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Quick Power On The Go
Ok everyone hates their battery to die. How many times have you scrambled in restaurants, airports and hallways looking for a plug to power your phone, mobile handheld game or tablet? How many times have you stared at the tiny red sliver that indicates the last waning minute of power and wished for some way to charge it and no solution was at hand?
Enter the Juicebar Mobile Solar Charger.
This ipod sized (2.5" x 4" x .5") solar charger is the perfect companion for those long road trips, beach days, camping trips or other places where you want to use your device longer then a single power charge will allow.
The front has a simple charge indicator (a series of blue LEDs). When you press the large button it shows how much charge you have in the device, however since it isn't a digital readout this is not a precise measurement - at best it's a visual indicator showing 'approximately' how much the Juicebar is charged. But it does give you a good idea of what's available.
The smaller button is a flashlight button. Press that and a small but bright pin light on the end comes on for the occasional need.
The back is the solar panel. Place the device with this side up in sunlight and it will start charging the internal power reservoir.
On one end is the connections. A standard USB port is where you attach charging cables from your mobile devices to be charged by the Juicebar. A second connector is where you connect the Juicebar to a computer or USB port to charge it without using the solar charge option.
The Juicebar comes with the main charging unit, a mini USB charging cable, a connector cable, four different connectors you can change (micro USB, a Nokia 8210, a Nintendo 3DS and one for the Sony PSP). You also get a small cloth drawstring bag to carry it in.
According to the packaging you can use this to charge many devices, specifically iPhone, Blackberry, RAZR, ThunderBolt, TomTom, Golf Buddy, Sony PSP, Nintendo 3DS, Nokia, Samsung and 'hundreds of others'. I tested it with the iPhone 4, LG Extravert, Kindle Keyboard and Nexus 10.
Charging The JuiceBar
There are two ways to charge the Juicebar, using sunlight and the solar cells, or use the USB cable to charge from a computer.
To charge from the computer, you plug in the supplied USB cable to a computer and connect that cable to the smaller port on the Juicebar. To charge an empty Juicebar to full capacity this way can take several hours.
To use the solar charge you simply place the device solar cells up in full sun and let it charge. As you can see from the picture the solar cells are a bit smaller than the device itself. Charging it takes a while depending on how bright and consistant the sunlight is, and it makes a slight difference if you are in direct light outside or doing it through a glass pane like a house window or auto windshield. When I charged it using solar I simply set it in the direct sun on the deck on a sunny day - charging took about 6 or so hours. While I didn't see anything in the documentation about temperature it would stand to reason that the external temperature might make a difference - if it's a sunny winter day it may take longer than a sunny summer day. (Note that since the body is metal it does get hot in the sun.)
Charging Mobile Devices
My first test was to charge my iPhone 4. I waited until my phone was down to under 20% charge and getting warnings, then connected it to the Juicebar using the standard iPhones' USB to iPhone cable (you have to already have one of these as it DOES NOT come with the Juicebar.)
I left it on for a couple hours and my phone was charged. Once the phone had reached a full or nearly full charge I started getting a message on the phone saying this device is not supported on the iPhone. Not sure why but it did charge it every time I used it on the iPhone.
I also tried it on my son's LG Extravert, and it worked fine as well. I tried to use another sons older Nintendo DS (not 3DS) and I didn't have a proper adapter with the Juicebar. I also charged our Kindle Keyboard e-reader with no issues. It also worked with the Nexus 10 but it seemed to charge slowly. However the Nexus 10 doesn't charge rapidly even when connected directly to a computer - you need the Nexus charging adapter to get any reasonably speedy charge.
To some extent you can also use the device as a power source while it is charging. So if your phone is dead and you really need to make an important call but the Juicebar isn't charged yet but is charging, you should be able to make that call while it's charging as long as there is some power in the Juicebar...
Bottom line is the Juicebar works if it supports your device. Pre-charge from your computer and take it with you as a battery backup for long trips, hikes, or flights. Place it on the dash as you drive on a sunny day and it will be charged when you need it. A good fall back when no other power is available!
You can find out more at CableOrganizer.com
Recommended. 4 stars!
Lou Wallace is the founder and CEO of Digital Media Online. During his career he has been publisher and Editor-in-Chief of numerious publications in the digital media market.