Tuesday, July 15, 2008

PowerMonkey eXplorer

We’re all so tooled up with gadgets these days that we could do with a small nuclear power station in the airing cupboard to keep all the batteries charged up. Power is a problem – especially if you care about the environment, but also if you’ve ever sat down on a train with a six hour journey ahead of you and realised to your horror that you forgot to plug the iPod in over night. No power equals no tunes. Portable charging solutions may not be the most riveting gadgets, but at outdoorsy times of year, they sure are useful ones. The Powermonkey eXplorer is about as extravagant as they get.

You know what its like. You're away from home, you really need to make that one call and your mobile phone has just run out of battery power, or your iPod has just played its last tune or your camera battery is dead. The Powermonkey eXplorer ensures that never again will this happen to you.

The powermonkey-explorer is a small rocket-shaped device that stores up power for when you’re next on the road and need to charge something. And it has a solar charger.

Simply use the included mains adaptor or solar-slave to fully charge the Powermonkey-eXplorer and you will get up to 96 hours standby on your mobile phone, 40 hours on your iPod, 2 full charges on your PDA plus it's original charge and up to 1600 pictures on your digital camera. The Powermonkey-eXplorer will hold its charge without leakage for up to a year.

The Powermonkey bit is basically a ruggedised, high-capacity rechargeable battery with a selection of tips to attach it to almost any portable gadget. It’s small – about the size of two 'D' cell batteries – but weighty and tough-feeling. A blue backlit LCD provides information on remaining power.

Despite its comic name, the PowerMonkey-eXplorer feels like the most serious and solidly-built charger. It's a two-part device, which can be used separately or together. The PowerMonkey is a fat, water-resistant, tubular unit that holds a rechargeable battery (at 2200mAh, the best as tested) and its solar component is the 'solar slave', a small, fold-up solar unit.

Not only is this great news for your carbon footprint, it’s also a life-saver if you forget to plug things in before you go out – if you’ve got your powermonkey and solar-slave combo with you, you really can charge on the go, with the sunshine as your power source.

The set comes with a black carry case, that features adaptors for loads of different devices – the default is a Nokia socket, but there’s gizmos for iPod, PSP, and loads of phones. There’s also adaptors for charging the powermonkey itself via the mains or USB. If it’s missing an adaptor for your phone or other device, you can visit www.powermonkey-explorer.com and see if the company is selling it separately.

The design of the units is robust and understated, and it works really well – the carrying case is about the size of a stack of five or six CDs, and you could fit your iPod and all the powermonkey-explorer bits and bobs in there as well, so it’s a really good buy for travelling if you hate to be without your tunes or phone.

  • Charges just about anything.
  • Massive power storage.
  • Inexhaustible energy.
  • Solar powered.
  • Rugged

  • Not cheap.
  • Can't re-juice a laptop.

  • Compatible with the majority of mobile phones including Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericssion, etc.
  • 2 USB connectors, one mini, one standard, which can charge iPods, Bluetooth headsets and PDAs. Connector cable for digital cameras.
  • Reusable power pack.
  • Includes a mains travel charger for use in 150 countries, from 110V to 240V.
  • Output voltage of 4.5V to 5.5V.
  • Compact size and stylish silver casing.

Compatibility with iPods:

This accessory is compatible with the following:

  • iPod 4th generation

  • iPod 5th generation (video)

  • iPod mini

  • iPod nano 2nd generation (aluminum)

  • iPod shuffle 2nd generation

Pack contents:
  • Powermonkey-eXplorer
  • Solar-slave
  • Universal mains charger
  • Mini USB for mobiles and Bluetooth headsets
  • USB for smart phones, PDAs and other devices
  • iPod connector
  • Sony PSP and most digital camera connector
  • Black travel pouch
  • Black storage case

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