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As the mobile device market grows, so does the portable power market.  In fact, the portable power market is expected to surpass $30 billion by 2015, according to EOS Energy, because let’s face it, we are all tethered to some sort of mobile device.  The battery consumption on our devices is also increasing as we upgrade to 3G and 4G (and yes, 5G), which requires even more frequent charging.  If you want to recharge, you can either find an outlet or purchase one of the many portable power devices on the market, which also typically need to be recharged with an outlet.

But the PowerBinder by portable power company PowerStick has added the element of solar technology to the mix, making it unique enough to win a 2013 CES Innovations Award.  The PowerBinder is not just a binder/tablet stand made of high quality leather, but also a charging station that features a large solar panel on its cover.  Along with its ability to recharge via solar, the battery pack can also be recharged by a USB port.  The battery contains two USB Ports which can be used to simultaneously charge two devices at a time as well as a LUX Meter, which indicates functioning of Solar Panel.

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The battery has a capacity of 5,300 mAh, which is equivalent to recharging your smartphone about two and a half times, and has a battery and LUX meter to show you how much charge your PowerBinder has left and the current amount of light energy being harvested.  The PowerBinder also offers the option of built-in flash memory of 4 GB, 8 GB, or 16 GB, an added feature that shouldn’t be overlooked.

The solar panel, which is the really unique feature, can either harvest energy through direct sunlight or trickle charge using low light or indoor light.  I had my PowerBinder sitting in the kitchen under regular light and the LUX reading was two bars high out of eight.  I suspect it takes a while to get a full charge using just sunlight, however, it is a nice feature if you are on the go and not near an outlet.

The PowerBinder retails at $199 on the company’s website or $229 with an added 4GB of memory.  As the price of portable power declines (you can get a 6000 mAh for under $50 these days), the added feature of solar technology may not be enough for some to pay the premium cost.  Still, the PowerBinder is very sleek and definitely something that would wow colleagues in a meeting or on the plane.


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