At TestFreaks we like green products, they’re innovative and of course they offer something to help do a small part in helping conserve our planet. One thing that comes to mind when you mention green products is solar power, you can’t get much more green than power from the sun, it’s virtually limitless and a free source of power. Today for review I’ve got the Monaco mobile solar charger from our friends and Wireless Ground. This little product is small and portable and can be used to charge many types of small devices like MP3 players, phones and Bluetooth headsets. It comes with two common mini-USB style tips, but it also has a regular USB port on it so you can charge virtually anything that can be charged via USB.
The Monaco solar charger doesn’t come in any special packaging, just a white box with the contents in plastic bags.
Once you unpack everything you’ll find the charger itself, two USB cables, USB AC adapter and two tips. The two tips included are the mini and micro styles.
The two USB cables included are for different things, one has a mini-UBS connection on it that is used to actually charge the charger and the other has a round style connection for the tips.
The charger itself is small, a little bigger than a cell phone really. On the top is the solar panel and below it is an LED indicator. The rest of the charger is just plain black plastic.
On the bottom edge of the charger you’ll find two USB connections one standard and one mini.
The new Monaco Mobile Phone Solar Charger is downright a life saver.
Go Green in style with this Solar Battery Charger. This solar battery charger, will charge your phone in any situation. The Mobile Phone Solar Charger can be recharged from any computer, any wall outlet (USB charger) or through sunlight. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket so you can charge your phone wherever you go. With the Mobile Phone Solar Charger, you can charge your phone and save the environment at the same time. This solar charger was able to withstand the heat of the sun for an extended period of time.
3 ways to charge the Mobile Phone Solar Charger:
* Via AC power: Connect the Mobile Phone Solar Charger by USB cable and USB charger.
Charging time: 6 hours
* Via computer: Connect the Mobile Phone Solar Charger to computer by USB cable.
Charging time: 6 hours
* Via solar: Expose the Mobile Phone Solar Charger
Charging time: 8 hours
LED light turns red when the Solar Charger is getting power (either from sunlight or through AC Adapter). LED light turns green once the Solar Charger is fully charged.
* Solar battery charger
* USB charger
* USB cable (Mini USB)
* USB cable (3.0 DC)
* Mini-USB adapter
* Micro-USB adapter
Weight: 93.5 grams / 3.3 oz.(Lightweight!) (Solar Charger by itself)
Dimension: 55.5 x 105.8 x 14.5mm
Here’s the Monaco charger with two of my phones, the Backflip and the AT&T Tilt for size comparison:
The Tilt is a rather large phone really, and you can see the charger is bigger, so it’s still small enough to fit in your pocket though. It is about half as thick of my Tilt though.
You can charge one of three ways, the sun of course, USB via your computer or USB via the AC adapter. Charging via computer or AC adapter is the same, and takes the same amount of time, about six hours. Charging via the sun takes a little longer at eight hours, but that’s less than other I’ve reviewed, usually it’s about 12 hours for charging via the sun. The LED on the bottom is red when charging and then green when done.
Using the charger is simple, just pick the style of tip you need and plug it in then it goes to work. I charged my Tilt, Droid X and the Sony MW600 bluetooth headset for example:
The Monaco solar charger is very easy to use and it seems like it has a lot of power in it to charge a few devices. Charging with it seems to take about the same time as it would if you were charging via the USB on your computer, so it’s not exactly fast but it works fine.
The charging cable is basically just a regular USB cable with a special end on it for the tips, meaning that it plugs into a regular style USB port on the charger. If you don’t have the right tip, like for an iPod you can just plug the actual iPod USB cable into the charger and it will charge from it.
One thing I don’t like about this charger is that there’s no indicator to let you know it’s working. Yes the devices you are charging usually have some sort of indicator, but the Monaco solar charger does not so to see if it’s working you’ll need to check the device your charging.
The next small complaint I could have is the price, or specifically what you get for the price. You only get two tips, yes they are very common styles, that will work with a lot of things, but still it’s only two tips. Do a search in internet and you’ll find many similar solar chargers that cost less, but come with several tips for more compatibility. Granted most people will only need the two that come with it, but again what about those that need other tips? Just something to think about.. For example I have the Arctic C1 Mobile Solar Charger and it costs about $25 and comes with four different tips, and it’s much smaller in size. Another difference is that the C1 will actually charge from regular light, like my desk lamp, where the Monaco won’t, so that’s another thing to take into account.
The Monaco is a product that is like so many others out there already, when it comes to using the sun to charge your gadgets you’re going to find a lot of choices. This one works yes, but it doesn’t set itself apart from the others at all. When you’ve got a market that is flooded with similar products, you need to yours to stand out and this one just doesn’t do that at all. There’s nothing blatantly wrong with it, it works and seems to be fairly well made, but when compared to others it’s expensive and very little comes with it in terms of accessories.
The bottom line is if you’re looking for something like this then yes it will work, but you’ve got better choices out there in terms of pricing and what you’ll get for that price.
+Easy to use
+Small and portable
+Seems well made
-Only two tips come with it
-A bit expensive when compared to others
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