Green technology has long been hailed to be the next big thing, and in a recent edition of the TIME magazine, it has singled out how California has been a hotbed for new and emerging technologies for a long time now, with green being the main theme way before the rest of the world caught on. Having said that, with more and more people carrying additional gadgets and gizmos with them wherever they go, making sure all of those will remain charged to the maximum can be quite a task, not to mention packing in their respective chargers into your suitcase whenever you want to head out of the country. Portable multi-device chargers are handy, but those themselves will need to remain juiced up as well in order to function at its best. Enter i.Tech’s SolarCharger 906, where it not only holds a 1,260mAh capacity, but comes with a decently sized solar panel on one side to absorb the sun’s rays, transforming it into electricity which is stored in the internal battery for future use.
The SolarCharger 906 is a portable unit, measuring 4.13″ x 2.52″ x 0.59″ while tipping the scales at a mere 3.53 ounces. You can attach it to a plastic holder which in turn, is best used when taped to your windshield. Of course, we would highly recommend you remove the SolarCharger 906 from view each time you leave your car unattended, as it might just attract unnecessary attention which could result in even more money being spent on a broken windshield or window, not to mention of having the SolarCharger 906 go missing in the process. The external shiny black plastic chassis is nice to touch, but this is a major fingerprint magnet so if you’re not for fingerprints, you might want to keep a tissue around handy.
Capable of attaining a full charge in just four hours through USB, it will take at least 22 hours of optimal sunlight to achieve the same results. Doesn’t sound too impressive, but over the course of days, the hours do add up. Apart from that, since this should not be your primary charging device, you ought to be able to keep the SolarCharger 906 perpetually juiced up.
Within the box also lies a USB charging cable, 10 adapter tips to connect to various devices (that’s what happens when nobody is able to device on the universality of things), a cradle, suction cups and plastic tips that allows you to attach it to a windshield.
Interestingly enough, the SolarCharger 906 is supposedly able to store a charge for up to a year, but since we can’t wait for a full year to pass by before getting the review up, we’ll just have to take i.Tech’s word for it. It will require a mere 40% charge remaining to juice up a dead cellphone in order to place emergency calls. Also, do take note that the mercury can really rise quickly in a car with all its windows wound up during an extremely hot day, making you wonder whether leaving the SolarCharger 906 under direct sunlight might result in it melting beyond recognition when you return to your car after work.
While it is able to perform at temperatures higher than any other portable charger on the market, keeping that connected to your cellphone or GPS system in a car isn’t such a good idea after all, with threats coming in the form of those who feed off other people’s misery and want to make a quick buck, as well as your device running the risk of just melting or warping under the intense heat.
I found the plastic attachment to be quite a nuisance if you were to place it in the car, since detaching it from the plastic attachment might not be for everybody, and prefer to carry the SolarCharger 906 around in my pocket (I wear cargo pants that are big and baggy enough) just in case my Nintendo DS or Bluetooth headset starts running out of juice. There is a quartet of tiny LEDs located behind which will indicate the relative amount of charge left inside in blue. Should it at any time harness the power of the sun, a flashing red LED will depict the current action instead.
I would say that this is best used when you do plenty of driving around (during the day, obviously, as night time driving isn’t going to result in any benefit at all) in your everyday activity. This should not be seen as a permanent replacement for your device’s charger, but more of a backup charging device since you won’t need any power outlets nearby for it to function, and has the advantage of slowly regaining its strength back to full power with each minute basking under the sunlight. Since there is only one device that you can attach it to at any one time, this would mean owning a convergence device would be ideal, for example a cellphone which boasts GPS navigation capability and can surf the Internet. That way, you won’t need to worry about which standalone device to juice up first in an emergency. A decent effort from i.Tech, but nothing groundbreaking. Just don’t throw your portable car chargers out just yet – after all, even backups need their own backup,eh?