Image via Amazon.com
Back in early 2009, a solar-power skin for the iPhone was huge news. Now, it's not quite as unusual but it's still pretty exciting for iPhone owners. This time, the company is Mobius, and they're offering a pretty sweet looking case that will power up your battery with the sun.
Image via Hammacher Schlemmer
I love how Red Ferret justifies this case:
It's hard to think about being eco-friendly with your gadgets. After all, just owning one isn't very "green". Just think of all of the materials that went into constructing your favorite device, and how much energy was used to craft it. Then you go out and by cases and accessories, which will no doubt end up in a landfill someday. The very least you can do is try to occasionally recharge it with something other than a wall outlet.
Um. Can I just say "ditto" and be done?
Well, I guess you'll want to know a little bit about it before we wrap up.
The Eton Mobius NSP300B Rechargeable Battery Case with Solar Panel for iPhone 4 is priced at $78 on Amazon. That is certainly not cheap for an iPhone case, especially considering you can make your own solar charger for iPhones in about 30 minutes for about $30. However, the price is part of the sleek package. It's handy that this fits over your phone, rather than being crammed in an Altoids tin.
The skin is a rechargeable battery inside a case, wrapped in a solar cell so you can set your case out in the sun, get a charge, and wrap it around your phone for both added protection and back-up battery power. You can also charge up with solar power while it is on the phone, with the charge going straight to the phone's battery, but that means your phone is sitting out in sunshine and we don't really recommend that for the longevity of your phone. It even has a "Proprietary snap fit design that prevents your iPhone's back-glass from being scratched."
A full battery will provide up to 10 additional hours of talk time, Internet use, or video playback and up to 40 additional hours of MP3 playback. However, it will likely take a couple day's worth of sunlight to fully charge the battery. For every hour of direct sunlight, you get about 25 minutes of talk time. The battery can also be recharged via wall outlet if you want to be sure you have a full back-up battery.
All in all, it looks like a sleek and smart back-up plan if you're going to be off-grid for awhile. And though I already have an iPhone case and avoid getting too excited over solar gadgets, I have to say I think this might just go on my wish list for when I'm on road trips if I don't get around to making that Altoids tin charger.
If you're looking for a fancy and functional skin for your iPhone, this one seems like a pretty good deal.