(This is the latest in a regular weekly series of spotlights on green technology that’s accessible to you and me. If you have a product to suggest for coverage, please send a note via my contact email.)
I've been experimenting with various solar chargers for my mobile gadgets over the past two years. I haven't tested the technology that is the subject of this item, but the format caught my attention because of the bulkiness of certain mobile phone chargers (many of which are offered as a battery-boosting case).
As you can see by the photo, the Suntrica SolarStrap from Suntrica in Finland comes in a different sort of shape, kind of like a tag you would place on your luggage. The gadget is something you could hold in the palm of your hand (provided you don't have really tiny hands).
The device shown in the picture (the SS-W204 line) is the version of this technology that was designed to work with the Apple iPhone and iPod series products. The technology has a 5-volt charging voltage and a capacity of 5.5 watt-hours. It is described as flexible and splash-proof and weighs about 65 grams (about 2.3 ounces). The folded dimensions are 6.3 inches by 4.72 inches by 1 inch.
The SolarStrap that has been rated for the Apple products comes with a cable and it is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, iPod Classic, iPod touch and iPod nano (check the generations to make sure that it will work with older products.)
One hour of solar charging time with the SolarStrap for iPhone or iPod is supposed to give you an addition 19 minutes of talk time or 8 hours of standby time; if you charge for eight hours, you are supposed to get another 2.5 hours of talk time. The version of the product designed for other mobile phones (the current generation is SS-W205) gets slightly less talk time per hour of solar charge.
So here is the not so great news. If you poke around on the Suntrica Web site, you will see that there are no dealers listed in the United States, currently. So you might have trouble getting hands on one of these things, unless you decide to buy it from an international source. When I explored buying one from a source in the United Kingdom (Solar Energy Shop), I figured the product would cost me about $96, plus any international conversion fees on my credit card, plus another $8-plus for shipping.
Past Green Gadgets of the Week:
- SportsArt self-powered fitness equipment
- RainPerfect solar pump for rain barrels
- Philips LED replacement for 75-watt bulbs
- K3 Wind & Solar Charger
- Logitech solar wireless keyboard
- Voltaic Spark solar iPad cover
- Samsung Replenish smartphone (from Sprint)