solar chargers in our day, but rarely do we get the chance to actually use one for the weekend. A new outfit by the name of Kiwi Choice gave us such an opportunity recently, and today it's officially launching the U-Powered USB portable solar charger. Put simply, this here device folds out into a tri-pointed thingamajig with a trio of solar panels ready and willing to catch sunlight and store it within. The impatient among us can also juice it up via USB or AC adapter, with a full charge taking at least four hours. The device boasts a power capacity of 2,000mAh, and there's also a magnet for storing it underneath your vehicle's seat or dashboard. Oh, and there's even a LED flashlight on the front in case of emergency.
The company ships the device with 11 different tips, one of which plays nice with Apple's dock connector. We tested it out on a few obvious candidates, and while it had no issue juicing up our iPhone 3G, the in-house iPad saw the dreaded "Not Charging" logo appear moments after it was connected. The bundle also includes an AC plug and an in-car cigarette adapter for times when the solar charger is pooped, but unfortunately, neither of those options would charge the iPad, either. We will say, however, that it managed to charge every other handheld we had just fine, and while the build quality wasn't exactly world class, it's suitable for tossing in the car and having around when energy is needed. It's available today for $49.99 if you're interested.