There’s an ever-growing range of handy solar gadgets out there, from solar watches to solar-powered iPod speakers. These would make a perfect Christmas present for the more energy conscious or gadget geek types.
There’s something for all budgets – our guide to the top 10 solar gadgets runs through the latest and the best.
Solar gifts above £100
Solar Gorilla Laptop Charger
Don’t be caught out again when your laptop battery dies – the Solar Gorilla laptop charger is powerful enough to run your laptop as well as charge it.
It’s been a long time coming – a lightweight solar powered charger capable of powering any small electronic gadget running on less than 24 volts. This means it’ll work with more or less every laptop, mobile phone, sat nav or MP3 player you can think of.
The Solar Gorilla’s 2 solar panels fold up, and the unit is water resistant and very sturdy.
It’s got 2 charging sockets, so you can charge 2 devices at the same time, and comes with a pack of 15 connectors and USB sockets to fit virtually every device on the market.
You’ll also get a smart neoprene zip case, 2-metre charging cable and USB extension cable.
Eton Soulra Solar Powered Speakers
This is the original and best solar powered sound system and charging dock for your iPod or iPhone.
The Soulra’s large solar PV panel efficiently charges its lithium ion battery, or you can plug it into the mains if necessary with the UK/Euro mains adaptor. A handy battery life indicator lets you know when it needs a top-up.
It’s got a strong, rubberised splash-proof case, so you can use it on the beach or by the pool without worry. Your iPod sits behind a protective cover (you can also use it with the latest iPhone 4), and the remote control means you won’t even have to move from your sun lounger to choose your next track.
As far as sound goes, the stereo speakers have a bass boost option, and a 3.5mm audio input means you can connect it to other non-iPod MP3 players.
Solar gifts from £50 to £100+
Casio MTG-930DU-8VER Solar Powered Mens Watch
This is a seriously cool timepiece. It’s not only solar powered, it uses ‘wave ceptor’ technology to pick up radio signals from transmitters in the UK and Europe providing to-the-second accuracy wherever you are and automatically adjusting between summer and daylight saving time.
It’s got a rugged grey and stainless steel case and a one-touch buckle, and an auto illuminator makes the entire face to glow for easy reading when you tilt it towards you.
As you’d expect from Casio’s legendary G-shock watches, it’s water resistant – down to 200 metres or 20 bars – so you can wear it swimming, snorkelling or diving and it’s shock resistant and can take more or less anything you throw at it.
Add in multiple alarms, a stopwatch and world time, you’ve got a watch that’s ready for whatever adventure awaits.
Infinit Solar Charging Backpack
So whether you want to charge your iPhone, MP3 player, gaming console or GPS on the move, look no further than the Infinit solar charging backpack.
Its 2.4 Watt solar PV panels work in sunlight or artificial light and charge a high-capacity 2200mAh rechargable battery which can store enough power for 2 device charges. So just plug in your solar gadget for a charge or get instant power to make that phone call.
You’ll look pretty nifty, too, and the backpack is robust and, while it has a storage capacity of 25 litres and is roomy enough to carry a 15” laptop, is still compact enough to use as hand luggage on flights.
It weighs under 1.5 kg and comes with a full range of adaptors and USB connectors. The only downside is that it won’t power your notebook – we’re hoping the next generation of Infinit backpacks will do just that.
Costs from only £88 from Amazon.
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Roberts Solar Dab 2 Radio
Roberts is THE name in digital radio, setting the benchmark for features, quality and style.
And now you can get your hands on the ultimate digital radio – the Roberts Solar Dab 2, a solar powered DAB and FM portable number.
The solar panel charges up rechargable AA batteries, which should power the radio for up to 20 hours on one charge. If there’s no sunlight available, you can pop in standard AA batteries or connect the radio to the mains.
There’s a battery and solar level indicator, and a LED channel display which also shows programme information.
It’s a very light solar gadget, coming in at just 623g, and has a handy socket so you can use its speakers for your MP3 player.
Solar gifts under £50
Freeloader Classic SC8100 Solar Charger
The Freeloader Classic is an awesome solar charger. It’ll make light work of charging your mobile, but also packs enough punch to charge the new generation of gadgets like iPads and PSP and DS gaming devices.
It’s solar panels can give an iPod or iPhone enough charge to run for 18 hours, will get your smart phone running for up to 44 hours and will even give more power hungry devices like the iPad a couple of hours of charge.
It’s super light, weighing in at only 124g, and super compact too, measuring just 123x62x17mm. It’s sleek aluminium casing gives it stylish appeal, too. An LCD display shows battery level and connectivity and it comes with 9 adaptors and USB and mini-USB sockets.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a better small mobile solar charger.
Casio Ladies Solar Powered Runners Digital Watch LW-S200H-8AC
This sporty digital watch is an ideal gift for runners or anyone who enjoys the active life, and has a very reasonable price tag .
It’s solar powered, comes in a range of funky colours with a strong resin strap and is water resistant to 50 metres.
It’s stopwatch is accurate to 1/100th of a second, and stores up to 120 records, so you can measure your performance on your daily run with ease. There’s also 2 countdown times, plus 4 daily alarms and a snooze alarm and a world time function.
Costs from only £25 from Amazon.
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Kit Sound – Infinity X Solar Powered Portable Speaker for iPod / iPhone
A great-value solar powered portable speaker for your iPod, iPhone or other MP3 player.
Get the sun to charge up your speakers – a 6-hour charge will keep the music pumping for up to 8 hours without the need to worry about changing batteries. It’ll charge the integral 1000mAh lithium ion even in residual sunlight.
You’ll get superb sound quality with a 2 Watt output in each speaker. A USB cable and adaptors for Sony, Nokia and Samsung devices are included, weighs in at a light 290g and at less than 20cm long is super portable.
Solar gifts under £50
Aquabourne Wind up & Solar Radio AM/FM/WB
You’ll never need batteries with the Aquabourne wind-up and solar radio. It’s got an effective solar charging panel plus a folding winding handle for extra power when you need it.
It’s the ideal travelling companion, and it’s even splash proof – ideal if you enjoy listening to the Archers in the bath. It looks natty, too, with a clean white finish and green dials, and is very compact, measuring only 8x8x5cm.
Works on AM FM and WB bands and has an LED signal strength indicator. You’ve got a collapsible aerial for extra help with your FM signal and an integral headphone plug.
This is a superb choice for foreign holidays in countries where digital radio has yet to take hold or a great budget gift for the UK radio lover.
Costs from only £15.95 from Amazon.
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Lighthouse L/H 3LEDPULL Solar Powered Torch with Pull Cord
Everyone needs a torch once in a while, but how many times have you come unstuck because your flashlight batteries are dead?
Well, that’s a thing of the past with the Lighthouse solar powered torch. It’s got 3 high-power LEDs providing the lighting and uses a built-in solar cell and dynamo for powering the high-grade lithium battery.
Charge it up during the daytime or use the pull cord to get the dynamo going when you need a bit more juice. A really neat feature is the luminescent running time and battery charge meter, so you’ll always know how much power you’ve got.
It’s a real bargain too, making it an ideal solar gadget.
Costs from only £12.01 at Amazon.
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