We ask for a lot from our smartphones, from being fast to being tough to having enough juice in the battery to last us all day long. But perhaps we're asking for too much if we expect a stock phone to do all of these, right out of the box, and we really ought to let our phone handle just the phone functions, and instead find a case that can provide protection and battery extension, while offering a way to recharge our phone with the energy freely available from the sun.
The EnerPlex Surfr series, available for the iPhone 4/4S and the Galaxy SIII, aims to be that case, as they're not just lightweight and rugged, and offer a backup power source, but also feature an integrated thin-film solar panel capable of adding to the talk time (or surfing the web and Instagram-ing our meals) of our smartphones.
The iPhone 4 version of the Surfr weighs just 72 grams and measures 15mm thick, and has a 1400 mAh Li-ion battery pack for keeping your phone powered through the longest days. The battery can be charged via a power outlet or boosted with the solar panel, and nearly doubles the battery life of your phone.
The EnerPlex Surfr for the Samsung Galaxy S III has an integrated 2100 mAh lithium-ion battery, matching the capacity of the phone's stock battery, and offering plenty of backup power for all your mobile use.
The EnerPlex cases are a product of Ascent Solar, which also offers other rechargeable power packs and portable solar chargers for helping you stay powered while on the go. Their copper indium gallium selenide solar cells (CIGS) allow for mobile solar charging without a large or bulky panel. The Surfr series retail for about $70.