Joos portable solar power charger looks good

I don't have one of these Joos portable solar power chargers, but they look good, and the specs are impressive. The manufacturer claims that it charges at least 3 1/2 times faster than other portable solar chargers at the same price ($139.95, but they are on sale for $99). They also claim that one hour in the direct sun equals two hours of 3G talk time, and that the battery pack has enough energy to charge a smart phone "at least four times over." It's waterproof, too.

It also comes with a utility for windows and OS X that shows you how charged your battery is, how much instantaneous solar power is being generated, and the total amount of energy your charger has produced. Unfortunately it looks like the charger is sold out, but you can go to the website and enter your e-mail address so that when more units are available you can buy it for the sale price of $99.

If you have experience with this charger, I would appreciate it if you could review it in the comments section of this post.

Joos portable solar power charger


  1. This looks super-cool. I’m totally into it.

    I just want to head off in advance the people who think this is “green” because it’s solar. The VAST majority of these kinds of devices are used only to charge small things intermittently. They never produce more energy over their lifetimes than it took to make them in the first place.

    In other words, buying one is not ecogroovy, the way a well installed permanent solar installation often can be. It is just a neat device.

      1. You’ve got to admit that’s a reasonable mistake if you’ve only seen the word in print. You don’t pronounce the plural of “boo” and “goo” as “buice” and “goose.”

  2. I have a JOOS charger and am happy to report it works as advertised. It couldn’t be easier and it’s fun to watch it charge. I can’t wait to bring it to Burning Man this year.

    My wife sells art at local fairs and I use my blackberry to tether to my notebook in order to make credit card transactions over the web. The morning of the second day of the fair I realized my phone was drained and started to panic. Then I remembered I had brought my JOOS with me. It still was carrying a charge from last weekend and I was able to charge my phone right there johnny-on-the-spot. Ta da!

  3. Our volunteer FD/SAR got one of these to charge stuff in the field. They totally kick ass – fairly rugged, dependable and easy-to use.

  4. People, get a grip. Joos is a not-uncommon Dutch and German surname. Sometimes a name is just a name. Jeez Laweez!

    1. I did not know that. Is it pronounced more like “yoos” or “yooz”, or does it still start with a J sound?

      The device itself looks pretty slick, though I don’t really have any practical need for one right now. Good to know the tech is there if I do need it, of course.

          1. i’m not sure herbheartlady read the previous comment, but you’re right, in dutch “joos” would be pronounced “yose” to rhyme with “hose” but with an “s” sound at the end instead of a “z”.

            i think this product name is intended to be pronounced “juice”, though.

  5. I was wondering about the greenness of this. I saw #1’s comments, but was wondering if there were any hard numbers.

    Does anyone know even roughly what the environmental footprint of this thing would be if I used it to charge my cell phone twice a week for a year?

    My guess is that #1 is absolutely correct, but it would be nice to know how much someone would have to use it to make it green. Two cell phones each twice a week? Two cell phones and two iPods? Does this ever become green?

    (Of course, if one if worried about greenness, one shouldn’t have two cellphones and two iPods. That’s another matter.)

    1. I’m not sure about embodied energy, but to put it into perspective, if the thing was producing at peak output for a year, it would give you a total of 22.783 kWh, which at the national average would save about $3.42.

      Using the reflectors (it mentions them, so I assume they come with it), would knock that up to 41.921kWh per year, or $6.29.

      The only real value to something like this would be for extended trips in the wilderness or things like that. I’m pretty sure it would be cheaper and more environmentally friendly to just charge a battery off the wall and take it with you, otherwise.

      1. Well put.

        I will say, solar panels on boats can have an excellent (monetary and environmental payback if they go to the main battery bank and if you are using the boat all the time (cruising). That’s because the alternative is charging off the gasoline or diesel motor, which is much dirtier than the grid.

        If you only use the boat a few times a month or less, you are way better off (in all ways) charging from the dock.

