Goal Zero feels my pain, and I’m guessing yours as well. They’ve just introduced their Switch 8 Solar Recharging Kit, which requires nothing but sunshine to keep your USB gadgets up and running. It can bring a dead smartphone back to life almost immediately, and completely recharge its battery in about three hours. It features a Nomad 3.5 Solar Panel, which will completely refill its 8-watt lithium-ion battery after about six hours in direct sunlight, or in less than four hours from any USB source. That is way faster than any other solar charger I’ve found thus far.
What makes this one even more unique is its size–when rolled up, it’s about the size of a roll of quarters–and its use of interchangeable tips. Its patent-pending technology allows you to use a universal USB charger, a flashlight, fan or a cord-free charger with built-in tips for phones, such as iPhone or Droid, plus just about any other handheld device that might need charging.
This totally blows the solar charger I bought last summer out of the water. Mine takes about a year to charge in direct sunlight (typically much longer than I have direct sunlight available), and mine also doesn’t return my phone’s battery to a full charge. I’m hoping this one makes an appearance under my tree. At just $99.95 US, it’s really not unreasonably priced either.