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Portable power for your gadgets. Light for developing countries
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Portable power for your gadgets. Light for developing countries

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 2.33.52 PMIt’s called WakaWaka Power a solar powered charger for your smartphone or other gadget that uses the USB port for power. The 121 x 17 x78mm 200 gram ( 4.8 x 0.8 x 4 inches  7 ounces) compact device hides a 2200mAH battery that will charge the average smartphone in about 2 hours.

It is more than just a portable charger, the WakaWaka has two powerful LED lights that will run for up to 80 hours on a charge at 25% brightness which is still surprisingly bright. The lights can also be set to automatically flash SOS in morse code. Recharge time is 5 hours on AC power and about 8 hours on solar panel at 50 degrees latitude (New York). I live at 45 degrees and it took about 10 hours of full sun to get a 100% charge.

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The developer of WakaWaka which by the way means shine bright in Swahili has a humanitarian mission as well which it describes as follows:

Using a multi-pronged approach and a collaborative concept that includes western consumers, NGOs, and entrepreneurs in developing countries, WakaWaka has created an incredibly powerful economic ecosystem to empower the poor to solve extreme economic and energy poverty.

The WakaWaka Model starts with western consumers who purchase WakaWaka POWER products. With each WakaWaka POWER sold, a $10 gift is sent to the WakaWaka Foundation. The WakaWaka Foundation then uses 100% of these funds to support our non-profit partners, administer micro-loans and help bring light to those living at the very base of the pyramid.

During my testing period we had pretty gloomy weather in Montreal with lots of overcast days. On those days, all day exposure would only produce a 50% charge..it took a long sunny day to get a full charge. I was able to fully charge an iPhone 5 on about 90 minutes with enough power left over to provide a little over 7 hours of light at full power. It took about 2 hours to give a 85% charge to a HTC One and you can expect the same or less for other large screen phones because of their bigger batteries. To enjoy the full benefit of this neat portable power gadget you are going to need an AC charger as backup in case of long stretches of bad weather.

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I like the WakaWaka Power. It is compact, light, takes up no space in my bag and is there when I need to extend the life of my smartphone battery. The bright flashlight is a bonus that comes in handy. At $79 it is competitively priced and there is the knowledge your purchase is helping someone in the third world. You can buy it online in yellow or black at the WakaWaka Store

Bob Benedetti

Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal

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