iSolarPlus Solar Powered Charger Case hands-on
As much as we adore the fact that it equips a sizable 2,400 mAh battery and a solar panel, the iSolarPlus Charger Case is indeed a chunky one as it seemingly is thicker than two iPhone 4S units on top of one another. So if portability is something high on your list, you can forget about it with this one – even more, it’s thicker than previous battery cases we’ve checked out. Although its design is practical, which accommodates all versions of the iPhone 4 & 4S, the top edge and some of its sides are left exposed, and on top of that, it doesn’t come with any kind of screen protectors to protect the display of the iPhone. Obviously, we’re a bit hesitant on flipping it over to charge under the sun, since the front portion of the handset is going to come into contact with the surface we lay it on.
Now it’s nice that the case will charge even on a cloudy day, and in the event you’re going on days without sunlight, you can charge it via its miniUSB port. However, it took us nearly five whole days to get the battery at 100% capacity via its solar panel. Granted that it wasn’t sunny on all of the days, it’s the real-world scenario we’re putting it through. Seeing we have the white version of the case, its better equipped in keeping the handset cool, but we’re scared to imagine leaving the phone inside of the black version of the case – especially when it can get a teeny bit toasty after a few minutes baking outside in the sun.
Sadly, the 2,400 mAh battery fails to provide a full charge in our testing. In fact, after completely draining the iPhone 4S, the fully charged iSolarPlus Charger Case manages to charge it back to 85 percent – so it hardly provides the juice to bring us back to full form. Still, this is one solution you’ll want to check out if you plan on going consecutive days with no outlet in sight to charge your iPhone. In theory, you can charge your iPhone for free thanks to good ‘ole solar power. For $89.99, some might find a decent amount of value to pick one up.
1. hepresearch (unregistered)
Crud... solar power collection is so weak and inefficient these days. It is renewable and eco-friendly, but that is all it is. It may sound convenient and all, but it really is not, until the technology can be drastically improved in the future.
So, until then, I present to you a NEW renewable-energy-based iDevice charging concept... the iWindFarm!
6. Androidtidbits.com (banned) (Posts: 14; Member since: 10 Dec 2011)
I think this gadget will be useful when going outdoors and you really need to charge your phone.
2. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
looks like a conversion kit to turn an iphone into gameboy.
3. jacko (unregistered)
great more things to make the is**t catch fire lol
4. sponhucom (Posts: 4; Member since: 09 Dec 2011)
-yeah, might be combustible., and it might now be usable during these chilly weather.,
7. Androidtidbits.com (banned) (Posts: 14; Member since: 10 Dec 2011)
I though iPhone's has these special glass that protects it from any scratch. So flipping it over to charge is not a problem, i think. I wonder if they have these device compatible for Android phones.
9. ILikeBubbles (Posts: 278; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
phenominal theory. the future of battery live HAS to come from either sun or human energy... its the only way. electricity i think isn't bad but with all the technology avalible we should be breaking into new fields... maybe this is just private sector solar though.. i bet someone has solar technology years ahead of this... i know it borderlines a conspiracy theory but anyone with friends in the military can tell you they're holding out on us :p i think its honestly the industry that wants to sell us their product at the rate they want as opposed to giving us the bleeding edge of what they have... a great example is the droid razr alternates that came out in china with a 14mp camera? why don't we see that kind of power prevalent in the US... like i said. i know it really does borderline conspiracy theory but we can't be so far behind as this in technology... when was solar technology discovered? wikipedia says the 1980s. since then how many billions of american dollars have gone into R&D?
11. chirole (Posts: 18; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
its only now that the iPhone 4s has been made. You're putting too much thought into it haha.
Moto isn't a household name in China so they need something to break into the market, not to mention Chinese market is doing very well so people can lavish on expensive things! Do that in the US and people would tell you're crazy for selling something too expensive.
10. cncrim (Posts: 375; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)
Solar charger like this one is very pratical!! Just need to be more compact oh well good start keep it up.
12. Forsaken77 (Posts: 542; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)
This type of charger is perfect for people that go camping or are outdoors for days at a time with no electrical outlets. I would like to see a solar panel the size of a sim card on the back of every hard case for every phone. It may not charge the whole battery but it will drastically slow the battery drain.
13. MySolarLife (Posts: 1; Member since: 17 Jan 2012)
Full disclosure: My name is William Huff, Jr. and I'm the Head Marketing Dude for My Solar Life, Inc., the company that makes this case; I wanted to add/address a couple points John has brought up.
First, thank you to John for reviewing the product. It is great working with people like you and I appreciate you taking the time to work with us.
Here is more info for everyone:
1. John is dead-on - our case is thicker. With the solar panel and the huge 2400mAh battery, the case is a workhorse; if you are looking for something sleeker, our case won't work for you. The only problem is almost all other sleeker cases have smaller batteries.
2. Heat/Cold/Shock protection - You can place your phone in direct sunlight and the solar panel will NOT allow your device to overheat. The iPhone does have a built-in thermostat that protects your device in temps over 120 degrees (approx.), so if you leave your phone in your hot car during the summer, or it is 125 degrees ambient temp outside, your device will shut off regardless of if you have our case or not. Our case will prevent your device from overheating in direct sunlight. (Assuming you have the solar panel pointed at the sun and not the iPhone's screen, of course.)
3. Our case has proprietary circuitry that will NEVER overcharge or overheat your device battery - This is a main problem with other battery and solar chargers; they don't have a way to shut off the flow of current to the device battery once the device battery is fully charged, so the device itself can be damaged. The iSolar Plus design prevents that from happening, extending the life of your device.
4. Charge times - it was my fault for sending John the device without the proper instructions for charging (duh!). For optimal usage, when you first get a case, you want to charge it fully via USB or wall charger for the first week; after that, you can use either the solar panel or USB/wall charger.
Here are the times I got when testing a unit myself:
- Dead phone/dead case battery - 30 minutes, I had enough charge to make a call
- Dead phone/100% charged case - case charged the phone in 2.5 hours - about 1% every 1.5 minutes
- Case is dead/placed in sun - case battery charged 3/4 full in about 4 hours
- Case plugged into USB or wall - about 1% every 1.5 minutes
The iSolar case will ALWAYS charge the phone first, no matter what, then it will shut off flow to phone and charge the case's internal battery.
5. Functionality/Reliability - You can expect over five hours of additional talk, text, Interweb and music/video with the iSolar case.
So, if you are what we call the Power Mobile User - your lifestyle and your mobile device or inseparable - then the iSolar Plus can keep you connected.
Thanks! Any questions, please shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com or visithttp://www.mysolarlife.com.