The Goal Zero Switch 8 is a lightweight, pocket-sized charger that carries enough juice to just about fully charge a cell phone.The charger can also multitask, including serving as a flashlight and UV water purifier.
At five inches (12.7 cm) long and 3/4 inch (1.9 cm) thick, the Switch 8 is quite compact and has the feel of a small flashlight handle – Goal Zero says that it's smaller than a roll of quarters. It weighs just over three ounces (85 grams), so it won't add much feel to a backpack, purse or even pocket. The device includes a flip-out USB for charging from a laptop, solar panel or other USB-equipped charging device.
Because of its small size, the Switch 8 doesn't pack quite enough juice to charge electronic devices fully. The rep we spoke to estimated that a full Switch 8 would charge an iPhone about 94 percent of the way. The Switch 8 itself takes about four to six hours to charge fully from a USB source.
The key to the Switch 8's multifunctional capabilities is in the interchangeable caps on the end opposite the flip-out USB. Goal Zero will offer several different charging caps, such as USB, mini USB, micro USB and Apple charger. This way, you'll be able to use the Switch 8 to charge multiple devices (at separate times) on the go.
In addition to different charging tips, Goal Zero also plans to offer other styles of tips. The rep mentioned that the first round of accessories will include a CREE LED, allowing the Switch 8 to double as a rechargeable flashlight, and a UV water purification tip, something that will be handy for outdoor users.
Goal Zero plans to launch the Switch 8 by September or October. It will retail for US$50 and will also be offered in a package with its NOMAD 3.5 solar charger, a self-contained, two-panel portable charger, for $120. Accessories like the LED flashlight and UV water purifier won't be available at launch, but will hit the market during the following months.