What's Hot: Extremely efficient solar panel. Rugged. Waterproof. 5400mAh battery is replaceable.
What's Not: Somewhat heavy for its size.
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
The Orange by Solar Joos is a ruggedized, waterproof portable solar panel and battery for all of your portable electronic devices.
Features and Specs and Quality
Every once in a while, a product comes along that is so good that I change my daily routine in order to accommodate its use. The Orange by Solar Joos is just such a product. I've reviewed and/or purchased quite a few solar products over the last few years in my quest to find one that works as advertised. The Orange not only meets this criterion, it exceeds it. Expose the panel to the sun and it starts charging (it comes with fold-out legs to facilitate this). When you're ready to plug in your device, simply remove the protective rubber cover over the mini-USB port and plug-in. No switches to break, and no confusion. The manual states that the Orange will charge 5-7% of its 5400mAh battery every hour in strong sunlight, and, based on my experience, I believe it. If you do the math, this means that in approximately 4 hours, it will have generated (approximately) enough energy to completely charge a dead iPhone or charge 25% of an iPad 2. The Orange will even charge (slowly) in low-light conditions. Lastly, if you need a quick charge or don't have good sunlight available, the Orange is happy to charge its internal battery via standard mini-USB cable.
As I said earlier, this product is so good that I completely changed my daily routine to make use of it. Every afternoon, I place it in my office window for 4 hours and every night I plug my iPhone into it instead of a wall charger. Not only does it easily charge my phone to full capacity (approximately 50% empty), but I can tell by the indicator light that I am building a charge day over day, as is expected based on their charging specs. Although I feel smug unplugging my phone from the power grid, I have only scratched the surface of the true usefulness of this device due to its rugged waterproof design. Going camping or backpacking? Attach a carabiner to the security hole (which passes through a steel plate for strength and security) and clip the Orange to your backpack or tent. Don't worry about rain/snow/sleet/mud/dust because the device is completely waterproof (although you shouldn't attach a device for charging if the port is wet). Even if you're not the outdoorsy type or interested in going green, this device would be a valuable asset in anybody's emergency kit or Go-Bag in case of a robot uprising or zombie apocalypse.
1. The Orange comes with a universal mini-USB tip, and several of the most common adaptors, include Apple's. While it will work with off-the-shelf charge cables, it is important to use the included cable if you wish to charge an iPad as it charges at 1 watt, which the iPad needs. 2. Although the sides of the Orange are vented, they are there to facilitate heat dissipation, and will not expose the internal components to moisture as these are completely encapsulated. 3. While the mini-USB port is watertight and corrosion-resistant, you should never plug in a device if moisture is present inside the port. 4. If your device becomes completely discharged due to being neglected in a dark room for months at a time, for instance, it may not accept a charge via USB. If that happens, place your Orange in the sun until it recovers.
The Orange by Solar Joos stands head and shoulders above every other solar charger that I have ever seen, used, or tested. It charges quickly, efficiently, and automatically; and after only one week with it, I don't know what I'd do without it.
The built-in Lithium-ion Polymer rechargeable battery pack has 20Wh - 5,400mAh capacity that's good for over 1000 charging cycles. And the battery pack is user replaceable. The unit isn't small measuring 8.58 x 5.77 x 0.79 inches, a bit shorter and narrower than the iPad 2 but thicker, and weighs 24 ounces. The Solar Joos Orange has an LED indicates battery levels.