3.5 star rating

Solio Rocsta-i Review

$69.99
Pros: Rugged stylish design ; Built-in carabiner ; Compatible with iGo tips ; ;
Cons: Only one iGo tip included ; Somewhat bulky ; Relatively pricey ; ;
The Verdict: This rugged solar charger can revive a large number of devices.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

Solar just got sexy. Well, not really, but the Solio Rocsta-i is nevertheless an attractive option for your mobile charging needs (but if you'd like to check out more solar chargers, you can do so here). At $69.95, the Rocsta-i is on the expensive side, particularly since only one of the prerequisite iGo tips (which cost $9.95 each) comes bundled with the device. Still, the its rugged design is likely to appeal to outdoor enthusiasts if they don’t mind a few trade-offs.

Article Continued Below

Design

At 7.5 x 2 x 0.4 inches and 4.7 ounces, the Rocsta-i is definitely bulkier than other solar chargers we’ve tested. On the other hand, a quick glance at the device’s packaging will tell you that the target audience is outdoorsy types who probably don’t care so much about making a fashion statement.

The Rocsta-i’s body is made of an “aerospace-grade” polymer shell, which feels tough enough to handle more than a little abuse. Up top you’ll find the built-in carabiner clip, which snaps securely into place. The integrated charge-out cable wraps around the charger’s outer rim and clips into the side when not in use. A USB cable is included for charging through your computer, and you can purchase a wall charger as well ($15.95). Most of the front face, of course, is dominated by the large solar panel.

An LED indicator is located on the front that will turn red when the device is charging. If you press the Start button on the back at any time, it will blink green to let you know how much juice the Rocsta-i has. Each green flash represents various increments: if it flashes twice, it has a 20-percent charge; three times denotes an approximately 40-percent charge; five flashes puts you between 80 and 100 percent.

According to Solio, the Rocsta-i can charge more than 3,200 different gadgets (including cell phones, iPods, GPS devices, and digital cameras), making it incredibly versatile. That’s because the Rocsta-i is compatible with a plethora of iGo adapter tips; unfortunately, they’re sold separately, and cost $9.95 each. Solio does, however, include one free iGo adapter tip with every Rocsta-i purchase. (You get to choose which one online.) For this price, it would have been nice if Solio bundled two or three tips of your choice with the device.

Performance

Depending on the device, Solio claims the Rocsta-i can add up to 80 extra hours of playtime and 6.5 extra hours of talk time. Before using the sun to fill up yours, the company says you should initially charge it via USB for at least 4 hours to ensure a maximum charge of the internal lithium ion battery. We did so, then drained the Rocsta-i by attaching it to our dead iPhone 3G; it charged the phone 1.5 times before running out of juice.

Next, we placed the Rocsta-i outside in the sun between 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. on a day forecast to be mostly cloud-free. Afterwards, we plugged it into our completely dead iPhone 3G and pressed the Start button on the charger (the LED indicator blinks green intermittently when charging devices, and will shut down automatically when it’s finished); the iPhone sucked up the Rocsta-i’s juice in approximately 1 hour and reported a 50 percent charge.

Compared to other solar chargers we’ve tested recently, the Rocsta-i lands right in the middle of the pack. Under the exact same conditions, the Novothink Surge was only able to charge our dead iPhone to 20 percent, while the Scosche solBAT II surprised us by restoring the phone’s battery to 75 percent. Seeing as the Rocsta-i’s solar panel is roughly twice the size of these other two chargers’, we expected it to glean a little more juice from the bright afternoon sun. On the other hand, Solio says the Rocsta-i can hold a charge for up to one year, so it’s nice to know you’ll always have that power at the ready once the charger is full.

Verdict

While $69.95 is a lot to pay for a charging accessory, the Solio Rocsta-i redeems itself with a stylish, rugged design that’s pretty good at collecting a charge from the sun and restoring power to gadgets quickly. The Scosche solBAT II soaks up even more of the sun’s rays in a smaller package, but if you’re looking for a device that can charge a large variety of gadgets and take a beating in the process, the Rocsta-i is a solid choice.

Tags: Solio Rocsta-i, solar chargers, iPhone Accessories, chargers, Solio, smart phone accessories, iPod Accessories, Apple, Apple iPhone, Accessories, reviews, Smartphones

Technical Specifications
Solio Rocsta-i
http://www.solio.com


Accessories TypeChargers
Battery Type/Life
Size7.5 x 2 x 0.4 inches
Weight4.7 ounces
FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE