Although there are many similar products which offer charging solutions that utilize sunlight, few match the chic level of this one. Its solar panel is used in tandem with one of several optional bases. The available bases include a basic iPod/iPhone dock, a sound dock with speakers, and an LED desk lamp, providing bright light suitable for reading most texts.
The ReNu has a medium-sized body, with square dimensions of 22.5cm x 22.5cm; its thickness is 190 millimeters, similar to that of a regular laptop. The 3.7V, 4Ah Li-On battery is good for a substantial amount of charging time (two iPhone charges, for instance). Connection of devices is made via standard USB or using the supplied connectors, which enhance ReNu’s compatibility; furthermore, they enable data transfer through the connectors, so users could play music using the speakers’ dock.
Bottom line is that users get for $200 a solar, universal charger that needs 3.5-7 hours of charging time (depending whether user is indoors or outdoors). Eager consumers will need to wait, though, since it will launch next year.
TFOT has also covered the Datexx SuperBattery, a hand cranked universal USB charger, and the Kinesis K3, a portable charger that utilizes green energy, using the wind and the sun. Another related TFOT story is the Freeloader, a USB multi-charger that utilizes solar power.
For more information about the Regen ReNu, see its datasheet (PDF).