Solio CLASSIC2 (2012) Battery Pack + Solar Charger Review

Design

Solio Classic 2

Solio Classic 2 SideSolio Classic 2 Spread

 We've tested solar-powered portable battery chargers before, but Solio's implementation is unique because three solar panels fan out like leaves of a plant to gobble up the sun's rays.  And back to the pencil, it fits through the holes that each panel swivels on and allows you to prop up the Classic2 so that it's perpendicular to the location of the sun for the best power output from the panels.  The overall size is quite hefty, with each fanned solar panel slightly thinner than my Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone and the total depth 1.4 inches at its thickest.  The main body has a slightly curved  profile so it's a bit narrower at the ends.  The actual solar panels themselves are about 2x3.5 inches, and combined gives you a pretty large surface area compared to the relatively compact form factor.

 The fit and finish is pretty good.  All of the parts mesh firmly, and there is relatively little creak or flex between the parts.  Even the swivel hinge for the three panels is quite snug, although it will flex and give a little bit if forced, but in intended usage it feels solid.  The swivel is definitely the weak spot, but the only situation we'd worry about is dropping it when they are fanned out.  The aesthetics are clean and simple, although admittedly looks probably aren't super important to many looking for something which charges from the sun.  The aesthetic attention to detail does leave the impression that the design has had attention to detail.

Solio Classic 2 Charge Port

Solio Classic 2 ChargingSolio Classic 2 Charging LED

 The charging port, which has a snug rubber cap, is located near the swivel on the base.  An LED which strikes through the middle of an accent line which runs along the body will let you know when it's charging with a red glow which will go out when it's topped off with juice.  Time to charge?  Just flip the USB cable around (assuming you have a micro-USB charging port on your device) and plug it into the "charge out" port.  Likewise, you can plug your iPhone/iPod or other charging cable into the charge out, and you've got a substantial 3,200 mAh of extra juice at your disposal.

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