Today I have the privilege of reviewing a stunning piece of eco-friendly gadgetry, namely the Infinit IV2.1 Solar Charger Backpack.
The backpack features a large 2.4W solar panel, neatly integrated on the front of the bag. The solar panel is used to charge up an internal battery, which can then be used to charge up your mobile phone, GPS navigation gadgets, the iPhone, the iPod, and devices that charge up via a mini USB socket.
When I opened the box, my first impression was, “wow, this looks really nice”! I was pleasantly surprised at just how big the solar panel is, which is about the size of a paper-back book. The fabric of the backpack is a high quality and tough material, and you can just tell that the whole product is well made.
After hunting around the internal pockets in the bag, these are all the accessories that come with the bag.
- The backpack itself
- An elasticated waterproof sack to cover your bag
- A removable rechargeable battery (2200mAh capacity)
- 8 adaptors (for charging different gadgets)
- A retractable USB cable
- An AC adaptor plug (for charging up the battery)
- An instruction booklet
The bag is roughly the size of a standard rucksack, with padded shoulder straps, a padded handle, padded back support and a reinforced base. With all this padding, the bag is very comfortable to wear for a few hours. There are lots of little pockets within the bag, which are fantastic for organising your stuff. There’s a small pocket on the front of the bag behind the solar panel, which is large enough for a mobile phone or MP3 player.
Then there’s a middle section which houses the battery and accessories, covered by a protective red netting. Most of the small pockets are in the middle section of the bag. Finally, there’s the main section of the bag, which is by far the largest area for storing your stuff. There’s a large flexible pocket inside the main section which is perfect for holding your laptop securely. I’d expect the back can handle up to a 15″ display without any difficulty.
At the top of the main section, there’s a small elasticated pocket that’s designed to hold an MP3 player or other music player. You can thread through your headphones using the headphone port and keep your MP3 player out of sight and completely dry.
Since the bottom of the main section of the bag has a reinforced base (a firm bit of padding basically), then you’ll notice that heavy books or laptops don’t poke out of the bottom of the bag. This helps the bag to retain it’s structure and will definitely reduce the strain on your back.
Charging up a gadget
The battery is removable from the bag, since the solar panel has a standard mini USB cable that just plugs into the battery when you want to charge it up. Being able to take out the battery is very useful, as it gives you some freedom of where and when you charge up your gadgets.
The battery features some intelligent electronics which handles all of the charging stuff for you. Using the iPod adaptor and the retractable cable, I just plugged the battery into my iPod Touch, and the battery automatically started charging up my iPod for me! The iPod was at around 66% when I started charging it up, and it took about 30 minutes to charge the iPod to 100%. Of course, that will vary from gadget to gadget.
During the charging phase, the four blue LED lights on the battery indicate what charge remains in the battery. Each LED corresponds to roughly 25% of energy remaining in the battery. Once the battery had finished charging my iPod Touch, only 2 LEDs were lighting up, which indicates that battery capacity was between 20% and 50%.
Charging up the battery again
Charging up the battery again is very simple. You just connect the battery to the solar panel, and leave the solar panel in direct sunlight. When the battery is flat, it takes up to 10 hours for the battery to charge to full capacity again. Therefore you might want to use the AC charger if you need a full battery quickly. The blue LEDs on the battery will all light up when the battery is fully charged, so there’s no need to guess when the battery is ready.
The bag is very well designed and constructed, and it has clearly been created to be practical as well as desirable. The automatic charger within the battery pack takes all of the hassle out of figuring out how to charge your gadgets, it’s really a matter of just plugging in your gadgets and the battery handles the rest.
My only concern is that the bag looks slightly conspicuous with the solar panel on the front. That means it might get some unwanted attention from opportunistic thieves, who might work out that there are likely to be some valuable gadgets inside. My suggestion is that you don’t let the bag out of your sight!
However, that aside, this is a bag that I am proud to own and one that’s practical from a gadget charging perspective. For me, the real winning feature of the bag is the sturdy construction for carrying a laptop safely. Back strain is not fun, but this bag makes it a real pleasure to carry a laptop.
Thank you to Infinit for giving me the opportunity to review such a top class product!
Product Page: Infinit IV2.1 Backpack, priced at £89.99 including VAT (UK taxes)