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EnerPlex could be slimmest solar case for iPhone yet

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June 20, 2012

The EnerPlex solar charger for iPhone 4/4S incorporates a thin, flexible CIGS PV module fr...

The EnerPlex solar charger for iPhone 4/4S incorporates a thin, flexible CIGS PV module from Ascent Solar

Image Gallery (6 images)

In comparison to some of the bulkier solar panel-packing iPhone cases we’ve seen, such as the AQUA TEK S and Solar Surge, the EnerPlex solar charger case is positively Kate Moss-like. Made by Colorado-based Ascent Solar using its ultra light, thin and flexible CIGS solar panels, the EnerPlex for iPhone 4/4S adds just 72 g (2.53 oz) to the weight of the phone, while providing the ability to top up the battery from the sun’s rays.

Judging by the available pics, the EnerPlex looks to add less than a centimeter (0.39 in) of depth to an iPhone, while incorporating a battery alongside Ascent Solar’s flexible CIGS module, which it claims is the lightest and thinnest photovoltaic module in the world. The case has been designed to provide clear access to the iPhone’s buttons, speakers and charging port, and leaves the rear camera unobscured,

Ascent Solar claims the EnerPlex will provide up to an additional 170 hours of standby time, 3.5 hours of internet surfing, 5.6 hours of Wi-Fi, 19 hours of audio playback and up to 5.6 hours of video playback on a full charge.

The EnerPlex keeps the iPhone's buttons, charge port and camera clear

The company has already received a purchase order of 50,000 EnerPlex units from its Asian distributor ahead of an early August 2012 retail launch there. The company says it plans to expand its EnerPlex line to support smartphones from other manufacturers, such as the Samsung Galaxy S III, in the near future. No word on pricing, but a wider global release is set for the fourth quarter of this year.

Here's a video from Ascent Solar showing off the EnerPlex's sleek lines.

Source: Ascent Solar

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
18 Comments

Where can you buy the orange stand the iPhone is resting on?

TIA - Rich

FACSman
21st June, 2012 @ 10:54 am PDT

50,000 units have already been ordered, but no price given? I am guessing the stand comes with it, but the video says nothing really useful, except that the new solar cells are thinner and flexible (flexible does not matter in a flat hard case.)

What is the solar output, and charge rate? Time to charge? It would charge faster if the phone can be turned off, or at least close the screen. Need some details here guys!

kellory
21st June, 2012 @ 03:44 pm PDT

All current info on the EnerPlex battery case can be found here: http://www.ascentsolar.com/enerplex/

Having the phone on or screen locked does not affect the charge time as the USB port and solar cell charge the case's battery (which can be discharged to the phone at any time) rather than the phone's internal battery.

AscentSolar
9th July, 2012 @ 09:07 am PDT

Been there, done that, and STILL no pricing! Even clicked on how to buy, and still no pricing. I am not going to play silly bugger games to find out what it cost to purchase! You had my interest, now you have lost it.

I also can't tell if it could be used on the dash of a car, or if the heat would effect it. My cell phone will shut down if too hot.

You just lost a possible customer.

kellory
15th July, 2012 @ 07:16 am PDT

kellory,

EnerPlex is not yet available for sale, the pictures featured above are of the product production prototype. Which is why there is no pricing information available yet, once the product becomes available, pricing information will of course be provided.

The case can be placed on the dash of the car, although as mentioned the heat may affect the iPhone but it will not prevent the case from charging its own battery. In this case it would be prudent to remove the phone from the case and leave the case itself on the dash, preventing any damage to the iPhone.

Ascent

AscentSolar
20th July, 2012 @ 09:01 am PDT

"The company has already received a purchase order of 50,000 EnerPlex units from its Asian distributor ahead of an early August 2012 retail launch there. The company says it plans to expand its EnerPlex line to support smartphones from other manufacturers, such as the Samsung Galaxy S III, in the near future. No word on pricing, but a wider global release is set for the fourth quarter of this year."

No one but an idiot would order 50,000units of ANYTHING without a unit price. So someone is getting pricing. The web site has the same video as seen here, with very little added info. I don't like being kept in the dark, it has cost you a customer.

kellory
20th July, 2012 @ 07:19 pm PDT

Kellory,

As stated the order is from our Asian distributor, our distributor prices are of course private information not available to the general public. As distributor they have the power to set retail prices as they see fit.

Ascent

AscentSolar
25th July, 2012 @ 09:59 am PDT

"The EnerPlex charger for iPhone 4/4S weighs only 72 grams, and can dramatically increase the usage time of your device. With a full charge, the EnerPlex charger adds:

Standby Time: up to 170 hours

Internet Surfing: up to 3.5 hours

Wi-Fi: up to 5.6 hours

Audio Play: up to 19 hours

Video Play: up to 5.6 hours"

Congratulations.

