Don't leave home without the SideWinder cell phone charger.
You're chatting away on your cell phone when it emits an urgent beep indicating you're just words away from a dead battery. You are in dire need of some extra juice but there's not an electrical outlet in sight.
Enter the SideWinder, a 2.5-ounce portable power source that resuscitates fading batteries with a hand crank, no outlet or extra batteries required.
To boost a dwindling or dead battery, plug the SideWinder's cable into your phone's charge port and crank the foldout lever. Two minutes of charging equals six minutes of talk time—enough to make or take an important call. The device also includes a built-in LED flashlight—30 seconds of manual labor yields five minutes of light.
To put the pocket-size generator to the test, I attached the SideWinder to my Nokia cell phone after completely draining its battery. I turned the lever (designed to crank in either direction for both right- and left-handed users) at moderate speed for two minutes and then made a call. The conversation lasted a few seconds shy of the advertised six minutes; however, I could have cranked the lever while using the phone and talked until my hand fell off.
The SideWinder is small enough to keep tucked away in your purse, briefcase, or glove compartment and works with most popular cell phone models. It's available online at www.tkny.com and costs $24.50.
Photography by Caren Alpert
This article was first published in September 2003. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.