Whenever I arrive at a coffee shop or coworking space, the first thing I do is scope out the power outlets. Between a smartphone, laptop, and occasionally a tablet too, keeping my mobile office up and running requires quick access to power if my batteries get low. Unfortunately, outlets aren’t always available. The sun, however, is much easier to find. The Port Solar Charger from XD Design allows gadget geeks to turn any window into a power outlet – simply attach the circular disk, and anytime you’ve got sunlight you’ll be able to keep your devices charged.
The best aspects of the Port Solar Charger include its lightweight design and USB compatibility. While some solar phone chargers we’ve reviewed in the pass are powerful, they’re also quite bulky and require outdoor placement in direct sunlight. The Port Solar Charger is light (about 3.8 oz) and attaches directly to the window frame to avoid shadows cast by frames or window furniture.
Harvested solar energy is stored in a 1000mAh rechargeable lithium battery (which can also be charged via USB). As others have pointed out, this is a smaller capacity than XD Design’s previous Window Solar Charger, which needed around 13 hours in bright sunlight to fully charge its battery. The reduced size of the Port Solar Charger’s battery means it’s better for top offs than full charges. Five LEDs on the charger indicate the amount of battery charge left.
Although it’s not likely to resurrect my laptop in time for a deadline, the Port Solar Charger would be useful for long airplane or road trips when stopping to find an outlet isn’t possible, but sunlight abounds.
All images © XD Design and used with permission