Solar-powered bags

FSB asked me to test these small pieces of luggage, which have external solar panels that can charge small devices such as PDAs and cellphones. (None generated enough juice to charge a laptop.) For each, I ran my T-Mobile Dash cellphone until the battery died, then timed a full solar charge outside.

Messenger, $229
VOLTAIC
Messenger, $229
This laptop carrying case comes in black, green, orange, and silver. It ships with an internal battery that charged my Dash in a bit less than four hours. But the Voltaic lost major points when it fried my phone as I tried to bypass the battery and charge directly from the panels, which, it turns out, deliver higher voltage than the battery. Note to Voltaic: Please idiot-proof future releases of this bag. The Voltaic was also finicky about sun - it stopped charging in both full sunlight and moderate shade.

voltaicsystems.com

1

2

3
A small-business owner puts three voice-recognition packages to the test. (more)
PLANon's scanner looks great - but its images don't. (more)
Toshiba's new tablet PC is snazzy - and pricey. (more)
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.