Saturday, 15 May 2010

Mobile Fun Wind Up Charger/Torch

Wind Up Charger in box

I have been sent this Wind Up Charger / Torch from the guys at www.mobilefun.co.uk.

First Impressions are that this is a nice piece of kit. Most wind up torches are ugly, heavy and badly made contraptions, however this device is lightweight, looks good, and a well made piece of kit. In the box is the torch itself with a handy wrist strap attached, a bag containing the extension cable for charging and the charging attachments themselves. The torch has a very portable and ergonomic case that fits nicely in the hand. The on/off button is stiff enough not to be accidentally turned on, not that this matters as much with a wind up torch. There are three LED's at the front of the torch, well spaced and with slight magnifying lenses in front of them to boost the light. The torch is surprisingly lightweight at only 68g and is only 90mm long, 40mm wide and 30mm deep in dimension. The wind up arm fits nicely under the torch and clips tight into place out of the way.

Performance of the wind up torch is surprisingly effective. After winding up the torch for just three to five minutes you get twenty minutes of strong light you could use for walking and after that another twenty you could use as tent light so in total that would be forty minutes of very usable light in a camping situation. It does stay on for longer too so when wild camping it will actually last a lot longer with a dim light enough for a dark tent. I left it turned on by the bedside table one night and in the morning it still had light! When first being used from charge I would say this torch performs as well as any other simple three LED head torch or torch. I would put it on a par with the standard Petzl head torches like the original Tikkina and standard Tikka which I have owned in the past. Being able to power a decent torch without the need for new batteries and knowing it will work in any situation is a great comfort, especially for those who venture into places wild and remote. I'm not sure how waterproof the device is but I tend to keep such gear in small zip lock bags or inside dry bags anyway.

Surprisingly good LED torch and great to hold
Performance of the wind up charger is unfortunately useless, as predicted. The wind up charger facility is a great idea but just doesn't work with modern phones due to their much higher battery capacities and battery draining features such as large screens, wireless technologies and media capabilities. I tried the charger on several phones. It would not charge my Blackberry enough from dead for the Blackberry to be able to make a call or even boot up properly. I tried an iPhone, but found that the charging adaptor worked on Ipods only and not the Iphone itself, having said that it didn't give any usable power to a modern Ipod either. Other phones included a Sony Ericcson and Samsung, the only thing it charge enough for me to make a few minutes call was an old Nokia phone of mine.

Wind up charger crank handle
Obviously this isn't much use to anyone carrying a modern smart phone, but in a wilderness situation or long distance walk some people do take older phones and less power draining media players for their excellent prolonged use and ruggedness. MP3 players that have no screen or small screens like the Sandisk Clip and the older Nokia phones with basic functionality and older screens will get a half decent charge from the wind up charger. Unfortunately its small size doesn't help when charging, holding a smaller device still is much harder, though I wouldn't want a larger and heavier device for my use. There is every chance that some of the above devices I have tested may well get a charge enough to make a call if you sat for fifteen minutes winding the thing up, but to me that would defeat the object and you;'d end up looking like Popeye!

Useful variety of adapters and cables

The Good

Wind up torch performs very well, is well built and ergonomically designed to fit well in your hand. It is light weight at only 68g and takes up very little room. Environmentally sound as it is self powering and never needs replacement batteries. Should work in almost any situation.

The Bad

Doesn't charge modern smart phones or modern media devices. This function would only work in a situation where the device being charged is an old or simple device that drains very little power from its battery, such as cheap or older mobile phones with tiny screens or media players with little or no screen.

Conclusion...

Fantastic wind up torch. I will actually use this as a backup torch and I never thought I would say that! It is mainly due to its light weight and build quality which you rarely find with wind up devices. I will never use the wind up charging function of the device and will most probably leave the cables at home, unless I am on a long distance walk where I would take the older phone. Oddly enough the device is actually marketed as a wind up charger which seems a little cheeky to me. As a wind up torch however it performs well and is more practical than any other I have seen at this price.

If you want to purchase one of these wind up chargers you can do so by visiting the Mobile Fun website at www.mobilefun.co.uk. They also have various other phone chargers.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting report there.

    I had a look at the wind up torch and wasn't too sure but I think I'll give it a go now.

    I'm definitely more environmentally concious nowadays and the torch would be a great idea for saving batteries.

    As for the charger? Most are pants really aren't they? My friend has a solar charger and I've tried various portable ones and they really aint that satisfactory.

    So, in the scenario of mobile phones....I've gone back to taking spare batteries.

    Shame really.

    My friend did think of the idea of a portable wind powered charger when on our C2C.

    Something that packs small, where the blades can pack flat and then slotted into the device. Which could be strapped to your rucksack etc.

    That would be perfect for the UK! lol

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