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    • Mel Torm� & George Shearing
    • Of the three men who taught me how to sing, the last was Mel Torme. Apparently, Mel Torme is a joke to anyone more than a decade older than me, a living parody of a Vegas crooner. But I stumbled on th
  • Spanks for the Memories

    • 8 out of 10
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    • The Asylum Street Spankers are...well...The Spankers. Hailing from Austin, where I saw them live dozens of times, the band played entirely acousti

  • Machine Gun Etiquette

    • 8 out of 10
    • The Damned
    • Punk rock is mostly associated with three chords and a bad attitude, but the Damned were one of the few bands of the era bent on bringing musicianship and a good sense of humor to the scene. And while
  • Guero

    • 10 out of 10
    • Beck
    • Beck is the modern master of the groove, and Guero is merely the latest example of this. From the opening power chords of "E-Pro," to the Pac-Man cuteness of "Girl," to the dirge-like lullab

  • Pretty Hate Machine

    • 8 out of 10
    • Nine Inch Nails
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In-Depth Review

Soldius1

Battery life. The bane of every portable device's existence. Without juice, your iPod is relegated to little more than paperweight status. Power adapters are great when an electrical outlet is near, but when none are the savvy road warrior or outdoorsman can turn to the Soldius1, a convenient lightweight solar charger.

Soldius1
Soldius1 with iPod and phone connectors

Originally designed for cell phones, which arguably benefit more from the power a solar charger can provide during mission-critical times, the Soldius1 is available for $100 with a pair of connectors for dockable iPods and the iPod shuffle, or for $110 with connectors for most major cell phones as well. Closed, the Soldius1 is not much bigger than a standard iPod. Usage is idiot-proof: flip open the Soldius1, plug in its cable, attach the appropriate tip and connect it to your iPod. In direct sunlight, charging will begin moments later.

Soldius1

Charge time depends on the intesity of the sunlight shining on the Soldius1 and the capacity of your iPod. In our testing, under the hot Acapulco sun, the Soldius1 wasn't able to replenish our video iPod's battery as quickly as watching episodes of Seinfeld depleted it, but it kept up better with audio playback. Of course, charging your iPod while you listen to it pool-side is only one of many ways to employ the Soldius1.

Bottom Line

The quest for extra playback time often ends with the purchase of a supplemental battery solution, of which a myriad exist for the iPod. While more expensive than those, the Soldius1 is a very attractive package than can power both your iPod and cell phone and offers the unique appeal of the near infinteless extra power solar cells can provide, assuming sunlight is available. Casual users may find solar chargers gimmicky and unnecessary, but if you've ever been stranded with an empty battery in the middle of nowhere, the Soldius1 will deliver the power and piece of mind you desire.

Just The Facts

Soldius1 from Soldius

MSRP US$99.99
Street Price: US$84.99 - From Tiger Direct.

Pros:effective, easy to use, compatible with most iPods and cell phones

Cons:could use a latch to help keep it securely closed when flipped shut

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