Seattle Sports Solar Charging/Cranking Flashlight Review


Photo via: Seattle Sports

This month I was given the pleasure of putting two of Seattle Sports new solar/crank-powered flashlights/USB chargers to the test. Let's see how they stacked up to a few of their competitors...

Photo via: Seattle Sports
Sol Jüs Solar Charger
The first flashlight I tested was a flashlight/solar charger. It featured a USB outbound charger capable of charging most any USB-compatible device you can think of, such as mp3 players, cameras, cell phones, GPS, etc. The flashlight itself is capable of charging itself in 10-15 hours, offering approximately 35 hours of use once the full charge is achieved.

General Specifications:
Outbound DC charge: 1.2 amps/5.6 volts
Brightness: 25000 MCD (with 1 LED), 65000 MCD (with 3 LEDs)
Battery: Nickel metal hydride (capacity: 3.6v 700mAh)
200 mA current output
Full charge gives you 15 hours of flashlight use with 3 LEDs and 35 hours of use with 1 LED
Note: Most (but not all) USB compatible devices accept solar charges.

I had a very positive experience with this unit. It was capable of sustaining the charge on my cell phone just by sitting it by the window on a daily basis. Now if you were in need of a quick charge, you better look elsewhere, such as a crank charger, as even with three solar panels, the charging process was a slow process. This is at no fault to the unit however, as solar charging technology is generally slow to go.


Photo via: Seattle Sports
Hydrostar™ S.U.B. Flashlight
The Hydrostar is a Submersible Utility Beam™ (S.U.B.) with the unique application of also serving as a crank charging system. The light portion of the S.U.B. has 4 separate settings, a SnakeEyes Laser (useful for indicating or signaling), a ½ watt LED, a strobe, and two outer LED's.

One minute of cranking provides:
1/2 watt LED: 60 minutes
Side LEDs: 120 minutes
Strobe: 150 minutes
SnakeEyes Laser: 9 minutes

The USB hub located on this unit is perfect for charging many USB compatible devices, and unlike the solar charger unit above, a charge can be attained much quicker, albeit with a bit more effort. The exterior is very solid and is capable of dive depths of up to 10 meters (30 feet). I would definitely recommend this product for its durability, all-around utility, and impressive light output.

There are several other self-powered flashlight/chargers out there, so to help you get an idea of how these two stack up against a few other popular brands, I have provided a few comparisons.

Crank Flashlight/Charger Comparisons:
Model: Seattle Sports Sol Jüs
Solar charging: Yes
Crank charging: No
Provides outbound charging: Yes, USB
Connectors Included: Yes
Waterproof: No
Amount of light on full charge 15 hours with 3 LEDs; 35 with 1 LED
MSRP: $49.95

Model: Seattle Sports Hydrostar S.U.B.
Solar charging: No
Crank charging: Yes
Provides outbound charging: Yes, USB
Connectors Included: Yes
Waterproof: Yes, submersible to 10 meters
Amount of light on full charge 1 minute cranking=1/2 watt LED: 60 minutes, Side LEDs: 120 minutes, Strobe: 150 minutes, SnakeEyes Laser: 9 minutes
MSRP: $39.95

Model: Freeplay Indigo
Solar charging: No
Crank charging: Yes
Provides outbound charging: No
Connectors Included: N/A (Unknown)
Waterproof: No
Amount of light on full charge: 2.5 hours
MSRP: $42.00

Model: 6 Solar Style SC001
Solar charging: Yes
Crank charging: No
Provides outbound charging: Yes
Connectors Included: Yes
Waterproof: No
Amount of light on full charge: (Unknown)
MSRP: $13.49

Model: Hybrid
Solar charging: Yes
Crank charging: No
Provides outbound charging: No
Connectors Included: N/A
Waterproof: No
Amount of light on full charge: 16 hours
MSRP: $24.95

Model: ElectriliteJ
Solar charging: No
Crank charging: Yes
Provides outbound charging: Yes, Cell Phone
Connectors Included: Yes
Waterproof: No
Amount of light on full charge: 1 minute cranking= 30 minutes of light, 3 minutes cranking= 2-8 min cell phone talk time
MSRP: $19.95

Model: Solio Classic
Solar charging: Yes
Crank charging: No
Provides outbound charging: Yes
Connectors Included: Yes
Waterproof: No
Amount of light on full charge: 1 hour charge= 20 minutes talk time or 50 minutes of music
MSRP: $99.95

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5 Clean, Low-Tech Replacements for Dirty, High-Tech Gear
Get On Board With Solar Powered GPS Systems
Pocket Solar

Tags: Electronics | Gadgets | Lighting