If you're heading off on tour, you’ll probably want to take a MP3 player, mobile or PDA with you. Cue the Powermonkey, a clever little animal that can charge from a variety of sources: a 5V solar panel, the mains (worldwide plugs are included) or a computer.
The solar panel, or ‘Solarmonkey’, measures a diminutive 110x70x10mm when folded, and it’s not exactly speedy, taking roughly six hours to ﬁll a third of the Powermonkey’s cell.
In fact, charge times varied greatly during our testing, depending on the cloud cover and our positioning. But although we never managed to get a full charge, there was always enough to keep our devices topped up and playing music when we wanted it.
When you do reach a location with a power socket, it takes three-and-a-half hours to do a full charge (six from a computer). This provides enough juice to power your iPod for 40 hours and your mobile for 96 hours.
The kit is impressively well made, with a waterproof, toughened design that suits pannier travel. Full weight is 475g, but you can trim that down by 200g or so by being selective with the plethora of connectors and plugs included. It comes in blue, grey, pink or yellow, so you can colour co-ordinate it with your various devices.