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Give your ’Book daily sips of solar Juicz.
Do you ever find yourself hiking into the wilderness for days on end to study the courtship rituals of the Old World Swallowtail? Or perhaps you routinely travel to the far ends of the earth chasing breaking stories that must be transmitted as soon as the proverbial ink is dry. Whatever your far-away-from-civilization scenario, the Apple Juicz, a lightweight, foldable solar panel strong enough to charge a MacBook of any persuasion, will keep your laptop charged when power outlets aren’t an option.
The Apple Juicz comes in three sizes: 18 watts (30.5 inches); 27W (41.5 inches); or 55W (60 inches). Either of the smaller versions will work with a MacBook Air. MacBook or MacBook Pro owners need to spring for the 55-watt model. We tested Quickertek’s 60-by-42-inch model, unfolding the panels to meet the sun’s rays from the sunniest flat spot on our deck. We plugged our 13-inch MacBook into the requisite modified MagSafe adapter (available from Quickertek for an additional $100, or the company can modify user-supplied adapters for $25) and charged our laptop in the promised 5 hours. The panel’s LCD status indicator let us know our ’Book was indeed charging. And while the Juicz’s amorphous thin-film photovoltaic cells have the unique advantage of being able to power and charge your ’Book simultaneously, you have to leave your laptop outside, attached to the panel for several hours while it’s charging. This may not be an issue if you are far away from bottom-feeding kleptos, or if your ’Book is safely parked on the deck of your boat while you’re out to sea, but for us urbanites, it was a little anxiety-provoking to have to leave our Mac out in the open for that long.
The solution is to purchase Quickertek’s MacBook External Battery/Charger ($449.95)--which charges fully in only 3 hours of direct sunlight and can extend your ’Book’s battery life by 6 to 8 hours--and use it to keep your laptop topped off indefinitely. The Apple Juicz comes with an ultrahip canvas Elements carrying bag that can hold your ’Book along with the solar gear, and includes a cigarette adapter for to use with any gadgets that you already have car chargers for.
While the Apple Juicz charges your ’Book as advertised and is potentially a lifesaver for those who need a fully charged MacBook in remote areas, it’s slightly impractical for everyday users who must leave their laptops outside during charging. That said, we have been jonesing for solar panels strong enough to charge a laptop, and the Apple Juicz provides the perfect solution for dedicated ecologists or backcountry adventurers who must keep in touch with the world they left behind.
PRICE: $600 (18W); $700 (27W); $1,100 (55W)
REQUIREMENTS: MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air; upgraded MagSafe adapter ($25 to modify your existing adapter, $100 for a new, pre-modified one)
Eco-friendly. Able to charge and power simultaneously.
You’ll have to leave your laptop attached while it’s charging, or purchase an optional external battery.rld they left behind.