The BlackBerry is the businessmans best friend. It helps them move away from their desks while still maintaining some kind of order and connection to the important activities that need to be carried out daily. For many people this “always on” capability has modified their behaviour to such an extent that they simply can not leave the device anywhere that is not within arms reach. They have to check their email, they have to read just one more article or quickly scan Twitter or the BBM inbox. Admit it folks, you either know these people or you are one of them. That being said, I have just one question for you… Do you take your BlackBerry camping with you?
Taking Your BlackBerry on the Road and Off
I am one of those people who, fortunately, can disconnect from my BlackBerry for extended periods of time. The only time I do this however is when I am escaping the hustle and bustle of the office life and getting out to experience nature. I enjoy camping and hiking and I do not believe that just because a device “can” inject distractions into my down time that it “should” do so. More to the point, I don’t believe I should let it. Now just because I don’t personally enjoy having electronics mucking up my nature experiences does not mean I can not see value in having them handy. What if you are on an extended trip and are worried about a sick family member or friend? What if you are travelling alone in a remote area and want to have a means of reaching out in the event of an injury? OMG what if you get lost? All of these are valid reasons to keep your BlackBerry handy when seeing the sights. They also bring up another very important question… How do you ensure that you keep your battery charged enough that your BlackBerry can be used when needed?
BlackBerry Charging Options
In recent months there have been a number of products that have hit the shelves that allow you to keep some extra charge handy. There are traditional extended batteries, there are portable charging stations and there are umm…experimental charging devices that may or may not work as promised. In addition to all those stated above there is one other option. An option that is entirely suitable for the avid outdooorsman who just can’t seem to leave his/her BlackBerry behind. yes folks I am talking about the wonderfull world of solar power and solar chargers for your BlackBerry.
Introducing the Solio H1000 Hybrid Solar Charger for your BlackBerry
The Solio Hybrid Solar Charger is ideal for anyone who owns a BlackBerry and takes long trips which leave them away from traditional power supplies for extended periods of time. This includes nature lovers and hardcore road warriors. Being a hybrid charger, the Solio H1000 is able to accept a charge from either a usb port from your favorite computer or the sun itself. This makes it easy to build up an initial charge and store it before your trip. During the trip if you need to give your BlackBerry a boost you can attach it to the H1000 and it will charge at the same rate that a traditional wall adapter would provide. Once the BlackBerry is charged just find a relatively sunny spot and leave the H1000 exposed to replenish whatever charge was used.
Easy as pie and no need to find an outlet – how great is that?
So What Comes in the Box?
The Solio H1000 Hybrid Charger is packaged nicely. The actual charging unit is slightly larger than I assumed when I saw images online (Approximately 8″). It is not bulky by any means though and will sit nicely on a dashboard or windowsill. For the backpackers there is a handy carabiner on one end that makes it perfect to hang from a tree or the back of your pack while hiking. In addition to the main charging unit there are a few adapters included. There is a usb cable that is to be used to connect the main charging unit to your computer along with a Nokia N Series Tip, a Mini USB connector for BlackBerry, Motorolla etc. and a Female USB Tip for ipods and other MP3 players. There are many more devices that the Solio Hybrid Charger can connect to but these will require the purchase of dedicated adapters. You can find a list of the additional devices the H1000 can connect to here. Most of these additional adapters are sold for $9.95. Other than the adapters and main charging unit there is not much else in the box. The only other item is a quickstart guide that shows you how to check the charge level and hook up the charger to your portable devices.
How does the Solio H1000 Hybrid Solar Charger Work?
The H1000 Hybrid Charger, when fully charged will provide a single charge for almost all of your mobile gadgets. This is equivalent to approximately 10 hours of music playback. It breaks down to approximately 14 minutes of talk time or 40 minutes of music per hour of solar power collected. It is important to note that various devices may respond differently when charging. Likewise, depending on the processes running on the charged device, the estimated life of said charge may increase or decrease. (Think of a BlackBerry, when running messaging services or bluetooth, wifi etc your charge will be depleted much quicker than when those services are turned off.) Another important note to make is that depending on the intensity of the exposure to sunlight the Solio Hybrid Charger may take longer to charge than estimated. As mentioned above, you are not limited to charging your BlackBerry with the Solio Charger. It is compatible with a wide range of devices. To find out if your device is compatible with the H1000 you can check out Solios handy guide here. Here are some of the technical specs as indicated by the manufacturer:
- Rechargable 3.7V 1000mAh Lithium Ion (Li-ion) Battery
- Rated output: 1.5 to 5 watts
- DC input: 5 – 6 Volts 400mA
- Solar Panel max output: 0.6 Watts
The Solio H1000 Hybrid Solar Charger performed admirably. I had a few issues getting a full charge stored up when relying only on solar power. The reason for the problem was I was testing on some pretty overcast days (January in Ontario is not always bright and sunny). I have no doubt that the charger will work as advertised when exposed to intense direct sunlight. The first charge was used to power an iPod and even without a full charge it juiced up the iPod sufficiently to keep my tunes going most of the day. The second time I charged the H1000 I opted to use the USB cable and power a dead BlackBerry 9000. This again worked flawlessly and resulted in a completely charged BlackBerry. All in all, after the two tests I have concluded that the Solio H1000 Hybrid Solar Charger is an ideal companion to anyone who owns a BlackBerry (or any other compatible device) . It is not a replacement for the wall charger per se but it will absolutely save you plenty of frustration on your next camping trip or long haul where you know traditional outlets will not be readily available. One last note that applies to BlackBerry owners specifically. It is always a good idea to reduce the strain on your battery when you know you will be without a reliable power source. Even while you are packing the Solio charger, changing app settings etc. will drastically improve your battery life and thus keep you online and connected longer. The Solio H1000 Hybrid Solar Charger can be purchased from the BBGeeks Store for $49.95.