There’s old school map and compass. And there’s new school GPS, smart phone and MP3 player. For those that fall into the latter camp, there never seems to be enough outlets to keep all the new-school gear charged – especially in the outdoors. To solve that problem, Brunton created the Restore.
The Brunton Restore is a portable battery pack and solar charger that works with just about any device that has a USB plug. It comes cradled in some very well-thought-out packaging made from recycled materials. Out of the box, the Brunton Restore is small – only about 30% larger than a Droid 2 smart phone – relatively light weight at under nine ounces, and extremely rugged and water resistant.
Brunton built the Restore around a 2200 mAh lithium ion battery. The battery can be charged from any number of sources, a wall outlet, a car, a computer and the sun. Included in the package are the automobile cigarette lighter adapter and a mini-to-micro USB adapter. In addition, the product has two approximately 2 x 3.5-inch solar panels.
On either side of the Brunton Restore are the charge indicator button, which links to the four LED lights that indicate charge strength. On the opposite side is a small LED flashlight (which automatically shuts off after a few minutes to preserve battery life).
Once fully charged, the Brunton Restore is capable of juicing just about anything. MP3 players, cell phones, smart phones like the Droid, portable game systems, Bluetooth headsets, portable GPS systems, etc. This assumes that these devices use standard, mini or micro USB or that you have appropriate adapters on hand. Charge times and number of charges vary depending on device. According to Brunton, the Restore can charge a typical MP3 player 2-3 times, a smart phone 1-2 times, and a headset 7-8 times. I found these estimates to be fairly accurate.
One of the pluses and also one of the minuses is the charge time for the Restore itself. I found recharging the Brunton Restore from a wall outlet to be astonishingly fast. On the flip side, I found solar recharging slow. To Brunton’s credit, they spell out the charge times specifically on the packaging and estimate a full charge via solar to take 10 hours.
The Brunton Restore delivers portable power in an extremely small and rugged package. It rapidly charges just about any portable device. And it recharges itself extremely efficiently from a wall outlet (I wish Brunton had included the wall plug in addition to the auto adapter). Overall, I recommend taking a look at the Restore if you rely on portable electronics and need an extended power source. Just be careful in your assumptions about how quickly the device will recharge itself via solar. If you need faster solar recharging than the 10 hours spec’d for the Restore, you might consider pairing it with a separate larger solar panel like those also provided by Brunton or other manufacturers. That will give you a very flexible outdoor power system for almost any length trip.