  6. I don’t know about the specific embodied energy payback of a solar charger due to its erratic energy usage. But a typical full size photovoltaic panel will typically pay back the energy used in its production within 1.5-2 years, with the majority being around 1.8 years. Considering they are guaranteed for 25 years at 80% performance and will still likely work for years after that, that’s pretty good.

    With the smaller solar chargers I’m not sure which force will win. The fact that it’s one single PV cell means a whole part of the production chain (connecting 40-50 cells into a module) is missed out, which should save energy. But the energy is only used sporadically, so that’ll make it less efficient in paying back its energy cost. At a guess, I’d say it would probably increase the energy payback to 2.5-3 years. Most PV manufacturers include an estimate of this value on their datasheet.

    1. Totally agreed on energy payback. In fact, some of the newer modules are able to pay back the embodied energy of the module in six months, with system payback coming within 1-2 years.

      However, module assembly is a very small part of module energy footprint, so the single-cell doesn’t save you much, especially because it’s packaged with a bunch of electronics. Intermittent use (an hour or two every other day, if that) is going to stretch that payback out way past a decade. Devices like this will almost certainly be in the landfill well before then.

      No matter what, portable electronics are not the devices causing our energy problems. Driving your car for a few hundred miles will use more energy than all the phones and music players you will ever own. So will heating or air conditioning your house for a couple months.

  7. We got a Brunton Explorer for my wife’s HTC Incredible and it didn’t really work. The uneven charging current caused the phone to turn back on all the time thus causing a constant drain that diminished the charging effect.

    Does the Joos get around this problem?

    (Alternately, is there any way to turn off the Incredible and have it stay off regardless of external power status?)

  8. I have a Joos Orange, and used it on one camping trip so far. For me the purpose wasn’t to replace other energy sources in every day use, but to let me use my iphone on extended trips. It worked beautifully continuing to charge the phone (and/or recharge it’s own battery) in extremely overcast conditions and until the sun had dipped below the horizon (and in the rain).

    I don’t think it will charge most laptops.

    The manufacturers suggest it (and tech. like it) can be crucial in providing link to outside world for people where there isn’t regular/dependable electricity available. You could run a smartphone 24/7, 365 with this (providing there is coverage).

  9. Investing in solar panel technology is green, because it helps solar modules producers survive in a pseudo-capitalist economy.

    If they couldn’t sell overpriced micro-modules to wealthy hipsters, they’d be stuck trying to make a living on sanctimonious tightwads like me. There just ain’t much profit in doing good, really.

  10. Joos looks shiny (so surely pro-semitic? ;) ) — nice big internal battery to smooth-charge gadgets, hella beefy panel, and tough as old boots. All I need is the boat!

  11. I own a Joos Orange and it is a fantastic device. after each of the last 2 heavy snows, I set it up connected to my EVO phone and had that connected to my SoundMatters Foxl V2 speakers. Instant perpetual (during daylight) outdoor stereo. (After an hour I switched plugs from my phone (which was by then fully juiced), to the Foxl V2 speakers (until that was fully juiced). I had music the whole time shoveling and full charge on everything when I was done. I can’t wait for the summer months when I can really get use out of my ‘solar’ outdoor music system. I keep the Joos Orange in my traveling computer bag. NO, it will NOT charge a laptop, but it will keep your phone topped off during long plane flights and allow you to watch multiple movies on your smartphone and still be fully charged when you land.

    BTW the SoundMatters Foxl V2 speakers are beyond amazing. They are a ‘must hear’ speaker for any audiophile. Worth every penny ($199.00). (I have no financial interest in either HTC EVO, SoundMatters Foxl V2, or Orange Joos; I am just a gadget freak who loves quality electronic devices…and great music!)

  12. Re: greenness: I’m looking to buy one (if they start delivering again) because I am such a heavy user of my device that on trips I always empty it before returning to a place where I can charge it. Therefore it competes with non-solar battery packs, and I’m convinced that it would beat them on greenness. (though of course in reality, it is the cool factor that won me over)

Comments are closed.