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Solio Bolt solar charger review

R. Dinakaran October 9 | Updated on October 10, 2013

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Solar chargers have now been around for some time. But unfortunately, most of us never opt for one and a main reason is the average solar charger fails to deliver when we need it the most. Most of the time, we tend to put them away and forget to keep them charged, and many of them fail miserably while charging high-end mobiles.

The Solio Bolt clears these hurdles with ease. The company claims the charger can store power for one whole year. I, obviously, haven’t been able to test that claim yet! But, it does manage to charge devices with massive, powerful batteries with ease. One reason is that the Bolt has not one, but two solar panels. Though there are two panels, they combine to act as a single charger and come with a 2,000mAh Li-Poly replaceable battery.

The charger takes around ten hours to get fully charged under decent sunlight. The time naturally increases if it’s a bit cloudy. The charger comes with a free pencil (!) that helps you prop the charger to angle it to the sun. The trick is to insert the pencil (or any pencil, or even a thick twig) in the hole provided, and ensure it does not cast any shadow of itself – making sure the solar panels face the sun directly. As a result, you will have to constantly keep turning the solar panels to optimise charging . If you find it a little tedious, you can always charge it through the computer’s USB port. The time taken for this is considerably less - around four hours. The third, and the best option, is to connect it to a plug and charge it through a power point.

The charger can charge anything - even cameras - and is quite powerful compared to other solar chargers. While some solar chargers struggled to charge my Samsung Galaxy Note II, with the Bolt, I got almost a full charge and a complete charge cycle for my BlackBerry Curve. The time taken for both was that of a normal wall charger, which is quite impressive.

The only aspect where Bolt falls short is in the portability part. Yes, it is small enough to put it in your bag (the two solar panels can be folded as a single unit) - it hardly takes up any space, but it is difficult to charge while you are trekking or biking. There is no provision for clipping it to your bag, belt or bike. Solar chargers are supposed to be portable in every sense - including the ease of charging while on the move. The Bolt solar charger fails in this department.

But if you are looking for a powerful charger that can also charge through solar power in an emergency, and if you are not very particular about charging on the move, Bolt might just fit in with your requirements.

The charger is available as a limited period offer at Rs 1,995 (usual price Rs 3,750) at GetSolmate.com.



dinakaran.rengachary@thehindu.co.in

Published on October 09, 2013

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