When you’re on the go for long periods of time, the last thing that you need is for your mobile phone or MP3 player to be dead. Most of the time when we need our gadgets the most, you tend not to be near a wall socket for power, so what can you do to get a little extra juice out of that 1 day battery on your smartphone? Well, if you live in a sunny place, you could always use solar power…
That is exactly what the Monaco Solar Charger allows you to do. The concept is pretty simple: keep the device in the sun for long enough so that it can charge the internal battery, and then when you need to top up the battery on your phone or MP3 player, you can do so easily enough!
Unfortunately, we don’t live in the sunniest place in the world, so the sun might not always have your back. Even so, I was lucky enough to spend a really sunny few days in the Lake District, which proved to be the perfect testing ground for the charger away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Charging The Charger
When it comes to making sure there’s juice in the charger in case you need it on the road, you have a few options. The first choice you have is the wall plug, which comes with the charger (the model that I received contained a US style plug, so you may need to have an adaptor handy if you want to use it for charging). You will notice that there’s a USB port at the bottom of the plug, which allows you to plug in the supplied USB cable, hook it up the charger and get the battery ready for the road!
Of course, with the supplied USB cable, you can also use a nearby computer to make sure that the battery is topped up, so don’t worry if you haven’t got a spare wall plug! It goes without saying that the third option would allow you to charge the solar charger via its solar panel. As long as you have the sun, you’ll have power!
I’ve tried one or two solar chargers in the past, including the popular Freeloader Solar Charger for mobile phones, iPods and other MP3 players, so I was interested to see how long it would take the Monaco to fully charge.
It took the device a little over 6 hours to go from flat to fully charged when powering via USB, which is ok if you can just leave it to charge overnight and then take it with you in the day. When testing out its solar charging abilities, the Monaco took considerably longer than the 6 hours it takes to charge via USB, but this is unsurprising considering that I’m in England, and the sun is a rare commodity around these parts! All in all, it took approximately 9 and a half hours to charge in the sun, although if you’re in a sunnier location, you may be able to get that time down to the advertised 8 hours.
Having a charger is no good unless you’ve got the right adaptors, and luckily, Monaco has got you covered here. Included in the box is a USB cable with a special adaptor on the end, allowing you to choose between using USB A or USB B depending on your gadgets needs! The USB port on the charger is standard, so you should be able to power any device via USB from this, which is certainly great news.
All in all, I found the Monaco Solar Charger to be a great little product that you may come to rely on when you’re in the middle of nowhere and stuck without any power to your music player or phone! You can get one for yourself for around $40.