Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
on 27 September 2009
The Solargorilla is well-designed and robust, and not so huge as to stop it being portable. It has a 5V USB output for phones/PDAs and a standard output for laptops. Although shipping with a bewildering array of adaptor tips, it was inevitably missing the one I needed for my Samsung R510 laptop. I had a quick email response from the company, and they posted the correct one (R73D) to me, gratis. The output power is not enough to run a laptop but it will extend the battery life if charging while in use - my laptop estimates from 4 to 6 hours though I have not confirmed this. However in the bright autumn sun it charged my phone in about an hour and I am writing this review outside with it plugged into the laptop. So it has some oomph.
The main downside is that it works most effectively with both panels pointing directly at the sun so it has to be on its side fully opened, making it difficult to prop up. The intended alignment with one panel flat on the ground and the other aimed at the sun, like an open laptop, does not work so well. Don't even think about payback times for the small amount of electricity you will be generating, either. However, it will be very effective as an emergency charger or if you camp, sail, or otherwise spend a lot of time off-grid (typing in the garden sort of counts, too). I haven't yet tested it in overcast conditions because we haven't had any! I will have to look out for a way to charge camera batteries as well - unless the charger has a dc input this is not easy. Remember also that it has no battery of its own.
In summary: a neat, compact and effective solar charger, most suited to outdoorsy types and maybe early adopter "greens".