Review: Dell Solar Charger for mobile devices
I’m sitting here at my desk, and a package is delivered to me, for my boss, from Dell. But my boss is gone this week, and since it’s from Dell, and I’m the IT Admin, I open it up.
Turns out, there is a Dell Solar Charger for mobile devices in there.
I spent a good 45-60 minutes on the internet searching Dell.com and talking with the Tech Support to figure out how this got here, and where I could get my own. Why? Because it’s the closest thing to a wireless power supply that I can get right now that would let me charge my phone anywhere. And (after being stranded in a bad part of Dallas, TX, at 2am, with a dead phone and sitting outside a sex-toy shop/tattoo parlor) I need to be able to charge my phone – anywhere.
This is my first review of a technology product, and I’ve only had it for about 3 hours, but there are some things I already have to say about it.
- Solar charger connecting cable
- 5 cell phone adapters that work for many models of iPod/iPhone, mini USB for Blackberry/Motorola V3, Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson.
- Travel pouch
- USB charging cable
- Suction cups
According to the instructions, you can charge the solar panel’s internal lithium battery by leaving it out with constant exposure to light for 12-15 hours, or you can plug it in to your computer with the provided USB cable for 4-5 hours. There are two LED lights on the face of the device, and the one on the left will stay a strong Red color while charging through USB, and turns green when the battery is over 90% charged. When the one on the right is Red or Off, it means the battery power is not full, and requires charging. The brighter the LED, the stronger the battery charge is. The device will hold its battery charge for up to three months.
When you plug in your phone, there is a voltage selector with 5.0V, 5.5V, and 9.5V (all +/- 0.5%V).
Choose the correct voltage for your phone (usually can be found on the original adapter) and the correct plug fitting, and you’re set. The LED on the left will turn red to show it is charging, and the LED on the right will show the strength of the battery. And if you’re phone is charging correctly, it too will show it’s normal charging indicator on the device. Charging time for phones is usually 1-2 hours.
- I like that it’s solar powered, and holds a charge – if it’s daytime, I won’t have a problem finding a location to charge my phone. And if it is night time, any public light or light source will provide enough energy to keep the solar charger going long enough to get a reasonable charge to my phone.
I can charge the panel with a USB cable for 1/3 the charge time to get it going, and leave it in my car to charge the rest of the time
- Multiple phone power adapters so that I can charge my friends’ iPhones, my Windows Mobile phones, and my girlfriend’s Nokia phone.
- The size of the device is no bigger than the actual phone I’m charging – it’s as tall as a standard Dry-Erase Marker.
- Comes with a nifty little pouch to carry around all the other power adapters and the USB cable that I won’t need to access that often.
The various power adapters don’t particularly “hold-on” to the cable that well. It’s quite easy to bump or twist the cable in such a way that the phone stops charging.
- I like that there are suction cups that can be attached to the solar charger, but I wish they weren’t on the bottom of the device. For me to use this in my vehicle, I’d need a flat surface on the dashboard to attach it to – ideally they would be on the faceplate so I could stick it to my windshield, facing outward.
- This isn’t really a functional con, but there are no markings or part numbers or any other type of identification as to what this device is or the specs of it anywhere on the device itself. This brought about a lot of confusion when talking with support, and trying to explain what I was referring to.
- Solar Panel (mono/multi crystalline): 5.5V 100mA
- Rechargeable Lithium Battery: 3.7V 2000mAh
- USB charging cable: 5V 500mA
- DC output:
- 5.0V +/- 0.5%
- 5.5V +/- 0.5%
- 9.5V +/- 0.5%
- Charging time for mobile phones: 1-2 hours
- Charging time for the lithium battery using the solar panel: 12-15 hours
- Charging time for the lithium battery using the USB cable: 4-5 hours.
- You can charge approximately 2-3 cell phones off a fully charged battery
- If this unit detects unstable output, it may shut down to protect from potential problems if the incorrect voltage is selected while charging devices.
- If charging iPod/iPhone devices, please select the 5.0V option.
- If the included adapters do not work for your particular device please locate your nearest electronics store for more options.
- Keep it away from hot surfaces, and water.
- Static electricity or shot may damage the internal components
- Before you use this charging unit, please select the correct voltage option of the unit you want to charge. Smaller devices like cell phones and digital cameras will be 5.0V or 5.5V, and larger devices such as portable DVD players will use the 9.5V. DO NOT charge your smaller devices using the 9.5V setting as it could potentially damage your device.
So that’s my review of the Dell Solar Phone Charger – so far, I like the idea, and think it has some great usage potential – especially on the lake in a dry-box while I’m fishing. Let me know what you think about it.