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The powermonkey-eXplorer takes your gadgets off the grid.
We are addicted to power. We jones to keep our iPods and iPhones fed daily. But at the same time, we want to tread lightly on the earth. Thankfully, Powertraveller’s powermonkey-eXplorer can help with both. The water- and shock-resistant charging device will distribute the sun’s power with enough juice to give you 40 hours of music on your iPod, 5 hours of playtime on your PSP or Nintendo DS, or supply your iPhone 3G with two full recharges.
The powermonkey ships with a partially charged battery and is accompanied by the solarmonkey solar panel, which you can hang anywhere it can catch the rays and use it to top off your powermonkey indefinitely. You can charge the main battery directly with the AC Adapter in 3.5 hours, or charge via USB from your Mac in about 6 hours, or the solarmonkey can charge the powermonkey to one-third capacity in 6 hours. And, while the company recommends utilizing direct sunlight to optimize absorption, we had no trouble banking rays through our car window. Plus, the solarmonkey has a green LED at its base to let you know how well it is receiving energy. After juicing it up, we were able to charge our depleted cell phone and nearly dead 2nd gen iPod and an iPod touch before the powermonkey needed to be replenished.
We were impressed with its ease of use: The powermoneky takes virtually all the guesswork out of using it. This sturdy, compact device has a battery capacity of 2200mAh, an output voltage of 4.5v to 5.5v, and an auto-adjust feature that can adapt to the voltage required by your particular device. The powermonkey also has built-in safety features that will protect the device from short-circuiting, over-charging, and over-discharging, and its LED battery indicator tells you know how much juice is left and will flash at you when it needs recharging. The powermonkey also retains a charge for up to a year.
The powermoneky-eXplorer set comes in a tidy black carrying case to house all the bits that invariably come with solar chargers. Accompanying the powermonkey are 11 adaptors to ensure use with your myriad handhelds and a universal AC adapter that will work in 150 countries and has interchangeable heads for the UK, Europe, and Australia.
Powertraveller has managed to do what many other solar companies have tried less successfully: sturdy build and efficiency are combined with long-term power storage; auto-off and short-circuit protection; and handy battery-charge indicators. But wait, there’s more! Powertraveller will reward your green efforts by donating a portion of their proceeds to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (www.davidshepherd.org), which is set up to save critically endangered mammals in their wild habitats. This is one monkey you will definitely want to keep on your back.
REQUIREMENTS: Handheld devices in need of a charge
Eco-friendly. Sturdy build quality. LCD display shows available battery-charge. Water- and shock-resistant. Saves power with auto shut-off. Has built-in short-circuit protection. Powertraveller supports the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.
It’s a bit fiddly, but such is the nature of solar chargers.