Review: SideWinder Emergency Cell Phone Charger

Thanks to home and car chargers, running out of battery power on your cell phone is minimal, but what if you are no where near a standard power source when you run low?

The last time I went camping, I had to take my phone back to the car to charge every few days. This would not be a big deal if the car was in the campground but I had to park some distance away. I’ve had a wind up radio for years, and actually wondered why can’t cell phones have a wind up charging option? Well, they have yet to make one built in but IST has the next best thing. The Sidewinder charger is a 2 1/2 ounce portable wind up charger for your cell phone.

Instead of manufacturing 100s of units to work with all the cell power connectors, IST makes a single unit that has interchangeable adapter cords for your specific phone model. This puts out a steady 6 volts to any Motorola, Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung, LG, Qualcomm, Kyocera and Audiovox phone. The device is light but feels very durable. The cranking arm tucks away into the device body when not in use. I dropped the thing twice in the parking lot already (too many gadgets in the same pocket) and it still runs fine. I ran several tests over the course of two weeks. Regularly allowing my phone to completely die and then hooking up the Sidewinder to recharge it. In my tests, I got an average of 3 minutes and 25 seconds of talk time for 2 minutes of charging. I could also charge while using the phone and continue talking. This is however not always practical as the device generates a fair amount of noise while being cranked. When not plugged into your phone, your winding charges a capacitor which powers a white light. The brochure says it will deliver 5 minutes of light for 30 seconds of charging. In my tests it easily went for 7 minutes however the light started to significantly dim after about 3 1/2 minutes.

I am very happy with the unit. It delivers what it promises and gives me yet another way to keep in touch and stay fully charged. The ability to power my phone from anywhere is well worth $25 USD to me.


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