Going green: The Solio Rocsta-i hybrid solar charger

If you're like me, you take your Android phone with you everywhere.  Sometimes you're stuck with a battery in the red, and no AC power in sight.  While there's plenty of gizmos out there that can charge your battery back up, very few are eco-friendly.  Enter the Solio Rocsta-i hybrid charger -- a solid piece of technology that can save your bacon, and plays nice with the blue marble we all live on.  Hit the jump to see more.

I'll be honest -- I've been through all sorts of battery extenders and 'emergency' chargers.  What can I say, I like to stay connected and have been fully assimilated by today's wired world.  I know plenty of you can feel where I'm coming from.  After watching a documentary about disposable batteries, I decided to look into becoming more eco-friendly with my electronics addiction.  The Rocsta-i fits in very nicely and does exactly what you need it to do -- keep your phone juiced up.

The Rocsta-i is very easy to use.  Charge the unit (you can charge it via USB or use an AC to USB converter if you're stuck away from the sun) and it's built in 1000 mAh battery will hold the charge for up to a year. In testing the unit stayed fully charged for two weeks.  When you need to kickstart your phone's battery, connect the Rocsta-i to the phone via the correct tip and press the start button.  Tips and connectors are available to make the Rocsta-i compatible with over 3200 devices, and the USB tip can be used with the USB cable

that came with your phone.

In my testing, the Rocsta-i charges fully using the AC to USB converter from HTC in about an hour.  Using USB from a computer takes a little longer, but you'll still go from empty to full in under two hours.  Solar recharging is a different story.  On a nice sunny day the Rocsta-i charges fully in about 6 hours.  Under cloud cover, or on the dash of my truck, it's closer to 10.  But it's clean power, the unit holds the charge forever, and needs no attention while it's charging up.

The Rocsta-i transfers its juice to your phone fast.  In under an hour you can expect the Rocsta to have your battery back in the green and happy.  Your phone is also usable while on the charger, so it's excellent for emergency situations, should you be unfortunate enough to find yourself in one. It's a smart charging device, so it won't waste it's power trickling to a device that doesn't need it. I've been using the Rocsta-i in my vehicles instead of using the lighter socket, and even while streaming Pandora or using Google Navigation the battery stays charged and ready to use when I reach my destination.  It also is excellent for topping off the battery in my HTC Evo while filming a little league game on a sunny Spring morning.

