Review: This Solar-Powered Flashlight Can Also Charge Your iPhone

Sure, your iPhone has a flashlight, but it's not always the right tool for the job. The E.LUMEN ($24.99) from Renogy is the right tool for many jobs. It has a very strong flashlight that has three modes: full, partial, and strobe. It has a 2,000mAh battery that can be recharged via the solar panels on the side and charge just about any USB device (only a microUSB cable is provided, which is the other way the flashlight can be charged.)

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The E.LUMEN even has a compass built in to the screw-on bottom cap. Again, your phone has one, but this one doesn't use any of your valuable iPhone power. Speaking of power, the solar panels on the side of the flashlight double as side lights that can be used in a variety of ways, including using the magnet on the side of the flashlight to attach the flashlight to the interior of a car hood in order to check the engine in the case of a break down. Additional features include a wrist strap, seatbelt cutter, and glass breaker.

Personally, I plan to use the E.LUMEN in my car. I have a friend who once had to bash in a car window to rescue a driver having a seizure. He did a good deed, but broke his golf club!

Pros

  • 2,000mAh battery
  • Heavy-duty flashlight, with additional side lights
  • Recharges via solar panels
  • Integrated magnet and compass
  • Seat belt cutter and car glass hammer

Cons

  • No battery life indicator

Final Verdict

With its flashlight capabilities, charging, and safety features, the E.LUMEN from Renogy should be in every car. 

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.