Now how about what I asked? "What is the solar output, and charge rate? Time to charge?" size of battery (Ah) Things consumers compare when deciding upon a purchase.

And who cares that the solar cell is flexible? You are not using that feature of their construction.

kellory
2nd August, 2012 @ 03:59 pm PDT

I'm really excited about the case. Hopefully it's not too expensive.

James_P_ATL
13th August, 2012 @ 07:32 am PDT

It has been a month, and you STILL can't tell me the size of the battery, charge rate, solar output (watts) or average charge time? NUTS! Forget about my business!

kellory
2nd September, 2012 @ 05:59 pm PDT

To those inquiring about the specs and pricing of this scammy product. It is now offered at about $80 in Korea, but there are obviously no sales. The solar cell generates just 0.38W at peak sun, which means it will NEVER EVER charge any iPhone or any other smart phone. Apparently, it also contains a puny 1000 mah li-ion battery (3Wh at best of useable capacity!), meaning the solar cell can't even charge the li-ion battery! But that's not all - even if the cell was 10x more efficient or 10x bigger, only a crazy person will leave its expensive cell phone outside to be "trickle charged " by the sun (while being ruined by the heat and UV rays). If you want a real solar charger, find a crystalline one with at least 3W rated power (under STC) and 5V output for less than $40 (on ebay, for example), and connect it with a USB cable (while keeping the phone safely in the cool shadow).

Fanof Ecd
14th September, 2012 @ 11:05 am PDT

Flexible is good..... this charger will certainly be useful 'in the field'.....

cquirolo
15th September, 2012 @ 09:29 am PDT

Fanof Ecd, Thank you. They already lost my business, but nice to know my instincts were right. (one note for the sake of accuracy, they did say to remove the phone and charge the case, on the dash of the car to avoid the heat damage to the phone.) But a real solar charger would be a better choice.

kellory
16th September, 2012 @ 08:29 am PDT

You were never a serious potential buyer anyway, Kellory.

I've never seen anyone behave so childishly on a tech thread in my life.

Given that these went on sale just today within the U.S., feedback on how well it does prior to today is speculation at best. I'm ordering one and I'll post later with my experiences.

I happen to think that Ascent is on to something here!

Facebook User
17th September, 2012 @ 09:11 am PDT

Michael Cruise, You are mistaken. I was quite interested until I started smelling something wrong. I asked direct questions that were glossed over, or ignored. Information that should have been forthcoming was withheld.

This "ad" is hype without substance.

kellory
22nd September, 2012 @ 10:49 pm PDT

FanofEcd,

The solar charging application of the battery case is meant to be an emergency safety net not the primary method of charging the case due to the time needed (14-20 hours) to fully charge the case.

Your point of not leaving an expensive phone in the sun is very valid, which is why many consumers choose to leave the case charging in the sun (on a dashboard etc.) separate of the phone. Allowing you to extend battery life even further. Though mono-crystalline cells may charge a phone faster, cases utilizing this technology are half-again as thick as the EnerPlex case and nearly twice as heavy.

Kellory, as stated the EnerPlex's solar module is not meant to be the primary charging method, though Ascent will soon debut a module system which will enable you to charge a mobile phone via solar in the same time it would take from an outlet (2-3 hours)

Ascent

AscentSolar
5th October, 2012 @ 11:46 am PDT

I thought I had found the answer I had been searching for. My first post shows my excitement, and I was looking for answers that should have been displayed with the product....but I could not get any direct answers. Is the data offered by " Fanof Ecd" correct for this product? only @1/3 wt. and a small battery?

I had hoped to keep it simple, but the current competition (so far) seems to be the "bolt" by Solio. 2000mah battery 4wt panals, folds to the size of a deck of cards, and USB in and out, with a 4-5 hour USB charge time. And I have priced them for less that $60. including shipping.

I will give your updated product a hard look, if it comes out before I buy something else. (that would be why I wanted comparison information in the first place.)

I would prefer a good, simple solution. with the fewest number of parts, and the lowest cost.

kellory
10th October, 2012 @ 05:26 pm PDT

Nice case, but I prefer the Pong Research iPhone case. I read that the cell phones emit a dangerous non-ionizing form of electromagnetic radiation; radiation which can be absorbed by the tissues and cells which come into close contact with the phone. That's why I decided to do something that reduce cell phone radiation levels for protect to my family. In the end though, I found a couple of reviews of Pong Research's cases, that convinced me to give it a try. This case is built with an antenna in between layers of the back cover, which reduces exposure to radiation while optimizing the mobile reception.

Claudia Sainz
18th April, 2013 @ 05:02 pm PDT
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