Who would have thought we could ever bring along portable energy to keep our electronics afloat in the outdoors? Portable solar energy has been out for a while now making the Solio Magnesium refined and powerful. On my trip to Alaska last year I packed along the Solio Hybrid 1000, which didn’t impress me with the power output and it seemed like it took forever to charge.
The Solio Skinny
I wasn’t quite sure how many watts my iPhone was going to need. I thought something is better than nothing. I found that its not how many watts the electronic uses, its the time frame to charge in relation to how many panels you have. Which depends on how many watts the panel can generate. The magnesium charge time is noticeably shorter than the hybrid and can hold more energy. I also noticed the hybrid was very sensitive when it came to overcast conditions and didn’t charge that well.
The magnesium three blade design seems to establish a better chance to get all the solar rays possible in overcast conditions. This also helps attached it to bungee cords as seen here with my Columbia Mobex trail pack.
We all go with iGo®
The magnesium is the first Solio model compatible with iGo tips. Netbook to iPhone to most Dell laptops, iGo has a tip to keep you powered up. I can even get an iGo tip for the Macbook Pro I’m currently using to write this post. When I was using my hybrid 1000 I was a bit frustrated with all the extra cord I had to track down to plug in my iPhone. This iGo tip has been a big relief because it requires less cord and pieces meaning less stuff to keep track of.
The material used for the Mag is leaps and bounds more durable than the classic. For the couple months I’ve had the Mag I’ve banged it up quite a bit, not on purpose of course. The three blade fan design protects at least two of the panels where the Hybrid 1000 is always exposed. Water resistant? I wouldn’t take this swimming but I accidentally left the Mag out in the rain over night and it did just fine. The port has a rubber seal to protect which is very solid. The Classic model is almost the same as the Mag but doesn’t have the iGo compatibility, durable build, or watt output.
Mag Charging Facts
- Fully charged mag can charge device 3.5 times (Classic – 2 times)
- 8 watt output (Classic – 6w, Hybrid 1000 – 4w)
- 1 hour in the sun = 20 min. talk/30 min. music
Definitely play with the power button for a bit before you start relying on this thing in the outdoors. When you first push the button it will blink 1-5 times showing you how full the charge is. One blink being lowest five blinks being the highest. When the power button is red that means its receiving a charge. The other sweet thing about the Mag is being able to charge it through an outlet. It obviously charges a lot faster than the sun (about 30 min. for full charge) and is a great way to get quick back up storage.
Solio should include a dashboard attachment to charge through the windshield. I do it all the time and it’s a great way to get some rays. The power button takes a little getting use to, sometimes I wonder if the charger is on and losing power. I wonder if they are considering a different interface.
Get the magnesium model, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.” You’ll get frustrated with the lower watt output with the other models. For $169 the Mag is reasonable for what it can do and you can always hit up the Solio Twitter peeps for daily contests to win free iGo tips. Fueling crackberry addictions two thumbs at a time.