On review today is the Monaco Mobile Solar Charger courtesy of our good friends over at WirelessGround.com.Â Everybody complains about the need to conserve energy but not many people do anything about it.Â Solar power has been around for a long time, and more and more products are now available all the time that allow us to more efficiently use solar power.Â Monaco is one of many companies that offer solar chargers for wide variety of mobile devices.
The regular price for these devices is apparently around $79.95, but you can get them for $39.95 at WirelessGround.com.
The Monaco solar charger can be used to charge almost any device that charges using USB connectors.Â Many mobile phones, Bluetooth headsets, and portable media players support charging through a USB connector, and Monaco has the options to fit your need.Â The charger comes with a standard USB out port to connect any device’s USB cable for charging other devices.Â They also provide a universal cable that has a USB connector on one end an a round connector with interchangeable tips on the other.
Unpacking the Monaco Mobile Solar Charger
The Monaco Mobile Solar Charger comes in a very plain white box and absolutely no instructions.Â Now I understand that this unit is very simple and has only 2 connectors ports, but I would have expected something inside the box that at least explains the universal connectors on the USB cable.
The device itself is fairly small, Â I would say its about the size of my Google Nexus One.Â The solar unit will easily slip into your second pocket or a backpack if your so inclined.Â I was thinking of ways to use the device in places where the extra power could come in real handy.Â You could always duct tape the charger to the top of your hat when your out hiking and need to keep your phone charged, especially if you use the GPS functionality of your phone to guide your daily hike. Here’s a shot of the charger and a Google Nexus One side by side for you to see for yourselves.
Side by Side comparison with a Google Nexus One
The bottom of the device has two USB ports; One port is used to charge the device from either the supplied electrical charger or by connecting the device to a USB port of a computer.Â The second port is the USB power out connector.
Bottom Connector Ports
You can charge the unit using the supplied Electrical charger when you don’t have access to ample sunlight.Â You can also connect the Monaco Mobile Solar Charger to the USB port of any computer to charge up the battery inside.Â Obviously, the best solution is to simply place the unit in direct sunlight as often as possible and help the environment.Â According to the documentation on the web site, charging takes around 6 hours from the supplied Electrical charger or by using your computer.Â Charging using the solar panels takes a little while longer at 8 hours.
The unit also has a colored LED on the front just below the Solar Panel.Â The LED lights up Red when the unit is charging and turns Green once the unit is fully charged.
Charging Indicator LED
You can connect the unit to your device using a standard USB that came with your device or you can use one of the 2 connectors included with the universal USB cable as shown below.
Universal Connector Tips
One irritation I found using this device is that there is no way to tell how much power is in the device or any indication that you are connected to and charging another device.Â It would have been nice to have a simple display or a couple of LEDs that could be illuminated by pressing a button so you could make a simple check to see if the unit still had power in it.
With a rated 1800 mAh, you could charge a few devices in one go.Â The device is a USB device and charges as though your connected to your computer port so be prepared to wait a while for a charge.Â From what I can tell, the device will charge itself at the same time as charging another device so in theory, you could keep your device running for ever as long as you had the sunlight to keep the battery pack charging.
Here’s what they say on the Wireless Undergound product page:
The new Monaco Mobile Phone Solar Charger is downright a life saver.
So think of the times when your beloved phone begins to die out, you hear it beeping and vibrating, begging to know why you did not fully charge it last night. Whatever the reasons may be, you simply are about to run out of juice. Now there are a few things you can do in this situation, if you have your standard charger you can of course stand around and charge your phone, if you brought your car charger even better. But who are we kidding you most likely have forgotten both of your chargers and are becoming un easy as once your phone dies off you will be left with no way to get in touch with your contacts, let alone GPS your way home, or even check important emails that you would be expecting.
So the Monaco Mobile Phone Solar Charger will axe all of this out of submission, this solar charger will charge your phone in a pinch. The Monaco Mobile Phone Solar Charger is a great device for movers and shakers that would be on the go, for students who canâ€™t seem to remember to charge their phone at night; the Monaco Mobile Phone Solar Charger is a practical device and would be a great green addition to the constant traveler.
With its light weight design and ease of functionality the Mobile Phone Solar Charger is surely a very useful little device and would help pretty much anyone in a charging jam.
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
The Monaco Mobile Solar Charger is a great addition to anyone’s arsenal of mobile accessories.Â As long as you remember to keep the battery pack charged, you will always have an instant battery backup no matter where you are.Â I would definitely recommend this product if your travels take you away from the grid, of if you want to lighten your power load even just a little bit.Â The body of unit feels solid and pretty well made. While the Solar Charger is Â fairly expensive even when you do consider the advertised discount, it’s almost expected given the quality of the device and the fact that any type of solar power still carries a higher initial cost compared to traditional methods.Â There are other products on the market for less money with a bigger battery size, and you’ll have to try those on your own.Â I can’t comment on the quality of the other products, but I would imagine they are fairly similar.
If you’d like to purchase one of these devices or just want to get some more info, head over the product page at WirelessGround.com.