For Earth Day: Solar on the go

Mobile, mobile, mobile. Whatever it is, gotta have it on the go, and that includes solar energy. Especially on Earth Day.

So the Juicebar Mobile Charger is really using the word twice: It's for charging your "mobile," and it's mobile itself. Best of all, it can be charged on the go.

About the size of an original iPod, the device has a solar panel built into one side and a couple of stylish buttons on the other.

Cable Organizer - www.CableOrganizer.com - sent out a review unit along with a couple cable organizers. Score! I guess they're both mobile device-related, so it makes sense.

Here's the promo description:

Juicebar generates free and clean energy immediately and contains a powerful, high capacity battery that can be charged via USB or by exposing the solar cell to sunlight.

Beautifully designed with stainless steel and built for today’s power-hog devices, Juicebar can hold a full charge for over a month, so you can “Juice Up” whenever you need it!

Juicebar’s built-in USB port allows the use of your device’s own cable and cutting edge engineering supports all Apple products and popular phones as well as handheld games such as Nintendo 3DS and Sony PSP, Tom Toms, MP3 players and much more.

The JuiceBar Pocket Charger has a built-in LED flashlight and is incredibly small and lightweight, measuring just .5" X 4" X 2.5" and weighing only 4 oz.

In the field (well, sometimes on a sunny part of the porch) the device seemed to soak up the sun pretty nicely - you can check its progress via one of the groovy buttons. But overall it took a long time to store enough charge for a significant recharge.

Of course, you can charge the whole thing via your electric outlet at home (and have to, initially), so even if you don't use the solar feature the Juicebar can be used as a reliable battery for about a month.

Still, for Earth Day you want to go off the grid as much as possible when you're on the go. I cleared a larger window of time - basically sunup to sundown - for a second test but by the end of the day it was very cloudy and I didn't get the thing fully charged. When I transferred the charge to my iPhone it went from 30% to about 75%.

The fact of potential clouds is always a factor with solar energy. But if you need to have backup energy on the go - as well as an earth-friendly way of gathering more of it without running to an electric outlet - the Juicebar could be a very handy thing to have around. Whatever else happens in terms of how fully you can charge your device, well... at least you have a flashlight!

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