The Switch 8 is essentially a large battery inside a rugged tube that comes with a USB port in one end and a USB plug in the other. While Goal Zero touts the Switch 8's ability to fully recharge a smartphone in less than three hours, it can actually be used to recharge anything that accepts power via USB. That means cameras, iPods, GPS devices, headlamps and more. The kit comes with GZ's Nomad 3.5 solar panels, which are highly efficient and can manage to fill the battery in 5-10 hours depending on the amount of direct sunlight available.
On the Switch 8 website, Goal Zero says that the battery is capable of recharging an mp3 player or standard cell phone three times before it is depleted. It will also charge a smartphone once and add 50% more life to a typical e-reader such as the Kindle. Power hungry tablets can even get a 20% boost from the Switch 8, which comes in handy when you need to power your iPad for just a little longer.
The Switch 8 kit, including solar cells, is small and compact, and weighs just .2 pounds (.09kg). That makes it a great option for travel or trips into the backcountry where you won't need a lot of juice, but the need for a recharge will still be useful.
The Goal Zero Switch 8 is available now at REI.com for just $69.99.