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Review: Wind Up Charger w/ Torch

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I was asked by the good folks over at to review their Wind Up Mobile Phone Charger w/ Torch. This was in response to a recent blog posting where I mentioned I want to do some Wild Camping, you can read Things I want to do

Click on the photos to see the full size original photos

What they shipped me was in the box to the right, I’ve used a pen for size reference.  I was quite impressed with the size of the box to say the least. 09042010342
09042010344 Inside the box were two bags, one with the charger/torch in it and the other has all the various bits to fit a multitude of mobile phones.
There is an extension cable that allows you to plug the adapters for the phones into the charger, which is nice, it suggests that perhaps in the future they could simply offer new tips to fit other devices (and not only mobile phones?)  The back page of the manual identifies the tips and the phones they fit. 09042010345
09042010346 You can see how truly small the charger device is in this photo.  I don’t have the biggest hands around it’s fair to say, but I can nearly conceal it in my hand.

Continue reading for my review

First impressions: Firstly, looking at the product in the box and out of the box I’m most impressed with the size of the device, however, at the same time it also made me wonder how well suited for the job it would be.  I was surprised at how well it fit my hand and I was able to operate it.  As simple as it may seem to just pick it up and turn a handle, that’s not always the case.  With some crank devices I’ve tried I found I was bashing my knuckles or scraping fingers because of how the mechanism worked.  This device does work quite well for me, someone with massive hands might find it harder to use due to the small size.  Weight wise, it’s lighter then my Nokia N97 by a fair bit, the phone is 150g, this device is around 70g?

Practical usage: I had no problems winding it; holding it did get a bit tiresome due to the small size, fingers were cramping up a bit after 2-3 min of cranking it.  I had my 6 year old crank it for 1 minute.  She did alright but kept wrapping her fingers around the small case and kept bashing her fingers on the crank, not surprising really; ever try to tell a 6 year old anything these days? :)   The one page manual that comes with the device doesn’t give any indication about how long you should crank to get what approximate amount of usage from the light.  One minute of erratic cranking by my 6 year old kept the light on for about 5 min.  One minute of the suggested speed of about 120rpm gave just over 30 min of usable light.

Using it to charge a phone would be a very tiring prospect that’s for sure, there are much better Nokia N97 Chargers available that’s for sure.  I had a lot of problems actually charging my Nokia N97   There seems to be a connection issue somewhere in all of the connections between the crank charger and the plug to the phone.  In all there is a plug in the crank body to the 20-25cm extension cable, plus the connector needed for my phone to the cable and then finally into the phone.  Whilst cranking the handle at the suggested rate of 120RPM my phone was constantly flapping between charging, not charging and eventually would just give up and stop taking a charge or perhaps it wasn’t getting any voltage out of the cable and connectors.  The type of plug/socket used on the crank body is not the best choice for an object that’s going to be moving around as much as it is when you’re cranking.  There are more stable and secure connectors that could have been selected, but perhaps the ones used were due to cost rather then reliability.

Conclusion: Would I carry this device with me out camping or around in my gadget backpack?  Yes for sure.  As a windup torch it’s aces, as a phone charger it might well work when the chips are down and you need a few more minutes of talk time or just to keep it topped up, but it’s not without the need of some fiddling.

The manual is quite simple, just a single sheet doubled sided, let’s face it, there’s not much to know to use this.  Crank the handle, turn it on or plug in phone and crank the handle 🙂

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