If you need a longer charge, rather than fuss with solar charging during daylight hours, you could pack two Astro E7s to match the Solartab’s price and still be carrying less weight. (The E7 can recharge at up to 4 A with the right charger, so getting 30 minutes plugged in at a visitor center can jam a couple thousand mAh back in, too.)
For extended trips and a safety margin, or for higher battery use if you’re taking and editing photos and recharging a camera and an iPad, you might want solar. In that case, pairing the Astro E7 with Anker’s PowerPort Solar Lite ($46 and available on Amazon) seems like a better choice. It’s 11 x 6 x 0.75 inches folded and weighs about 12.5 ounces. It unfolds to 18 x 11 inches, and reviewers like its performance in partial sunlight. The charger should deliver at least twice as the Solartab in similar conditions.
There’s nothing wrong at all with the Solartab; it’s just not the right solution unless you’re absolutely certain you want the slimmest all-in-one design regardless of weight and cost relative to performance.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.