There is no shame in admitting that my Nokia N900 is the greatest Smartphone on this planet and yet it is flawed in one crucial department… the battery. To be honest, on a day to day basis it is the least of my worries as I have battery chargers everywhere and it’s a way of life now to plug the N900 in when not in use, whether it is at night next to my bed, or on my desk or at the office. I always carry the Nokia DC-11 in case of an emergency, so running out of juice is rarely a problem.
But what if I am not at the office or at home or my DC-11 is flat?
This coming September/October I will be walking from St Jean Pied-de-Port in France over the Pyrenees mountains (the natural border between France and Spain) all the way to Burgos in Northern Spain. A journey of roughly 300km’s. The route is part of the Camino de Santiago pilgramage. A journey that I hope will take 15 days. Of course my biggest dilemma will be keeping my Nokia N900 charged. I hear there are charge points at the various pilgrim hostels, but who wants to hang around a hostel waiting for your phone to charge?
I introduce the PowerFilm Solar, a USB+AA Solar Charger. A genius idea.
The PowerFilm Solar is ultra compact, ultra lightweight (127 grams) and eco-friendly. It can charge Smartphones, mobiles, iPods, ebook readers, GPS etc, anything that makes use of a USB port. The product is aimed at the adventurous type.
It apparently provides (yet to be tested by myself) a full charge in four hours or less in full sunlight (confirmed) and has a charge light indicator so you know the unit is charging. I have tested this already by placing the PowerFilm Solar on the window sill at around 7pm and it started to flash. It didn’t need a lot of sun to make it work, which is quite impressive, so I bet in full sunshine it’s the dogs danglies.
Because of it’s size and weight, it folds up compactly with dimensions of 83mm x 140mm x 35mm. It is easy to pack and fits in a ruckpack or pocket with no problems.
There are six grommets built into the charger to allow for secure fastening to a rucksack or to the ground. There is also a strip of Velcro for when it’s folded and stored.
It came with two AA 2000 mAh rechargeable NiMH batteries, but it also supports NiCd batteries.
I purchased the PowerFilmSolar from Select Solar Gadgets for £100 and I must say I was extremely impressed with their service. It was flawless. They kept me informed with email, order tracking and the delivery was in time. I would definitely recommend them.
Here is a short Youtube.com video.
Edit: 21st July 2011: Now when it comes to reviewing gadgets & accessories for my Nokia N900, I tend to go a bit overboard taking photos from all angle, video if possible and with the Powerfilm this was no exception. The day I got it (the day of this post), I placed it on the window sill and let it charge for an hour, then I plugged it into my almost flat N900 and took some photos & videos. Here are the results (note the time on the N900 is 21:17):
See the battery bar 1/3 the way down, now see it almost full bar.
Here is a video recorded on the night I wrote this post, (apologies for the poor light and the annoying MSN jingle in the background, also note the time on the video (21:17)).
Another video taken a few minutes later (21:27):
Here is a video that I recorded tonight (2 weeks later), which I said I would do in the comment section of this post earlier this week. I wanted to show everyone that there is NO need to solder USB cables, or buy special adapters to get the PowerFilm to work with your N900.
> I will admit that there is a knack to placing the NOKIA USB cable into the N900 and it doesn’t work everytime, but simply unplug and SLOWLY try again. There are two clips on a standard Micro USB cable and these need to make contact inside the phone. So when plugging the cable into the Nokia N900, try and feel the two pins going in. They go over a mini ridge. If one feels it h