As solar technology evolves, sun-powered gadgets are becoming less clunky and more reliable. Here are four new solar devices for business travelers who might find themselves away from an outlet.
Iogear Solar Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit This Bluetooth speakerphone mounts to a car windshield and gets a charge from the sun, even on overcast days. The unit takes about 10 to 12 hours to fully charge; a charge gives you about 12 hours of talk time. Minnesota and California don't allow windshield mounts, so use the speakerphone's included visor clip if you drive in those states. COST: $59.95
Voltaic Generator Charging a laptop requires serious solar power. A large solar panel on the front of this 4.5-pound bag pumps out 15 watts of juice that charge a battery pack, which, in turn, charges a laptop; it takes about five hours to get a full charge. The bag comes with adapters for most common laptops. A new version, due out this summer, will be compatible with more laptops. COST: $499
Solio Rocsta Made from hard plastic, this solar charger can survive being jostled on long hauls. Unlike some solar chargers, it senses which device you are using and won't overcharge. It comes with several tips for popular phones such as Nokias and the iPhone. You can also purchase tips for $9.95 each. It took us about six hours to charge an iPhone with the Rocsta, about twice as much time as with a wall outlet. COST: $79.95
Casio Pathfinder Solar Watch PAG110C-3 The Casio Pathfinder gets a charge from just a few minutes of outdoor sunlight a day, and it also powers up under fluorescent lights indoors. This watch, which is water resistant up to 100 meters, includes useful features such as a compass and thermometer. The best news: You will never need a replacement battery. COST: $250; available only on Amazon.
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