Having put the Rocsta-i through the paces for a good while, I have to say I'm more than pleased. This is a great solution for all of us who have a need for off-the-grid power, and I should be the hit of the party on the annual July fourth camping trip. The Solio Rocsta-i is available in the Android Central store  for $79.95.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • will this work with a moto droid? o ya, FIRST!!!!
  • report anyone oh posts "First!" as spam
  • That's actually quite cool. Might get one of those when I move to Scotland later this year, I'll probably be going all over the place during the weekends.
  • Lol, solar power in Scotland?
    Seriously?... Scotland isn't often sunny :P
  • That is actually very, very cool!
  • This is the one I use. It works great and is a fraction of the cost. the only downfall is that it doesn't clip onto things... http://www.chinavasion.com/product_info.php/pName/solar-battery-charger-...
  • Maybe you missed that the top of the device is a carabiner clip?
  • I think he was referring to the one he purchased and linked.
  • Quite a difference between holding it's charge for "up to a year" and your two weeks.
  • If Jerry had time to charge it, then let it sit for a year he wouldn't need it in the first place. There is no difference here. Longest Jerry left it unused was two weeks. What's so hard to understand about that?
  • This is probably not a green product at all. The environmental costs to manufacture the solar cell, case, packaging and other compenents as well as shipping are proabably a lot higher than any potential savings you will get from using this thing to charge your phone.
  • This is probably not a green product at all. The environmental costs to manufacture the solar cell, case, packaging and other compenents as well as shipping probably are proabably a lot higher than any potential savings you will get from using this thing to charge your phone.
  • In addition it has a battery built in. So no greener than the phone itself. That battery is about a third smaller capacity than is found in most smart phones, but it is the same technology. Further, it states the output power is only 800mA. My Nexus one charger puts out 1000mA. The most the N1 will accept (thru the pins on the bottom) is 2000mA. So how Jerry could charge his phone in one hour with 80% of the power that the wall charger puts out is beyond me, and quite frankly I don't believe it. The wall charger takes longer than that.
  • You're reading too much into it. From <15% (battery red) to battery green in an hour. "In under an hour you can expect the Rocsta to have your battery back in the green and happy." Did not mean to imply a full (zero to 100) charge in an hour. And to me, the fact that I have a battery extender/emergency charger that does not use disposable batteries AND can solar charge is a pretty green alternative.
  • And to me, the fact that I have a battery extender/emergency charger that does not use disposable batteries AND can solar charge is a pretty green alternative. You are the exact customer they are marketing to. Non-green products that are intended to be perceived as green. A horrible blight on the human race.
  • Rather than imply I'm a blight on the human race (when in fact you have no idea of my contribution to society as a whole) why not take a few moments of your time and explain how "emergency" chargers that use disposable batteries are a better solution? Or you could be insulting again. Your call.
  • Very cool...but I think I will stick with my extra OEM HTC battery that I picked for $10 instead of dropping $80 on one of these.
  • These devices have been out for a while now... most of us that are glued to our phones don't spend any time outside.
  • I spend time outdoors, with my device
  • Solar chargers, as mentioned, have been around for a while. And if you toddle on over to Amazon and read the reviews, you'll see that most of them are decidedly mediocre. At best. Some are downright highway robbery. From slow charge times ("left on car dash for 3 days and not fully charged") to quick depletion times ("10 minutes later it was empty and my phone wasn't charged") to batteries that don't last ("worked great for 4 months, then dead") to having way too many connectors to keep track of rather than just putting a USB port on the side. These are coming along it would seem, and maybe this one is better than the average bear. But, personally, I'm gonna hold off for a while until something comes out that's a clear winner.
  • While what you say is in it's essence true, there are a few quality products out there. Yes they are few and far between but they do exist.
  • You are, of course, right. But they're more expensive -- and rightly so. I imagine the good ones will drop in price once the toy ones get frog-marched out of the market place.
  • 6+ hours for full charge
    $80 Sorry AC store, but you can shove this one up...
  • this sounds amazing something I might look into!
  • I have the Solio Mono solar charger battery. It's pretty much the same thing as the Rocsta without the clip. It's okay as an external battery, but lets face it. The solar panel for both the Mono and The Rocsta is a gimmick. If you want an external battery for your phone, look for the Cinch external battery which is 5000mah and probably $40 less than the Solio's 1000mah.
  • My motorcycle just dumps excess current that the alternator generates, so how is this any more green than using free energy anyways? The amount of electricity that a 1500mah 3.7V battery requires to recharge is practically nothing. Buy a normal charger and spend the rest of your money on planting a few trees. Far better solution.
  • That is not correct. A vehicle alternator (or any type of generator) does not "dump" power. The resistance of the alternator to turning goes up as the demand from it increases- robbing power from the engine. The less power demanded, the less drag. That said, the power draw of charging a phone is almost nothing to a car or even motorcycle. It is there, but hardly worth analyzing (except in theory).
  • Also, powering a motorcycle is anything but green, unless its solar powered itself.
  • Actually, on some bikes the generator (alternator) is fixed and creates an fixed amount of power based on engine RPM. Goldwing 1000/1100/1200 models do this. They then use a regulator to shunt unused power to ground, which generates alot of heat. I had thought this was the way all goldwings were, however my GL1800 appears to have a true alternator. This works as you stated, just like a car. Needed current generates additional load on the engine as needed. So both of us are wrong and right in our own respects. I still think my point still stands, we are surrounded by power everywhere, and thinking that charging a 3.7V 1500MAH cell puts out a lot of pollution is BS.
  • Scosche solBAT II
    much better value
  • WOW 80 bones and they cant make it look better than a 5 year olds play toy? you serious!? lol
  • "and it's built in 1000 mAh battery will hold the charge for up to a year. In testing the unit stayed fully charged for two weeks" "But it's clean power, the unit holds the charge forever," So which is it? It holds the charge forever, or a year, or for two weeks? No battery will hold a full charge forever. I don't think any for a year. Two weeks sounds possible, but unlikely for a "full" charge. Hmm
  • It's a lith-ion battery, so it will hold a charge for as long as a lith-ion battery can hold a charge. Certainly more than 2 weeks as the product advertisement disguised as a review claims.
  • Damn dude. I write about what i like. Product reviews that say "I think this is total shit and didn't like it" would draw the opposite comments from those that do. I think this is solid. It worked really well for me. It does exactly what it says on the tin. Some days I push over a thousand emails and messages in and out of my phones. On those days, they die FAST. This keeps that from happening, and I don't have to keep filling it with AA's. YMMV
  • No disrespect to anyone specifically in this thread, but some of you guys take the reviews far too literal. The Solar Charger is a nice addition to your cell phone arsenal, but it won't solve the worlds pollution problem. Every little bit helps though the way I see it. That said, I've seen smaller solar chargers for less. All depends on what you want/need I guess.
  • As has been said, this is a solution that fits a particular need that I think some of us may indeed have a need to fill, and many of the dissenters posting here are clearly missing. In particular, using other means to recharge or power our devices "in the field" with disposable (read "polluting") power sources is not as ideal as a reusable/rechargeable solution where we keep from disposing of it after a single use. Not only can this device be recharged and reused as an auxiliary power source (not novel, I realize, as we have plenty of those already), but the concept that this product can be recharged by solar power is another consideration over a standard rechargeable battery. Consider that, especially when you aren't able to draw from a power grid, or vehicle, once you've left that behind to be active remotely. In situations like these, charging time via the solar cells is probably not a critical factor as this is a backup power solution, not a primary means to power a device for extended periods of time or keep it charged at all times on a daily basis. In cases where it can just be left on a vehicle dashboard to get a charge for the day to replenish itself, or keep a device charged, is a worthwhile option for many of us that may be using our devices remotely without the ability to keep another power source at hand. And again, we aren't required to draw on a source of energy that may use polluting sources of fuel to provide that electricity, let alone having to dispose of anything.