Gadget Review: WakaWaka Power Solar Powered Charger and Lamp

This portable, rugged power supply will channel the power of the sun to your smartphone in under two hours.

By , Columnist
The last thing you need when you are out in the bush is to run out of power on your cellphone. That's where the WakaWaka Power comes in. This compact and sturdy solar powered charger, which doubles as a lamp, is just the thing to pack on long trips if you want your phone to be charged at all times.

The WakaWaka Power was created by Netherlands-based Off-Grid Solutions thanks to funding initially raised through Kickstarter. For every WakaWaka Power sold, $10 goes to the WakaWaka Foundation, an organization dedicated to bringing power and light to underprivileged people in developing countries.

The WakaWaka Power comes in yellow or black and is about the size of a thick slice of bread. One side is entirely comprised of a black solar panel, which is rain and dust resistant and therefore ideal for rugged environments.

According to the developer's literature, it takes about eight hours for the WakaWaka Power to obtain a full charge in good sun. If you can't wait that long, and have a mains socket nearby, you can charge the WakaWaka Power in about four hours using a micro USB cable (which is unfortunately not included). The stored power can then be transferred to a device through the full-size USB port on the side of the charger.

One of the WakaWaka Power's neatest design features is the built-in stand that forms part of the casing and can be rotated through around 300 degrees. This allows the solar panel, or the two light bulbs on the opposite side that form the lamp, to face upwards or downwards at a variety of angles.

The lamp has three brightness settings that can be cycled through be pressing the large 'on/off' button. Any of them would be bright enough to read by in a tent and the highest setting turns the WakaWaka Power into a powerful flashlight.

Because of the width of the stand, there is no fear of the WakaWaka Power tipping over unless you stand it on top of a bottle. This you can do by inserting the neck of the bottle through a hole that surrounds the WakaWaka Power's large 'on/off' button when the stand is folded in.

Clearly plenty of thought has gone into the design of the WakaWaka Power, intended, as it is, not only to satisfy affluent First World lovers of outdoor activities and portable devices but also citizens of Third World countries in which lighting and power are luxuries. Given the aims of the developers and the quality of the product, the WakaWaka Power comes highly recommended.

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Michael Simpson is a freelance writer, editor, presenter, researcher, instructor, gadget freak and sci-tech consultant based in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. Formerly from the UK, he’s converted from tea to coffee and written and presented on film, TV, science, nature, technology,…

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