Solartab takes solar out of the lab and offers a fine product

I’ve tried many solar powered products and solar power sources, but they typically looked like home made contraptions that rarely delivered what was promised. You’d need to work hard to get them to recharge by carefully positioning them outdoors and then wait for hours for them to accumulate much of a charge. When Solartab offered to send me a sample to try, I nearly turned them down. But then I thought otherwise, because the product appeared to be more refined than anything I’ve seen before.

I’m glad I did, because Solartab is the first product I’ve tried that is convenient to use, attractive, and has a large enough and efficient solar panel to make solar charging practical. Solartab is actually a combination solar panel and 13,000 mAh lithium ion battery. The battery can be charged by sunlight or by a USB adapter.

Solartab will charge up to two devices, including smartphones and tablets, connected to the device’s two USB ports. The product is about the same size and weight as a 9.7-inch iPad and, like the iPad, has a fold-over black vinyl cover that protects the panel and can be used to prop the panel up when charging.

My initial use, charging two phones, has been positive, and I’ll update this review once I gain more experience with it.

Solartab is packaged in an appropriately designed minimalist box made from recycled cardboard. The instructions could be much more detailed rather than a small sheet pointing out the buttons and ports. $129 from the company’s website.


by Phil Baker