Video: Solio Hybrid Gadget Charger

A composite review of the SOLIO Hydrid solar charger.

The Good

Duration: 1min 51sec

This Is Green editor Jorge Guerra takes a look at the Solio Hybrid Charger which can charge via the sun or an electrical outlet.

Duration: 5min 10sec

Solio, the hybrid-solar charger, goes to Africa to support the Village Phone program.

via Treehugger

The Bad
Jessica Gottlieb pans the Solio (specifically the Solio Classic Hybrid Charger) in her guest post on the Celsias blog, Why the Solio Solar-Powered iPod Charger is a Dismal Disappointment.

Too bad it doesn’t work.

I mean it works, in that it does what it says it will do. It’ll charge your iPhone in about 6-8 hours, if you’re not using said iPhone during that time. By contrast the iPhone plugged into a cigarette lighter in the car charges in 25 minutes. The batteries will recharge in the Solio when it’s left in direct sunlight (again for 6-8 hours) so if you’re ready to take $70-$100 of electronics and leave it out in the elements you’ll be much happier, just make sure to avoid shade at all costs. If you plan to leave it in your kitchen window, prepare for disappointment.

It won’t charge in car windows and I don’t know why but I suspect it has something to do with tempered glass.

I don’t think her chief complaints are a Solio specific issues, but are rather limitations of solar chargers in general. For instance, my BOGO solar flashlight also requires 6-8 hours in direct sunlight to fully charge (longer in indirect sunlight). Treehugger gives a list of other solar chargers on the market, but sadly not a side by side comparison of the lot.

The Bottom Line
Taking all this in along with the info on Solio’s site, it seems like these little gadgets are ideal for people who are out in the middle of nowhere with no other source of power. It might also make a good emergency charger for those annoying times when you forgot to plug in your cell phone before trying to meet up with friends. They are pricey however, with models ranging from $80 to $200.

CNET’s fuller review