Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 23, 2017
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A little power house

When it's open, the KIWI U-Powered looks like three mini solar panels. This little device, that closes to become the size of a mobile phone, is one of the most fun gadgets we’ve seen in a long time.

It’s the brainchild of an Ottawa-based company called KIWI Choice and what makes this particular portable charger worth its $49.99 price tag is its clever versatility: it be can be charged from all power sources — a plug, a computer, a car and, of course, the sun. It has a power capacity of 2000 mAh and comes with 11 connectors.

It, in turn, charges cell phones, Blackberries, iPods, iPhones, digital cameras, Flip video cameras, eBooks, MP3 players, headphones and Nintendo DS. It’s compatible with Nokia, LG, Samsung, Sony, Motorola and Palm.

You sit it in your office window, on your dashboard (it comes with a magnetic back to keep it in place), tie it to the top of your backpack or lay it out on the grass while you picnic.

It's definitely user friendly. But is it eco-friendly? Consider that a solar panel needs about seven years of continuous use to generate the power it took to manufacture (granted, these are very tiny panels.) And, of course, you have to factor in the cost of gas in transportation (it ships from Ottawa, so maybe not that far). That said, if you use it exclusively in solar mode you will definitely make a dent in your carbon footprint.

Plus, it’s lightweight, fun, seriously portable (it comes with a travel pouch), well priced and it does actually work. kiwichoice.com.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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