Published on November 4, 2015
The Freeloader iSIS offers on-the-go solar-powered rechargability for phones, GPS and more for runners who like to ‘go long’. You’re not likely to need massively extended battery life if you’re running marathons – but feel free to insert your own iPhone battery side-swipe here – but when it comes to ultra distances it can be a lifesaver.
At 240g the Freeloader iSIS isn’t the lightest solar charger on the market, but it’s weight to performance ratio is just about the best we’ve seen. The high-density cells used to charge the 4000mAH capacity battery are claimed to be 50% more effective than traditional crystalline cells and, on test, it’s been obvious that charging even in relatively low-light and in cloudy conditions isn’t a huge problem for the iSIS. It’s ability to continue to provide charge to devices even when the internal battery is running low also impressed; whilst many chargers all but give up the ghost as the tank runs low, the iSIS let us squeeze every last drop of juice out of it. The tech-spec states that it will charge a phone, GPS or camera up to three times (or an MP3 player four times or tablet once); that, in our experience, has been pretty much bang on although over time devices like this do tend to lose their bite a little so probably best to take the stat as a best-case scenario.
It’s robust too; the removable gel-like case adds further protection, but even without it the iSIS is a tough piece of kit. The dimensions 25mm x 76mm x 137mm (when in the gel case) make it easily packable whilst the removable Velcro strap allows you to fix the unit to a race pack so it can get busy charging while you’re busy running.
The integrated charging arms – one lightning connector, one micro USB – means that having to carry extra cables is a thing of the past, but if you need extra connectivity there’s a standard female USB socket too. The ability to charge more than one devise at a time is also a bonus, it’s the law of sod that your phone will die at the same time as your Garmin. The tiny but perfectly functional LCD display shows both remaining charge and power source (you can pre-charge the iSIS via the mains/USB) – this did ‘fog’ alarmingly on occasions during test, but always eventually cleared and never resulted in anything catastrophic.
Overall the Freeloader iSIS (yes, it’s a slightly unfortunate name in today’s geo-political climate) has impressed us greatly. It’s a charger we feel we can rely on and one that lives up to its go-anywhere robust promise.
The Freeloader iSIS retails at £64.99 with further details at poweryouradventures.com