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Product: Powermonkey eXplorer
Manufacturer: PowerTraveller
MSRP: $130 [BizRate]
Lowest Historical Price: $10 [History]

Introduction
The PowerMonkey eXplorer is marketed as a backup power supply to give your gadgets an extra boost of battery power. With modern gadgetry placing ever increasing demands for portable power, the PowerMonkey eXplorer Solar Charger comes at just the right time to save you from running out of juice while away from a wall outlet. The standard price is about $110, but when they started offering a whopping $100 rebate on it (bringing the price to $10 AR), I had to pick one up to give it try.

Update: The $100 rebate arrived on 7/21/08.

In The Box
The PM eXplorer comes in a tidy zip case, with everything tightly packed into individual compartments. It also comes with an array of international power adapters. The two main components are the backup battery itself and the folding solar cell, which they call the "solar slave." You'll find a myriad of accessory adapters included that fit almost any portable power application.



Specifications
The specifications claim as follows: 40 hours of battery life for iPods, 96 hours for Mobile Phones, 1600 pictures for Digital Cameras, 5 Hours for PSP, 6 hours for MP4/MP3 Players. There are three methods for charging the main battery: Directly via AC Adapter in 3.5 hours, USB charging in about 6 hours, or charging with the Solar Slave in 18 hours of direct sunlight.

Battery Capacity: 2200 mAh
Output Voltage: 4.5-5.5V
Output Current: 700mA max
Weight: 83g
Water Resistant



Testing
The charging times were in-line with the specifications. When using the solar charging feature, you really want the solar panel to be in direct sunlight. Indirect sunlight will take far longer to charge the battery. The PowerMonkey battery has an LED indicator light that is amber while charging, and green once the battery is full.

iPod Video 5th Generation 30GB. The PowerMonkey was plugged in to a completely discharged iPod, and shuffled music playback was commenced. The PowerMonkey itself ran out of power at 1:40 into the test. The iPod was charging off of the PM during that time, and was able to output music for an additional 7:41 for a total iPod audio playback time of 9:21. This falls short of their claim of "40 hours" for iPods, and is more in line with their estimate of 6 hours for MP4/MP3 players.

Sony PSP Slim 2000: From a completely discharged battery on the PSP, the PowerMonkey was able to impart a 100% charge to the PSP in about 5 hours. The PowerMonkey still had power to spare, as it was reporting 5 bars out of 7 on the integrated LCD indicator. This capability would definitely be a big plus if you're away from regular plug-in power for long periods of time.

In addition to directly using the battery, you can also directly use the solar panel by connecting it to your device. While this will typically not provide a reliable enough current source for operating your device, it can effectively function as a trickle charger, slowly topping off your gadget so that it is charged while there is enough light.



Conclusion
While I had apprehensions about the utility of this device at first, I have come to appreciate that the PowerMonkey eXplorer can be a device that sees everyday use. Green thumbs can use it to effectively take some small gadgets off the grid, while high demand users can use the relatively good capacity of the backup battery to shore up their power reserves. If you're backpacking through the wilderness, hang the solar charger from your pack to always have a supply of gadget power. It's even waterproof should you encounter inclement conditions. I came away with a positive impression of the PowerMonkey eXplorer, especially at the bargain-basement price of $10 that I got it for. The regular selling price of $100 would keep me away, however.

Image Gallery:

  • Was this useful?
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    LJW Ben's cred: 255
    Posted 2:21 pm PDT 07/3/08

    "Click here" link goes to the review... Can these still be had for $10?

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    Lester Ben's cred: 27
    Posted 2:26 pm PDT 07/3/08

    I guess this will be useful if you often carry all your gadgets away from civilization by foot or by bike.

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    topcat903 Ben's cred: 11
    Posted 2:33 pm PDT 07/3/08

    Did you get the money for the rebate? $100 rebate for $110 price item has a 99% chance of not going through IMO.

    And where did you post the link to this deal again? (Being a deal site and all)

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    ali_lapointe Ben's cred: 4
    Posted 2:54 pm PDT 07/3/08

    If you click on the "History" link at the top of the page, it shows that Buy.com sold it with the $100 rebate several times in the past. All the old posts (and their rebates) have expired.

    Even if they revived this ... a $100 rebate? Not sure you'd want to take that kind of a crapshoot.

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    nahcyrag Ben's cred: 29
    Posted 2:55 pm PDT 07/3/08

    click on the HISTORY button you will have your link to the old $10 after MIR price.

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    mitda Ben's cred: 88
    Posted 2:55 pm PDT 07/3/08

    Maybe if you're dyslexic, don't know how to fill out a form correctly, and don't keep copies. 99% of $100 rebates should come through just fine.

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    biggin Ben's cred: 42
    Posted 3:15 pm PDT 07/3/08

    rebate.. more like bacon challenged
    *smirk*

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    MuchoTumbao Ben's cred: 87
    Posted 3:46 pm PDT 07/3/08

    Just one word to consider before you invest $110 in this: Connect3D.

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    ali_lapointe Ben's cred: 4
    Posted 4:50 pm PDT 07/3/08

    #6 -- "99% of $100 rebates should come through just fine." Thanks for the anecdotal statistic, that's extremely helpful. Feel free to gamble $100 on a device of dubious value by all means. No, I take that back, I guess this would be useful if you're planning to take your PSP to Sierra Leone.

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    akayzwhiz Ben's cred: 34
    Posted 9:26 pm PDT 07/3/08

    cool...

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    most_devious Ben's cred: 11
    Posted 11:12 pm PDT 07/3/08

    Reminds me of the people who were scammed by Cyber Rebate before they went under.

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    hitanykey Ben's cred: 3
    Posted 2:46 am PDT 07/4/08

    I purchased this back around May 15th and sent in the rebate a couple of days after. To my surprise on Monday I found the check in the mailbox. I've had a hell of a lot more trouble getting rebates that were significantly less than this.

    As for the device I'm pleased with the operation and actual usefulness of it.

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    Chrisman Ben's cred: 371
    Posted 8:10 pm PDT 07/4/08

    two potatoes, salt water, and some copper wire would do the same thing.

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    wayway2fetch Ben's cred: 2
    Posted 7:37 am PDT 07/20/08

    This looks amzinggg! Except not sure if carrying this around would be so entertaining now would it?

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    quest1962 Ben's cred: 1
    Posted 2:26 pm PDT 07/20/08

    Wow, I like this idea. I don't have $120 to toss at it, but if the rebate comes back .!

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    prohobbyist Ben's cred: 1
    Posted 10:09 am PDT 07/22/08

    I bought one, got the $100 rebate check (early actually) and it posted to my account fine. It does take 6 to 10 weeks to get the rebate check unless you "expedite" it (and that costs) but if you don't... well it worked for me.

    I love the device. It really works, and it becomes a charger for EVERYTHING, no matter where you are. If you travel overseas it's probably worth $100, and to have it for $10 is exceptional.

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    smarsh Ben's cred: 3
    Posted 7:57 am PDT 08/2/08

    I'm surprised it really works - good deal!

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    ITSMYKE Ben's cred: 2
    Posted 12:50 pm PDT 08/2/08

    I received my $100 rebate easily too. I didn't have to call or anything.

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    Posted 7:38 pm PDT 08/4/08

    This seems like a good bacon I'll give it a shot by getting one.

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    vovman Ben's cred: 1
    Posted 7:44 pm PDT 08/20/08

    green is good and saving money is good
    debat alos good and it's still hot these days

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