Researchers keep promising us better batteries, but till those come true (if ever), we have to rely on our current ones and on sources of backup powers such as these daisy-chained solar modules.
The ClicLite solar panel keychain is all about convenient backup power. This tiny thing is made in Germany, which is currently the second greatest harvester of solar energy, right after China. Having a source of backup power right in your pocket would be great, as smartphone and tablet batteries tend to drain quite fast, especially if you need to use data connections at all times. However, this little gadget is not without drawbacks.
ClicLite’s name is rather witty. The device is light and makes use of light to charge its internal battery. The first part of the name is a reference to Clicc, the manufacturer of this product, but also to the fact that multiple such solar panels can be daisy-chained together, in order to harvest more solar power and charge other gadgets more rapidly.
The ClicLite’s 500-mAh battery will only charge an iPhone’s battery up to 20 percent and it takes 10 hours to charge its own battery in direct sunlight. Daisy-chaining three such tiny solar panels will reduce the charging time to three hours, while 6 panels clicked together will drop the time to just one hour. In case your better half is gone and there ain’t no sunshine, you can always charge the ClicLite keychain via USB. Doing so will require two hours of your precious time and will subtract points for not being an Eco-friendly person.
On the manufacturer’s website, ClicLite costs $48, plus $9 for each additional module. Here lies the main problem of this gadget. Powerbanks of up to 12,000 mAh are available near that price point, so why would anyone spend that kind of money for a lesser product? The only pro-argument for buying ClicLite instead of a powerbank is the weight of the gadget. However, when you’re traveling to areas where you cannot charge your phone, I don’t think that a few hundred grams will be that much of a burden for you. More than that, it’s better to have a powerbank that charges your smartphone’s battery multiple times than a tiny gadget that requires a lot of time to charge only a few percents of your battery. Maybe some of my readers think otherwise, though.