Newlite Portable, Solar LED Lights


Read at night (compliments of the Sun)

I’ve used these solar LED lights for reading at night for over a year. There are three models and I have one of each — the Heavy Duty Compact model, the Compact model and the Mini, which I attach with Velcro to my backpack and then to my bike helmet when I need it for night riding. On full brightness, the Mini lasts 12 hours (recharge time is advertised as 7 hours).The Heavy Duty charges completely in 10 hours and, at full brightness, gives 12+ hours of light, while the Compact charges completely in 6 hours and, at full brightness, gives 12+ hours of light.

I’ve never run the lights until battery drain so I can’t speak to recharge from zero. I use them for reading at night so that is usually only an hour or two a night and they are always connected to the solar panels in my south facing window.

I took all three lights on vacation to Jamaica last December, and used each of them except for the Mini (no biking). After the trip, I gave two sets of friends the extra lights I’d bought. Both couples like these lights, too.

They also offer a variety of connectors, which work with all models of the lights, that allow you to charge your phone, camera, computer, etc. I bought all to test for compatibility and found it to be a very good system (although at $20 a pop the connectors are a little pricey). It’s worth noting, I use them only for demo purposes. I haven’t tried to run my computer, for instance, on the Compact model.

I settled on this brand because they were the first I’d seen with a natural form factor. They looked sleek and useful and have turned out to be all that I expected. The only quibble I have is that there’s a light sensor that will not allow the lamps to go on in the daytime. I’d prefer a switch so that I can decide when to turn them on or off without being overridden by the sensor. Still haven’t seen anything that is comparable on the market.

Gotta tell ya, it makes me feel good to use these things. Finally, after all these years, this renter has one room that is solar-powered. They made me an honest solar advocate, somebody who not only talks the talk but walks the walk as well.

-- George Mokray 05/8/07