updated 05:25 pm EST, Fri January 28, 2011
System pairs all necessary features
Solar Components has finally begun shipping its latest solar charger, which was demonstrated this week at Macworld Expo. MacNN checked out the Joos Orange, a slab-shaped device that combines solar cells with an integrated battery. The general design reminded us of Solio's offerings, but with a bigger battery that is claimed to charge a dead iPad up to 65 percent.
The Orange measures approximately 5.8- x 8.6- x 0.8-inches, providing enough room for a solar panel that is much larger than that of many alternatives. The internal battery reportedly charges in approximately 10 hours of optimum sunlight, though the number is likely much higher when dealing with overcast skies or indirect angles.
The build is certainly bulkier than the Solio chargers or other small products, but a larger battery is a must if users are trying to charge an iPad rather than cellphones. We welcome the USB output instead of a dock connector, as any USB-chargeable device can be attached.
The Orange feels well built; the company even dunked the charger in water to prove its resilience to submersion. Surprisingly, most of the other chargers that we've seen lack waterproof housings. Even though solar chargers do not work well in the rain, they are likely to be used in the outdoors where electronics can be easily destroyed by a surprise rainstorm.
At $129, the Joos Orange seems like a bargain compared to the smaller chargers that cost nearly as much with a fraction of the battery capacity and no waterproof protection.