Canada's Kiwi Choice has announced the release of a strangely familiar-looking portable solar charger for mobile devices. The three-panel photovoltaic fan design first used by Solio has found its way to Kiwi's U-Powered charger. Featuring a powerful battery, LED flashlight and magnetic feet, the product also comes with multiple device connector tips for maximum compatibility.

The U-Powered solar charger is the first of four green products to be announced by Kiwi Choice. As well as being a backup power source or outright charger for portable electronics such as smartphones, cameras and media players, the device also offers the versatility of not being wholly dependent on the sun for its power. When sunlight adamantly refuses to appear or when users just need a quick power boost, the unit can be hooked up to just about any power source via USB, car or wall charger.

The charge level of the U-Powered's powerful 2000 mAh Lithium Polymer battery is shown via a simple four LED charge level indicator, and the unit is said to be good for over a thousand recharge cycles. The product also has a built-in LED flashlight and sports magnetic feet for secure placement on metallic surfaces. Universal mobile device compatibility is helped along by the inclusion of 11 connector tips.

The U-Powered will be available from retail stores and online shortly, and has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of US$49.99.

Of course, fellow solar products company Solio also has a shocking pink hybrid charger which is compatible with a number of devices for about the same price as the U-Powered - although it does have a somewhat weaker 1600mAh Li-ion battery, lacks a torch, and has a suction cup instead of magnetic feet.

Of the other chargers available from Solio, the MAG offers the highest battery capacity at 1800mAh. Whereas Kiwi's product is said to need at least 17 hours of good sunlight to reach full charge, the MAG needs to sunbathe for only around ten.