I can't tell you how many times I had my cell phone die at the most inconvenient time without any way to charge it. I'm sure everyone with a cell phone has experienced this problem at sometime or another.
I recently had to opportunity to test out the Pocket Socket, a hand cranked power generator. I wanted to find a hand cranking/small power source that would charge an iPhone in an emergency. While searching the web, the Pocket Socket was the only model I could find with that capability. The Pocket Socket can do this because it has a 10 watt outlet capable of charging anything that uses a standard socket. Not only can it charge an iPhone--its capable of charging any electric device that uses a household plug.
The Pocket Socket was developed by a gentleman named Ken Torino. Ken said "I used to do a lot of hiking, Appalachian and Long trail as well as lots of business travel and got stuck with a dead battery a number of times which is how I got the idea". Ken went further to say "In more recent times I would take hiking a flashlight, cell and GPS. Didn’t want to use them in case the battery went dead and I needed them in an emergency. Also a cell will go dead very quickly if it has to reach for a tower. With my hand crank generator these are not a worry as you can recharge most anything anywhere anytime".
I practiced initially with a lamp to see just how fast one would have to crank to supply power. You will need to crank fairly steady with quite a bit of speed. If you do purchase a Pocket Socket--I do recommend practicing this so that you know what rate of speed that you need to maintain. I did notice the resistance changes on some rotations; some periods being harder to crank than others. I didn't really mind, however I could see a less athletic individual having a hard time keep a constant pace over an extended period of time.
I tested the Pocket Socket for a day, while keeping my iPhone border line dying (simulating an emergency). What I noticed is by charging my phone in short burst (3-5 mins) throughout the day would keep my phone charged enough to use it for brief periods. Text book technique is making 2 rotations per second--I tried to crank much faster than that. Which I believed helped charging my phone quicker.
I've read that the Pocket Socket can be used in conjunction with a rechargeable battery pack for even more applications. I will say it does take quite a bit of work to charge Apple devices. Other devices like regular cell phones or what not are much easier to charge. I would like to emphasize that this is an emergency power supply. I will say that if you spend extended amounts of time talking on the phone--you will do a lot of cranking.
I think this is a great piece of gear to keep in your vehicle, Get-Home Bag/Bug Out Bag, camping, or while traveling (especially in remote locals). Those are just a few applications and not the whole spectrum of usage.
Coming in at $59.95 I feel its well worth the money for such a serious piece of insurance. K-Tor also offers a pedal operated model (I'll try to test it out in the near future and give you guys an update). I've included the Demo video below for you guys that are interested.
Check the Pocket Socket out at http://www.k-tor.com/