Frustrated with how quickly your smartphone runs out of power? Tired of watching your camera battery light flicker and die at the most inopportune times? Solar chargers provide a much-needed alternative energy source for tech lovers on the go. But few of these chargers can say that they’ve located the happy medium between size and convenience.
For instance, the Changers solar charger and battery combo is great but it requires placement of a window-sized solar panel–not exactly something you can break out at your favorite restaurant. Others are more compact but might be too small to hold the full charge that you need. That’s why we were thrilled to stumble across the Solio Bolt: a compact, stylish solar charger that puts power in the palm of your hand.
Unlike other chargers we’ve featured in the past, the Bolt’s Li-Poly battery and solar panels are integrated into the same small unit. This means you can easily carry both elements around wherever you go. Because the Bolt requires about nine hours of direct sunlight to achieve a full charge, it features a convenient hole between the two panels that’s just perfect for creating a makeshift stand using a pencil. When inserted the pencil makes the Bolt act like a sundial. Simply point the panels toward the sun and rotate them until the pencil no longer casts a shadow.
Although it takes a while to fill up, the company claims the Bolt will hold its charge for up to a year. Also, a full Bolt will give most smartphones two or more complete charges. When its full, simply connect to any USB capable device and enjoy hours of free, cordless power. If you’re desperate for portable power but don’t have the time to wait, you can also use the USB port to fill it up with conventional outlet power.