Solio H1000 Universal Hybrid Charger
Author: Shawn Knight
Editor: Frank Stroupe
Date: 03-26-2008
Provided by: Solio
Pages:
Usage / Testing, Final Thoughts

I first started testing the Solio H1000 by checking the battery level. To do this, simply press the start button on the back of the unit. An LED indicator on the front of the H1000 will flash green from one to five times, indicating battery power (1x = 20% charge, 2x = 40% and so on). Out of the box, the unit only flashed twice, meaning the internal battery was holding a 40% charge. For the next three days, I placed the H1000 behind the window in the living room to charge. Unfortunately, this was not a good area to charge, as direct sunlight only hits this area for maybe two hours per day at max... and one of the days was pretty cloudy.

According to Solio's FAQ, it takes 8-10 hours to fully charge a Solio from the sun. With peak charging times between 10am and 2pm, it takes a minimum of two days to fully charge the unit. You must also take into consideration other factors that will degrade charging performance, such as having the unit in direct sunlight (shadows covering the solar panel will slow down charging),
clouds, pollution and even higher altitudes.


After the three days, I had only gained 20% more power, so I was at three LED flashes, or 60%. It wasn't feasible for me to go sit outside for several hours, as I had work to do, and there was nowhere safe to leave the H1000 without fear of it "walking off". So, I plugged the unit into my computer to achieve a full charge. While the H1000 is charging, a red LED remains lit. This turns off once the unit has been fully charged.


Once I had a full charge, I then decided to charge my iPod Shuffle. For this, I needed to use the Female USB tip. At first, it did not seem that the adapter tip was going to fit into the adapter, as the hole seemed too small. But, with a little force, I was able to slide the tip into the adapter. This is actually a good thing, as it ensures a secure connection and won't come loose easily.

The H1000 charged the iPod Shuffle without incident. Unfortunately, I don't have a Nokia N Series phone or any device that would use the Mini USB plug so I could only test using the Female USB tip.

Final Thoughts

The Solio H1000 Universal Hybrid Charger definitely proved itself here today. It worked exactly as-advertised and was able to successfully charge my iPod Shuffle just as my computer would.

The actual unit is available in two different colors: orange and dark grey. The overall construction of the H1000 was good; it didn't feel cheap or like it would break easily. Of course, since it is made of mostly plastic, I am not sure how well it would survive, say, a drop from a good distance. Perhaps some type of rubberized coating on a future model could help improve ruggedness even more.

The clip mechanism at the top of the charger is a great addition, easily allowing you to attach the H1000 to your backpack while you are outdoors, say, riding a bike or hiking in the mountains.

Three adapter tips are included with the H1000 that cover a very wide range of devices, from cell phones to portable gaming systems and nearly everything in between. Additional adapter tips can be purchased for $9.95 each.

One of the great things about this charger is that it can be used anywhere in the world; there are no wall socket specifications or adapters to fool with. Of course, being able to get "free energy" will appeal to everyone, however this charger certainly won't be able to replace your standard chargers. Solio claims it takes a minimum of two full days to fully charge the unit. A full Solio H1000 will charge a typical mobile phone once or give 10 hours of MP3 music. Just one hour of sunshine will give you 14 minutes talk time or 40 minutes of MP3 music.

Keep in mind that the charging performance of the H1000 will depend on several factors that you have no control over, such as sun intensity, clouds and air pollution in your area.

One thing I do want to mention here. After I had finished charging the H1000, I left it plugged into my computer overnight. When I woke up the next day and turned on my computer, the system would get right to where Windows loads, then reboot... over and over. I was able to go into safe mode without issue. I got to thinking about if I had installed any new software... then it hit me to unplug the H1000. I did this and the system booted right up. Talk about giving me a scare! Keep this in mind when you use your computer to charge the H1000.

As of writing, the H1000 retails for $79.95 USD.

OCIA.net has awarded the Solio H1000 Universal Hybrid Charger our Seal of Approval.




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