While companies like Intel might be hammering away at improving the efficiency of components while maintaining performance, we're not quite at a stage yet where mobile electronics like laptops are able to sustain their operating life between charges much over 10 hours, if that. However, that doesn't matter so much if you can charge it wherever you are, freely, thanks to the power of the sun.
Enter Sol, the Ubuntu powered, economical and somewhat powerful laptop, that comes packing giant solar panels, letting you charge up while using it, at no cost to you whatsoever and with no reliance on a power socket. Of course, you'll need a bit of direct sunlight to be getting on with – so this isn't the ideal basement computer solution – but it's perfect for taking places where you'll be far from power.
You'll need some space, but there's a lot of it on top of a mountain
Internally, those solar rays will be powering an Intel Atom D2500 running at 1.86GHz, an onboard Intel GMA3600 (this isn't going to play any GPU hungry modern games, but older ones should be doable at low resolutions), a 320GB Seagate HDD and 2-4GB of DDR3 memory. Externally, the Sol features a 13.3″ LCD screen running at 1366 x 768, a 3MP camera, built in speakers are microphone running off of the Realtek ALC661 HD audio chip, three USB 2.0 slots and a card reader.
It also supports 3G and 5G connections, can hook up to to b/g/n wireless signals, identify its location using GPS or hook up to other devices over bluetooth.
There's even five different colours to choose from:
On top of its affordable $350 (£220) asking price, the Sol comes with the Ubuntu Linux distro loaded as standard, so you don't even need to pay for an operating system. While this might not be ideal for everyone, it keeps costs down and functionality high.
There is a more expensive version, which depending on where you are could be between $50 and $100 more. It's known as the Sol Marine and along with the solar panels and all other standard features, it adds water proofing, making it submersible. Both models however aren't available yet, being listed on the official site as “coming soon.” We're assured however, that they will be buyable by the end of the year.
KitGuru Says: An impressive piece of kit. The solar panels look fairly large when folded out, but this isn't the kind of notebook you'll be whipping out in the office. This is for sending emails while on top of a mountain.