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Gadget of the Week: Galaxy S3 solar panel battery case by Enerplex

Kris Carlon

In our Gadget of the Week series, we bring you unique, cool and super useful gadgets to make your life more fun, convenient or efficient. I was recently introduced to the joys of having an extended battery case for my smartphone, something I can now hardly do without. But you still need to have a power source in the first place to charge the thing. This is where this week’s gadget, the Enerplex ‘‘Surfr’’ solar panel battery case for the Galaxy S3 comes in: what energy source is more abundant than the sun!

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It may not be the sexiest case in the world, but it may be the msot useful! / © Enerplex

What is Enerplex ‘’Surfr’’?

Surfr is a hard shell extended battery case for the Galaxy S3 (it’s also available for the Galaxy S4) that can be used either as an extended battery case for the S3 or as a portable charger. The kicker is that it is solar powered, so you don’t even need an electrical outlet to juice it up. It’s a 2,100 mAh battery, so it’ll almost double the battery life of your Galaxy S3, simply by harnessing the sun’s rays when you’re out and about. The going rate is approximately 10 minutes of talk time for every hour of exposure, so while it may not be your default power source, it’s a fantastic addition to your kit. Just leave this thing on your dashboard, take it with you when you’re off for a hike or a long day in the outdoors and you’ll never run out of juice on your S3 again.

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The camera, flash and speaker are all usuable through cutouts in the Surfr case. / © Enerplex

How does it work?

The Enerplex Surfr battery case has a built in Ascent Solar CIG solar panel built in to the back of the case that will steadily build charge whenever it is exposed to sunlight. It also incorporates flow-through technology, so if your S3 is connected it will charge your phone first before it starts to store power in the case itself. Of course, it is also a hard shell case to provide added protection for your phone. The case can store charge on its own and be used to quickly charge the S3 like a portable power pack, or it can simultaneously power the phone and continue to draw power from sunlight when the phone is docked in the case.

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The Enerplex Surfr battery case has a built-in charge indicator. / © Enerplex

Why is it so cool?

The Enerplex Surfr will get you almost double the runtime of your Galaxy S3 and you won’t need to be anywhere near a power source to power it. This is perfect for camping, cycling, hiking or beach trips, or just about any time you know you’ll be away from an outlet but in the sunshine. It can get you up to 90 hours of standby, five hours of browsing, 15 hours of audio playback and 10 hours of video. The best thing about it is once that’s depleted you can simply charge it again! It may not be the sexiest case around, and at 215 grams it’s not exactly light either, but as far as functional accessories go, a solar powered battery case is unbeatable!

You can order the Enerplex Surfr for 34.99 USD (currently 50% off) on the Enerplex website.

Have you used solar panels to power your smartphone before? What other battery cases can you recommend?