When charging an iPhone 4S with a completely dead battery, the Solar iCharge case was able to fully charge that iPhone in 3 hours before running out of power itself. This battery case will effectively double how long you can use your iPhone before needing to charge up from the grid. However, this case will also double the thickness of your iPhone 4S, thus making your iPhone feel like it came from the 1990’s.
Obviously, the stand out feature of this case is the built-in solar panel, which gives it the capability to recharge the cases internal lithium ion battery when exposed to sunlight and even bright indoor lighting. Unfortunately, the drawback of having a very small and portable solar panel, such as this one, is that it takes an incredibly long time to fully charge the battery in this case.
While testing, I found that it could easily take an entire day of unobstructed direct sunlight to fully charge the internal battery of the Solar iPhone Case. To accomplish this, I had to regularly reposition the solar panel to stay aligned with the sun. In more realistic lighting conditions such as a cloudy day without constantly maintaining alignment with the sun will require at least two days to fully recharge the battery case. Do not expect to indefinitely power your iPhone from the sun with this solar battery case. A much more effective way to look at this case is from more of an emergency point of view. Continue to charge your iPhone just as you previously did and reserve the battery and solar panel for dire situations.
The case also has a mini USB input port that allows you to simultaneously charge your iPhone and the battery case while plugged into any USB port. This mini USB port also allows you to sync your iPhone with your computer while it’s still in the case. To determine how much power is remaining there is a handy set of 4 blue LED’s, each of which represents 25% of the battery capacity. There is even a small red LED that lights up when the solar panel is charging the battery.
This case does protect the back of your iPhone 4S, but the front and top of the case are left completely unprotected. It would have been nice if this case protected the front of the iPhone just a little, or had at least come with an iPhone screen protector to make up for its protective shortcomings. Unlike most iPhone cases, this one has a spot for connecting a wrist or neck lanyard. Unfortunately, a lanyard is not included, which is disappointing. Another minor design flaw is that the solar panel is not recessed, which exposes the panel to possible scratches each time it is set down. This will eventually reduce the effectiveness of the solar cell, increasing the amount of needed charge time in the sun.
If you want an iPhone 4S battery case that can recharge from the sun, and you don’t mind a bit of bulk or lack of protection, then this case might be worth looking at.
Made in China
Price: $20 - $50
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