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Powertraveller® Solar Chargers Review


Anyone who owns a battery-powered gadget will have suffered the agony of a flashing power meter at some time or another; usually just when said gadget is needed. The Achilles heel of such feature-rich devices is their reliance on mains power, and that is where the Powertraveller range steps into the spotlight. Solar technology and efficient batteries (guaranteed to hold 75% of their charge for at least a year) are headline qualities that make these the best portable chargers on the market. The clever people at Powertraveller have created four variants, each with its own pros and cons. Read on to see which one is right for you.

The entry-level model is the Solarmonkey, a clamshell solar panel that plugs directly into a mobile phone, iPod or PSP. It can also charge the packaged Solarnut, a tiny battery that gives approximately 15 minutes’ talk time if the sun doesn’t turn up. Together they weigh next to nothing and are perfect for topping up your device while at the beach. Unfortunately, they aren’t powerful enough to charge power-hungry smartphones such as the iPhone4 or HTC. As they only work using sunlight, they’re also pretty useless on a winter holiday in England.

Should you happen to live somewhere that sees less sunshine than the dark side of the moon, don’t fret though. The Powermonkey Explorer takes all the good aspects of its cheaper brother, improves on them, and then throws mains or USB charging into the mix. A fully charged Explorer can run an iPod for 40 hours or provide up to 96 hours’ standby on any smartphone. With interchangeable tips, it’s possible to leave all your untidy chargers at home, and thus the Explorer is ideal for trips where you are near a mains socket each night. Simply charge your devices on an ad hoc basis during the day, and plug it in while you sleep. The only downside to this lightweight wonder? It doesn’t pack enough punch to cope with the iPad or other tablets. For that, you’ll be needing the Powermonkey Extreme.

Weighing in at 0.5 kg including the clamshell, the Extreme may be heavier than the Explorer, but not a single gram is wasted. The capacitor unit holds a massive 9000mAh worth of charge which, to put it into language we all understand, is the equivalent of almost two full charges for the iPad. A handy Velcro strap can attach the solar panel to a tent or rucksack, making the Extreme the go-to charger for outdoor pursuits and camping trips. It’s also waterproof and shockproof, so a sudden downpour or careless companion won’t stop you playing Angry Birds in the Serengeti.

Finally, for hardcore outdoorsmen there is the Powergorilla. Working in tandem with the Solargorilla, this variable-voltage monster can recharge practically anything, up to and including laptops. The two Gorillas weigh over 3kg combined and, unlike King Kong, are probably tough enough to survive a fall from the Empire State building. Best not to try, though!

If you’re still undecided, Mantality would recommend the Extreme every day of the week and twice on Sundays. The massive charge it can hold, coupled with the built-in female USB port, make it a consummate all-rounder that fits into a case the size of a beer can. You’ll never have to suffer a dead battery again.

© By Jack744 for


About Author

Lover of gadgets, men's culture, cool stuff, Earl Grey tea and all things manly. An optimist in his prime. When he's not keeping the wheels turning at Mantality HQ you'll find him trawling the web, and visiting trade shows to find the newest and coolest gadgets. During his down time he's usually with his 2 dogs, on the golf course, cycling or basking in the literary company of Oscar Wilde, Bret Easton Ellis or Martin Amis whilst drinking espresso strong enough to strip paint.

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