Review: Novothink Surge solar charging case for the iPhone

What better way to introduce your iPhone to Earth Day than to outfit it with a charging case that harnesses the power of the sun to keep it powered? The Novothink Surge is the first iPhone case to be officially certified by Apple.

The case has several handy features – a built in 1350mAH li-ion battery pack, large solar panel, battery status indicator and an optional app to calculate the required amount of sun for a charge.

Using the case is as simple as can be – you slide your phone into the Surge, and let the sun do its work. The four LED indicators show battery charge status, but most importantly – they also show whether the solar panels are doing their job. Out in the bright sun, the lights turn red, which means you can actually see whether it works (or not).

The Novothink application is quite smart – you tell it how much you plan to use your phone, and whether it is in direct sunlight or overcast – and the app tells you how long it’ll need to be charged using the solar panels. For a full charge, you’ll need about 9 hours of direct sunlight, but you can get away with an hour or two if you just need to do some browsing.

Of course, you can still charge your device using your computer or USB charger, thanks to the included MiniUSB cable. Best of all – this cable also syncs your device. Openings on the front of the Surge keep your speaker and microphone working.

The Novothink Surge is available in black and white and costs $79.95. An iPod Touch version is also available (for $69.95).

Not much more to add about this product – it works exactly as promised, has a battery capable of fully recharging your device, and a solar panel with enough power to bring the internal batteries back to 100% in a day.

If you have sun, but no outlet, this is a reliable way to keep your device working. Even though the case is well built, you won’t be buying it for its looks; it makes your phone look huge, and certainly isn’t the prettiest thing out there – but at the end of the day, being able to check your email is probably more important than looking good.

You’ll find the Novothink Surge case at the Novothink web site.