The Solarmonkey Adventurer is the latest in Powertraveller's line of portable solar chargers. It's the company's first to offer an internal storage battery, providing a little more flexibility. As its name implies, the device was built to hold up to the rigors and abuses of field use thanks to the device's two solar panels being contained in an insulated clam shell case.
With the combination of growing green public conscience and increased use of portable gadgets, new portable solar chargers have been launching with increasing frequency from all kinds of companies. We've seen the Joos Orange, Kiwi Choice and the XDModo just in the past two years. Solar charging systems are also showing up on other types of gear like weather radios and backpacks. If you're in the market for a solar charger, you won't have to look far, but you will have to do some serious comparison shopping.
In other words, the Solarmonkey Adventurer isn't breaking new ground. But it is one of the latest portable solar chargers to hit the market and offers some new functionality for Powertraveller.
Powertraveller says that it created the new charger with an eye toward inhospitable, third-world environments. With a power grid scarce to non-existent in some such locations, Powertraveller realized it would need to equip its charger with an internal battery so that power could be stored for later use. The 2500 mAh internal lithium-polymer battery charges to full in about eight to 12 hours and stores enough energy to charge a mobile phone two to three times. The charger can simultaneously send solar power to the internal battery and an external 5 V USB device, so you can charge now, charge later.
Given its adventurous, off-the-grid intent, the Solarmonkey Adventurer features a rugged build. Its two solar panels are contained in an insulated clam shell case made from "Cordura-like material." It has a netted storage area for stashing charging tips and other gear, and a waterproof zipper. An included Velcro strap lashes the package onto a backpack or tent, where it can gather the sun's rays. The package is both water and shock resistant.
The Solarmonkey Adventurer launched in April and is on sale now for £85 (approx. US$132). It comes with five adapter tips that work with popular models, including BlackBerry and HTC phones. The included Apple Monkeytail makes connection to Apple products a little more seamless.