Prediction: A lot of East-Coasters are going to be getting solar panels and hand-cranked battery chargers this Christmas – what better stable-door/bolted-horse gift could there be?
So, if you are somehow optimistic enough to think that the sun will shine in New York in the winter, and pessimistic enough to think that global warming will send yet another squall of squirrelly weather this year, then the Switch 8 is for you.
The Switch 8 consists of a folding panel and a battery pack. Unlike my other favorite – the Changers Charger – the panel folds and the battery isn’t shaped like a bad children’s cartoon character. Instead, it’s a handy, easy-to-carry cylinder.
The panel can juice the charger in 6-12 hours, depending on strength (you can also charge it via USB in 2-6 hours). Then, you plug it into your iPhone or whatever and watch its battery-meter climb high enough for you to update your Facebook status to say “hiding in the basement… Again! :(”
The battery is good to fully charge one iPhone, half a Kindle, one fifth of an iPad (the Mini and 2 presumably, as nothing but mainlining the grid seems to make the iPad 3’s needle jump) and three entire MP3 players.
What’s more, it comes with interchangeable tips, so you can tailor it to fit your most-used gadget.
Solar’s pretty cool. I use a panel in my window to keep my iPhone and Kindle going, as well as my pile of Bluetooth speakers, and I strap the same panel to my bike when I’m off on a multi-day trip. But I live in Spain, where we actually have sun (for now). YM, as the old Yankee saying goes, MV. $130.