Have you ever been camping and you decided to use your phone to play some tunes for some good old fashion dancing, only to have it die and ruin the moment? I have, and it’s slightly upsetting. I’ve also got a terrible habit of letting my phone get so close to death that I am quite often frantically searching for a power outlet to plug my charger into. When I can’t find a charging solution, my phone battery drains and I am cut off from the world, never to be heard from again! Fortunately, there is an assortment of external battery packs available that you can purchase to use as a backup plan. Of course, the problem of finding a way to recharge a battery pack is still present; that’s where the Solio Xcellerator is really quite handy.
Solar energy continues to increase in popularity, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s practically free – you only have to pay for the panel to harness the sunlight and convert it into usable energy, and today’s panels are durable and long-lasting. Even more important, it can be used to power many things and poses very little threat to the environment, unlike its competitors which produce carbon dioxide emissions.
Solio is the brand name from a company called Better Energy Systems Inc. They’re based in Oakland, California but have teams in the UK and Kenya. They’re a great company that strives to provide clean energy to everyone, no matter what their geography or financial standing is. I was granted the privilege of testing their Solio Xcellerator and Hub. It’s a simple device; it comes packaged in a tablet sized box containing an 8.5 by 5.5 solar panel, the battery pack (hub) and a versatile USB to micro USB cable. The hub has both a micro USB slot (used for charging the hub) and a USB slot (for charging your phone or other electronic device).
The Xcellerator can charge the Hub in 4-6 hours on a sunny day and 4.5 hours from a USB port. If you’re familiar with charging a battery via solar energy, you’d recognize what a feat that is. Other solar chargers that I’ve owned take twice the time to charge with the solar panel as they do with a USB port. But Solio uses high efficiency solar cells. There’s even has a kickstand on the back of the Xcellerator to position your panel perfectly to catch the most sunlight. Even more great news; The Xcellerator can charge your Hub even when it’s cloudy! It will just take a little longer (about 8 hours). Although I didn’t go out of my way to test the durability, both pieces appear to be well made, and should hold up to rough handling while camping.
Many solar charger manufacturers tell you to plug the solar panel directly into your expensive device; Solio always puts a smart battery between the sun and your electronics. There are so many reasons Solio promotes that. For one, the battery in your phone is not built to take the high heat of solar charging. And connecting your device to a solar charger exposes them to large surges and drops in voltage which may ruin the battery life of your phone. For me personally, I have a hard enough time keeping my phone alive with the regular battery, and would be in a whole heap of trouble if I destroyed its lifespan!
Using the Solio Xcellerator and Hub is simple. Simply Charge the Hub (plug the micro USB into the Hub and the other end into the Xcellerator or a USB port), then charge your device. Fully charged, the Hub can charge popular smartphones in about 90 minutes! That is about how long it takes to charge my phone from empty to full with a wall charger. If you’re ever wondering how charged your Hub is, simply press the button located on the top. It flashes slowly 1-5 times to indicate the battery level. It lights up red when it’s charging and flashes green when it’s outputting to your electronic device. I was able to recharge my phone twice from the Hub before it needed to be charged itself.
To purchase the Solio Xcellerator, or view their other charging solutions, visit solio.com. It’s well worth $100 because of what it will save you in panic and frustrations. You’ll never again worry about being cut off from the world due to your phone dying and I’m grateful that I won’t find myself in that situation any more.