Charge for free
I've written before that global warming and/or climate change is an issue that gets a lot of people worked up (and ironically generating a lot of hot air). Wherever you stand on the issue, it's fair to say that it probably can't hurt to generate a bit of our/your energy from "renewable sources" such as solar, wind, hydro and biomass. Whilst doing this for yourself on a home-wide scale is still a pretty expensive option (and probably prohibitively so if you're not building something from scratch), you can make a small contribution with gadgets such as this solar charger.
Given its size and portable nature it's also ideal for travelling. Particularly if you're into camping, and you don't want to pay for hook up (or if there's no hook up available)...
Take it out of the box. Before using, it's recommended that you charge it up via USB first, and then you can charge it up from the sun in future. You should also charge it via USB occasionally (once every few months) to ensure that it gets a nice full charge. To charge from the sun, simply detach the solar panels, pull them apart, and then re-attach them to the power pack.and twist so that both panels face the sun. When you're done, twist and close and you've got a little charger ready to charge up your devices.
The new Freeloader Classic is capable of powering some of the world's most popular devices including the iPad and the iPad2 and is capable of giving power to an iPod/iPhone for 18 hours, a smart phone for 44 hours, a PSP or DS for 2.5 hours and an iPad for 2 hours.
The built-in LCD data panel provides useful information about battery level, power input and connectivity.
Like its predecessors, it's supplied with various connector tips including the new standard micro USB and a normal USB socket. To charge your apple devices, simply connect your normal USB lead. For other devices, there are adapters supplied or you can use your own...
1) Mini USB - Motorola, Blackberry, Smartphone, iMate etc.
2) Micro USB - Kindle, Motorola, Blackberry, Nokia etc - the new standard for phones...
3) 4mm straight jack - PSP, TomTom, eBook etc
4) Nokia 3.5mm straight jack
5) Nokia 2mm straight jack
6) Sony Ericsson - wide adaptor
7) Samsung - G600 series adaptor
8) LG - Chocolate, Prada etc
9) DS - DS Lite
There are 2 sides to this. There's the "charging something with it" part, and the "charging it up from the sun" part. They are both very simple.
I've charged up various things using it without any problem, ranging from various mobile phones (Nokia, Sony Ericcson, iPhone), portable speakers, GPS receivers, and the iPad. Here's a specific example of when it's really useful. We were camping a couple of weeks ago, and a friend's Nokia had run out of charge. "No problem" says I, and I pull out the solar charger.
"This little gadget will sort you out."
"But I haven't got my phone charger to plug it into!"
"No problem, it comes loaded with most of the adapters you could probably ever need."
"Oh yes, that's the one for my phone."
And so we all trundled off to bed and left the phone charging overnight. And when we woke up for some bacon sandwiches, the phone was fully charged and ready to go, and there was still plenty of charge left in the charger. But as it was a sunny morning, I left it sitting in the sun on a chair, panels facing the sky, and it sat there charging up whilst we put away our tents. Brilliant. And that's all there is to it.
A brilliant gadget that helps to save the planet and helps you out of a tight spot when your "insert portable electronic device that you rely on" here runs out of charge and you're away from a reliable power source. The most obvious application is for outdoors/camping types who spend time out in fields away from electricity, or who go on long walks and want to recharge their GPS/phone/MP3 player/whatever whilst out. And providing the weather is ok, you can then recharge your charger whilst you're out and about. It would also be great for foreign travel if you're concerned about access to the right kinds of power source when you're away.
It's very light so it won't weigh down your rucksack or hand luggage, and it's pretty easy to attach it to a rucksack or similar in order to charge it whilst you're on the move.
An ideal gadget for anyone who likes travelling or the great outdoors and might want to charge up their gadgets whilst there!