When the power went out for hundreds of thousands of neighbors a couple weeks ago, it got many of us thinking about some "I wish I had" gadgets. Tops on the list were a generator, batteries to power that flashlight that never worked or, possibly, a 500-foot power cord to reach your across-the-street neighbor, since they had power even though you didn't.
Another gadget that might have come in handy is the Solio H1000 Hybrid Solar Charger (retails at Solio.com for $80; available at Amazon.com for $58).
This Solio model actually stores energy for up to a year, until you need it. Then you simply attach one of the interchangeable tips to power virtually any mobile phone, portable digital music player, digital camera or GPS device.
The Solio provides enough juice to fully charge your favorite electronic device, and it only takes the sun 10 to 12 hours to recharge your Solio (one hour of sunshine is said to be enough to charge a phone for 15 minutes of talk time or your digital media player for 40 minutes of music).
While the Solio certainly could have helped during Central Ohio's recent powerlessness, this 11-ounce gadget is really designed to be used on-the-go anywhere in the world to power up your pocketful of gadgets.
The hybrid unit can be recharged through a hand-sized solar panel or by plugging into the USB port of your computer. It has a built-in carabiner clip at one end so it stays secure on your backpack, belt or wherever you choose to hang it.
The Solio H1000 comes with a USB charging cable and three charging tips. The first can be used to power most Nokia N-series cell phones, while the second is designed to charge Motorola and BlackBerry phones or Garmin GPS devices.
The final tip has a female USB adapter that will fit some digital cameras and the charging cables for most MP3 players, iPhones and iPods - the ones that normally plug into your computer's USB port to recharge your gadget.
If you have a gadget that requires a different kind of charging tip, additional adapters are available from Solio for $10 to $12 each. All in all, Solio offers six different models of solar chargers ranging in price from $80 to $170.
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