth of full sun exposure allowed the SolBAT to store enough power to fully charge our iPhone from 20% to full in about an hour. The device seems ideal as a back-up plan for evening commuters, day hikers and campers. Though it doesn’t store as much juice as many of its competitors, we found it stored enough for daily use by a single person. Besides, for around $20.00, one could purchase several and, since it is so compact, plenty can be fit on a backpack or window.
On the down-side, the SolBAT lacks clear charge-status indication. It’s red LED lets you know if it is getting enough sun to charge, but says nothing about much of a charge it has stored. Likewise, the green LED lets you know if it is charging a device, but says nothing of how much power it has left in reserves.
Also, one should bear in mind that the device works best when fully charged and expectations of its direct solar-powering capabilities should be kept reasonable. This device will not, for instance, keep a nearly dead phone operational when trying to use a power intensive GPS app.