Review: Dexim P-Flip Foldable Solar-Powered Dock DCA 199

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The very concept of keeping an iPhone fully charged? Laughable. But using the sun as a power source? That’s positively preposterous.

Apparently crazy is on the menu over at Dexim HQ. Their new solar-powered P-Flip promises to juice an iPhone’s talk time up to eight hours.

The rigging basically looks like a bulky black and camouflage case. You slide the iPhone in (there’s a version for BlackBerry schlepers too) and the panels soak up sunlight and transfer it over to the phone’s power-hungry battery.

While the P-Flip manual claims a full solar charge takes 10-12 hours, Dexim’s website says 15 hours. Whatevah! In our testing we found it takes at least half a day of sun exposure to get the power meter full. But check it out: It doesn’t matter if it’s cloudy, foggy or smoggy — the battery charges up at the same rate no matter the conditions.

Want to know just how much charge the P-Flip battery has? Push the side button and an array of three LED mini-lights tell you how much energy you’ve got left. The middle light also keeps you informed if a solar or USB charge is taking place.

The P-Flip is also digitally ambidextrous, flipping both horizontally or vertically — cool for hands-free viewing of videos in either direction. There’s an included USB cord too that you can use to sync the phone with iTunes on a PC or Mac.

The dock folds up for compact storage, although we suspect sensitivity to dings and scratches of the exposed solar panels. A form-fitting storage case might be a good idea if you don’t mind added bulk.

In any event this solar charging case isn’t a bad idea. Anyone who needs their phone charged and won’t be near an electrical outlet for a while would be smart to get one. After all, it looks like those crazy kids from Hair were right to demand that we let the sunshine in.

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