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  • Usefull but doesn't live up to expectations

    posted by drkoster on 10/29/2011
    9

    Involvement:Expert (understands the inner workings) - Ownership:1 week to 1 month

    Pros:

    The solar panels work as promised. In contrast to the cheaper models, this one is actually capable of charging in modest light conditions.
    Another good aspect is the build quility of the charger. The aluminium casing is sturdy and doesn't warp even under stress.
    The circuitry inside does a good job. The unit doesn't heat up even under heavy usage. This could mean 2 things. 1) The unit is very power efficient and thus, doesn't waste a lot of energy. Or 2) Its only capable of delivering small currents. Luckely it seems to be number 1. It can fully charger my phone in a reasonable amount of time.
    The carrying case provided is very usefull and well made. Enough room for cabels and offcourse the charger. Stitching seems to hold firm and the elastic bands won't brake easily.
    For anyone who is worried to fry his/her phone with the 8,4 or 9V setting I've got good news. Once your phone is connected, the unit can't change the voltage!. Very smart design indeed. You first have to disconnect your device before you can change the voltage. It probably detects a current flowing through the output and disables the voltage adjust function.
    Whenever you turn on the charge function, it starts at a default of 4,8V so you have to do some silly things in order to fry something.
    The build-in LED for use as a torch is decent but its to weak for serious uses. For example it is not capable of lighting a small room

    Cons:

    Sadly there are a number of cons. First off the supplied accessories:
    - One cabel wasn't working
    - mini and micro usb adapters were making a short circuit :(
    - Wall charger had lose parts inside making a ratteling noise.
    A cable not working is annoying but not a problem. Making a short circuit IS a problem. For a product in this price range a decent connector or adapter should be included. I'm not sure if the short circuit caused a decrease in battery capacity but it sure does prove there is no quality control for this product.
    A wall charger with lose parts inside is a no go. When you short circuit your mains some nasty things can happen. Just for this I should have returned it. Be sure not to leave that adapter plugged in when you go to sleep, that thing isn't safe.
    Cons about the charger itself:
    - Mini usb out
    - Battery capacity not as claimed
    The unit has enough space available on the other side to house a normal sized female USB connector. So the choice of using a mini USB connector is a bit strange in my opinion. Luckely deal extreme sells a lot USB connectors and adapters for a low price, so be sure to order some with this unit.
    I've tried so many things to get a decent amount of charges out of the unit, but it seems that the internal battery is only +- 2500mAh. Atleast its far from 4200mAh. I've opened the unit to see if there were any markings but sadly, nothing, it is a no name, no brand battery. This does fit the lack of quality control.

    OtherThoughts:

    The service from deal extreme was very good. Shipping time was okay (2 weeks) and supplied pictures gave a good indication of the product. I'll definitaly buy other stuff from here as dealextreme has proven to be reliable.
    The solar unit has some nifty design tricks. The voltage change protection, different color indicator lights and the folding mechanism with magnetic lock.
    I'm not sure if the unit I received is defective (aside from the low low quality cabels and adapters) and if I should do an rma or not.

    Bottomline:

    The charger does not live up to expectations. It can charge in the sun but the battery does not have the capacity as can be expected from the description. The included accessories were useless and dangerous in case of the wall adapter.
    I have rated build quality bad because of the accessories and the under sized internal battery.

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