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Reviews > Electronic Devices > Chargers > Solio BOLT Solar Charger > Owner Review by Eric Stroup

OR-Solio BOLT Solar Charger
by Eric Stroup
OWNER REVIEW
October 03, 2014

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Eric Stroup
EMAIL: romad4u at yahoo dot com
AGE: 36
LOCATION: Minot, North Dakota, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 220 lb (99.80 kg)

Backpacking Background: I grew up spending a lot of time on my horse in competitive trail riding which taught me the importance of hard use and good equipment. Later, I joined the Air Force and spent a lot of time with a ruck sack and on my feet. I now live in Minot, North Dakota and work in all of the seasons. I get out camping, hiking, mountain biking and off-roading my Jeep as often as my schedule allows.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Solio Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website:
www.solio.com
MSRP: US $70
Listed Weight: 5.3 oz (150 g)
Measured Weight: 5.4 oz (153 g)
Other details: Coming in white only, this compact square unit is roughly the size of my palm and fits easily in most of my pockets.
IMAGE 4
There are two solar panels stacked on top of each other. The top one rotates around to expose the lower panel. The upper panel is, unfortunately always exposed but, at least the lower one gets protected. The BOLT comes with one mini-USB for charging the unit's integrated battery from a wall charger or a computer. In order to charge my phone it connects to the regular USB port and then to the phone or other item. Not only does this charge my phone in the sunlight, it charges the integrated battery so I can charge the phone at night while I'm sleeping.

Some specs from the website:
Power: Max Wattage: 5 Watts
Discharge Rate: Fixed 5V, 1,000mAh
Charge Rate: 5-5.5V 450mAh
Charge Time via USB port/wall charger: 4 hours 30 min.
Charge Time via Sun: 8-10 hours

FIELD USE

I bought this as more of a backup item in case I forgot my car charger when out in the field or camping. I really want to avoid being stuck without a phone when I really need it. I check the battery status every couple weeks and set it in the sun or plug it into the wall to keep the battery charged. And since there is only one button, it's really easy to use. Turn it on/off/charge and check charge level indicator all in one flashing button. At first it's kind of confusing but a couple of seconds reading the manual and I figured it out.

IMAGE 6



The button is on the top of the BOLT and its semi exposed placement does leave it vulnerable to getting turned on in the bag. That being said, I've only found it turned on twice in the year I've had it. (And I carry it everyday)

SUMMARY

This has proven to be a pretty good device. In the sun, it took a full 8 hours of sunlight to get a complete charge, making sure to turn it to keep it facing the sun in order to get a full charge. Plugging it into the wall or computer takes almost 5 hours to charge it from a completely discharged state. Solio's website claims the BOLT charges a phone to full in 90 minutes, it charges my Samsung Note 2 almost to a 3/4 battery in about that time. I don't know if that's just my phone but I've never used it with another phone. It says it's got a separate setting for charging Apple products, but since I don't own anything Apple, I've never used it for that either. Putting the charger in the sun and connecting it to my phone at the same time ends up in a painfully slow charge rate if the BOLT isn't fully charged already. This isn't really a surprise, but still worth noting that this isn't going to be fast, like slapping in a brand new battery. The BOLT also comes with a pencil, which had me scratching my head at first. Turned out that it's intended for using it as a prop. Sticking the pencil through the hole allows the BOLT to adjusted to directly at the sun so it can get the full solar power. The hole fits a standard number two pencil, so I'm not worried about losing the pencil.

IMAGE 3


THINGS I LIKE

Love the fact that I'll be able to charge the phone anywhere no matter what. I'll just have to be patient.

Durability: The BOLT has survived my Maxpedition Versipak in the outside pocket wrapped in nothing more than my handkerchief for more than a year. The exposed solar panel scares me though because It's exposed and could break.

Charge: Once it's finally charged, the BOLT holds the charge for a VERY long time. I've left it in my bag for months on end and it's never had less than a 3/4 charge in the internal battery.

Ease of use: There is only one button. That's it. Turn it on/off/charge and charge level indicator all in one flashing button.

IMAGE 6



THINGS I DON'T LIKE

Charge rate: It's slow. Very slow. I'd really like to see a fast-charge wall plug-in option. When I plan to use it on the trail I make sure to charge it the day prior.

Solar panel is exposed: The top panel is exposed and this thing doesn't come with a case, so I wrap it in a handkerchief when its in the bag.

Exposed on/off button: While I like the ease of using this single button, its placement on the top of the BOLT and its semi exposed placement does leave it vulnerable to getting turned on in the bag. That being said, I've only found it turned on twice in the year I've had it. (And I carry it everyday)

SIGNATURE

-Eric Stroup

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

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