I’ve seen hand-held solar chargers before—the Solio immediately comes to mind—but I’ve yet to see a functional wind-powered hand-held charger. Enter the HYmini. It’s palm-sized, comes in three colors, costs 50 bucks, and can charge your gadgets with nothing but a stiff breeze. Well, almost. While it’s a welcome idea, on closer inspection, the feature set isn’t all we’d like it to be.
It needs first to be charged through a traditional wall outlet to bring its internal rechargeable battery up to speed. Unfortunately, its turbine is too weak to fully recharge on the road and so can only be used as a supplement. To get the full benefit of the device, you need to purchase an additional four solar panels at a cost of $25/ea and string them all together. The whole setup not only brings the cost way up, but it kills the form factor by rendering the device immobile.
Still, the premise is a good one, and while the power output wouldn’t currently meet our needs, here’s hoping the technology improves enough in the coming years that we keep on permanently in our beach bag.