Don't Buy It Until We Try It: Solar Charger - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Don't Buy It Until We Try It: Solar Charger

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For many of us, our phones and other electronic devices are with us wherever we go. But, finding an outlet to plug in the charger is not always possible.  Well, there may be an easier way. In this week's "Don't Buy It, Until We Try It," I tried out the Solar Charger.

From texting to surfing the web, everyone is glued to their cell phones nowadays.  But, with heavy use, batteries sometimes don't last that long.

"Especially with smartphones now, I mean, they do do a lot more stuff, but they definitely die a lot faster.  So, we do have a lot of people come in complaining about phones dying faster," says Cellular Communications sales representative Hayden Hall.

But, finding a place to plug in a charger can be difficult.  So, we decided to try out the Solar Charger.  It sells for around $10 and promises to capture and store energy from the sun or USB cable.

"The key chain has a flashlight on there.  It does feel pretty light though. It doesn't feel like it is very sturdy, then just the cords for the different phones," says Hall.

But, will it actually charge your phone?  Initially, Hall is skeptical.

"It would probably be better for emergency things or just a back up for something like that," says Hall.  "I don't really see it being too practical as far as every day use."

After glancing over the directions, you can either charge it in the sunlight or the computer USB port.  We decided to go with solar energy. 

"It takes it about two days to charge solely in the sun," says Hall.

Since the iPhone is almost fully charged, we only put the Solar Charger in the sun for a few hours, and then we connected the iPhone adapter to the Solar Charger and the phone.

"And, it's charging," says Hall.

The battery icon appears to be in the charging mode. Now, it's time to test a Blackberry. Only this time, we had to use the micro-USB adapter. 

"This is going to be the same one that all the other phones use besides the iPhone.  Now, just plug it in the same way as the iPhone and it's charging now," says Hall.

Depending on the type of phone you have, charging your phone in direct sunlight could take up to two days.

"I just don't think it's very practical," explains Hall.  "I mean it just takes so long to charge using the light.  I mean, I think most people are just going to charge it using the computer, so it pretty much must be a portable battery anyway."

To give this product a fair chance, I put it out in my hot car for an entire day.  And, at night, I plugged my phone into it.  Initially, it began charging, but within a few minutes, there was no energy left.  I still had a dead phone, which is not exactly what they advertised on TV.  But, you may have better luck charging the Solar Charger more before using. 

So, this week's "Don't Buy It, Until We Try It" earns a thumbs down.

If there are any "As Seen on TV" products you would like me to try out, email Amy Fox at afox@kmot.com or leave me a message on the KMOT Facebook page. 

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