When it comes to the iPhone, there are tons of battery packs out there that are available for it. From solar powered to battery packs that also double as cases, the iPhone is super spoiled when it comes to options. On the other hand, most smartphones are generally left scrambling in the dust, even if they do have battery lives that are just as sucky and just as in need of a boost on the road as the iPhone’s. Fortunately, Richard Solo heard the cries of these other capable smartphones. Besides having a backup battery solution available for the iPhone, Richard Solo has also come out with the RichardSolo 1800 for BlackBerry/Smartphone. This battery pack is unusual in that it will work with several types of smartphones, including all BlackBerry models, the Palm Pre, Nexus One, and nearly all of the popular smartphones out in the market now as long as they use a mini or micro USB charging post. We tested the RichardSolo 1800 with the Google Nexus One.
What makes the Richard Solo 1800 really stand out is the fact that it also has a built in laser pointer and LED white flashlight. The flashlight can last for over 100 hours when the battery is fully charged. These are two features that you never know when they’ll come in handy. Heck, if you’re stuck somewhere where you need a battery boost, there is a good chance that at the same time you’ll need a flashlight too in one of those situations. But of-course, if you use the Richard Solo to charge your phone, the flashlight will be capput.
The design of the Richard Solo is clean and very pocket and purse friendly. Its gray coloring will easily match the looks of most modern day smartphones. The device itself weighs 2.30z and measures 2″ x 7/16″ x 4 3/8″. On its front fact, the Richard Solo sports LEDS which indicate its charging status. Green indicates that the device itself is being charged, red indicates that the Solo needs to be recharged, and finally, Blue indicates that the Richard Solo is actively charging a connected smartphone.
The Richard Solo 1800 comes with a 100-240V, 50-60Hz AC wall charger, dual-port USB car charger, retractable USB cable, and mini/micro-USB connector cables. That means that you’ll be able to use the included accessories to conveniently charge your phone in the wall, in your car, or by connecting it to the USB port in your computer. The Richard Solo itself has a dedicated mini-usb connector. If your smartphone uses a mini-usb charger, then you can directly connect the Richard Solo to it to charge the device. But if your smartphone is like the Nexus One and it uses a micro-usb charger (which most modern day smartphones do use) you’ll need to connect the micro-USB connector cable to the Richard Solo’s body, and you’ll need to stick the other end of the micro-usb connector into the Nexus one. So basically, if you want to take along the Richard Solo with you for an extra boost during the day, you better remember to bring along the micro-USB connector cable or it will be useless for charging the Nexus One. This is a bumper, but not a total deal breaker.
The Richard Solo took almost 5 hours to fully charge when connected to a wall outlet, and then its 1800mAh polymerized lithium-ion battery took 2 hours to charge the Nexus One, at the end of which it left the Nexus One with 75% of its battery full. Of course, each smartphone will vary by how much % of a full charge it receives from the Richard Solo, but the Nexus One is a good average for today’s smartphones with their hungry batteries.
When it comes to all the included cables that come with the Richard Solo 1800, having so many cables is both convenient and inconvenient all at the same time. It’s great that the kit provides you with everything you need to charge your device in the car, with your computer and via a wall outlet, but you to remember to bring the cable you need along with you (if you’re using a micro-usb device) or else the battery pack is useless. Of-course, the Richard Solo’s inclusion of a laser pointer and built-in flashlight is very unique and wholeheartedly welcome. But the truth is, even if it weren’t there, we’d just be grateful to have a proficient and compact battery pack device that is compatible with so many smartphones. And chances are, that the Richard Solo 1800 will be compatible with your next smartphone – whether it’s a BlackBerry or Android device, so it has good long term value too.
The Good: Support for many devices, built-in laser pointer and LED flashlight are neat extras, comes with everything you need to charge your phone via car, the wall, or your computer
The Bad: Need to carry around two pieces to recharge a smartphone with a micro-USB charging port, although its slim and lightweight – it’s almost as big as the Nexus One itself