Review by Darren Griffin
Summer is coming and we're all praying for some sunshine I'm sure. If you are anything like me then you'll often find yourself carrying a number of gadgets, all requiring power.
That's fine for short jaunts away from the mains but what if you are away for a longer period and need the ability to recharge in the field? The obvious answer is a high capacity battery pack and that is why the solution from Infinit is a perfect fit.
Infinit have designed a rugged day sack type backpack that contains a large high-output photovoltaic (2.4 watts) solar panel and a high capacity lithium ion battery pack that can be recharged or topped up from the solar panel and comes with a range of connectors for most common phones, .MP3 players and SatNav's.
Whilst there is nothing particularly groundbreaking in the idea, what the guys at Infinit have done is to think about how this solution might best be used and design the pack and the solar cell/battery integration so as to make best use of the technology.
Whereas many other solutions can use the solar panel to charge the re-chargeable battery OR have the battery re-charge a connected device, Infinit's solution allows you to connect a device to the battery pack and still allow the battery to be re-charged or topped up via the solar cell.
So now you can go on a hike and have your device re-charged as you walk safe in the knowledge that you are making best use of the solar panel at the same time. Similarly you could connect a handheld GPS and have that re-charged whilst you continue to use it.
The pack itself has been designed to fit into the overhead storage compartment on an aircraft and to fall within the maximum size guidelines for carry on baggage applicable to most airlines (Ryanair Customers may need to check!). And, usefully, the main compartment has a slot for a laptop (up to 15" screen).
The front of the pack contains a small zipped compartment which is useful for travel documents and other items you need fast access to.
Above and behind that is the zipped battery compartment. This contains a separate zipped net cover which conceals storage compartments for the battery, the supplied charge and power leads and assorted tips, and of course any device you choose to charge in the pack.
This compartment also contains a number of pockets and slots plus a clip to attach a key ring to.
Click thumbnails for larger images
The main compartment contains the elasticated laptop slot and another pocket at the top intended for an MP3 player or similar. Adjacent to this in the backpack's shell is a port allowing you to pass a headphone cable out of the main compartment.
The back of the pack is heavily padded and contains an air-flow system to reduce heat and increase comfort. On one shoulder strap is a plastic hook to which you can clip items and on the other, a small padded mesh pocket suitable for a phone or other small item. The pack also has an adjustable waist belt and two mesh water bottle pockets, one each side.
Topping off the long list of features is a heavily padded grab handle on the top and two straps on the base for rain capes, bedding rolls etc. All the zips have large rubber pull tags on them and the pack itself appears to be very well made with high quality materials and more pockets and compartments than you will ever need.
The supplied battery pack has a useful capacity gauge on the front and its capacity at
2200mAh 2000mAh is large enough to fully recharge an iPhone from flat once with 800mAh of capacity spare (iPhone 3G/3GS is 1200mAh).
Note: Review sample supplied with pre-production battery rated at 2200mAh/Output 500mA. Production bags are supplied with a 2000mAh battery/Output 800mA.
In tests I was able to get a full charge into the battery pack using solar energy alone in a little over 7hrs. Not bad considering we've not yet reached Summer. The pack has mini-USB for receiving a charge from the solar panel or you can of course top it up by connecting to your computer or a mains socket using the supplied lead and mains USB charger plug.
Infinit bundle the most common charge tips with the device including tips for miniUSB, micro USB, Nintendo and Sony PSP. For iPhone/iPod etc you will need to use your Apply sync cable which will plug directly into the pack's USB socket.
I've tested the setup with an iPhone 3G, HTC Hero, Blackberry 3900, Nintendo DSi, Sony PSP and various satnav's and all were able to charge without any issue.
Whilst out Geocaching I was able to top up the charge on my Satmap Active 10 which I had negelected to charge fully before leaving for the day. All in all it works superbly, gives you access to power inn the field and best of all, that power can be 100% free if obtained from the solar panel. What's not to like!
Although Infinit claim the bag is splash resistant, it comes complete with a waterproof elasticated cover that can be fitted over the bag to keep the worst of our British weather out should it be needed. The cover stows in a slot behind the padding on the back ready for deployment.
Infinit have secured a slot in Apple's Stores for their backpack, that speaks volumes for the quality and it is normally sold at an RRP of £89.99.
However, Infinit have kindly extended a special offer to PocketGPSworld members. If you click the banner below you can purchase the pack at 30% off RRP.
We have no hesitation in recommending you do!