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Sidewinder Cell Phone Charger

by Jim Bray

Have you ever been jawing away on your cell phone, only to hear the plaintive beeps in your ear that tell you you’d better shut up quickly before your battery gives up the ghost?

Have these reminders ever left you wishing you had a spare battery?

The only problem with that is that spare batteries can cost so much that you might almost as well get a second phone, depending on what phone you have, of course.

I did a quick surf of Nokia’s site, and there wasn’t a replacement battery there that isn’t worth more than my entire phone - though my entire phone is admittedly out of date and technologically obsolete by today's standards - and I have oodles of spare batteries that somehow fell from the sky. But it does the job I want and I can read its display without my reading glasses...

On the other hand, if power is a problem for you, perhaps you should be thinking about a Sidewinder charger.

The Sidewinder bills itself as the world’s smallest, lightest, and most powerful portable cell phone charger. It weighs something like two and a half ounces, fits easily into a pocket or a car storage bin and - best of all - it requires no electrical power to use.

Yep, you don't need any sort of plug in to make the Sidewinder work.

This means the gadget will work even in the boonies, when you’re miles away from any kind of battery charger. Assuming, of course, that you’ve remembered to bring the Sidewinder with you.

How does it generate electricity? You just crank its little handle - which makes the thing particularly attractive for people who like to make crank phone calls!

The company claims that 2 minutes of cranking gives you over six minutes of talk time, and even more standby time. And if you keep cranking as you talk you can talk as long as you want - as long as you don’t mind sounding a tad winded to the person at the other end of the call, I imagine.

Now, since I don’t need such a gadget, I gave it to my son to try. And he says the Sidewinder does work as advertised. Its downside is that you have to crank and crank and crank, which could end up giving you more physical exertion that you want if you're a confirmed couch potato.

My son says that since the Sidewinder requires so much work it’s really best suited for emergency use only. But that’s okay - in fact, that’s exactly what the Sidewinder is billed as being for: emergency power to prevent you from losing that all-important call. And for $24.95, that’s pretty cheap insurance.

The SideWinder also contains a high-bright white LED light, kind of a mini flashlight, which the company says gives light for up to 5 minutes after you stop cranking.

The Sidewinder fits phones by Nokia, Audiovox, Kyocera, Motorola, Sony/Ericsson, and Samsung. For a complete list, check out the company's Web site here.


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January 31, 2006