Today’s smartphones and tablets offer so many features that people use them every hour of the waking day, plus some use them as alarm clocks throughout the night. Most electronics don’t have what it takes to keep themselves powered up for 24 hours – so what do you do if you aren’t near a power outlet? A portable battery pack is the simplest solution.
Here’s a selection of USB battery packs (and more) to keep the power on – from simple to exotic. All these external battery packs will power your iPhone, iPod or smartphone. The larger ones will also recharge your iPad, Nexus 7 or other tablet. Some will even do both at once.
Satechi 10,000 mAh Battery Pack
This device sports two USB outputs, 5V, 1A & 2A. It can charge up to 2 devices simultaneously. It’s a great feeling to get on a transcontinental flight and know that your battery will still be full when you arrive at your destination. Read the whole review.
Mophie makes a raft of battery extender devices, but here is one of my favorites – the Power Station. The model shown here can power the iPhone, iPad or just about any device that utilizes USB charging. Read the whole review.
Mophie Juice Pack Case
Slip this sleek case on your iPhone 4 or 5 and you’ll double the length of your working day. An on/off switch lets you charge your phone as soon as you slip it on or save it until later. Also lets you charge your phone using a micro USB cable instead of the Apple Lightning or 30 pin cable. Read the review.
Largest in size, My Charge Peak 6000 is a multi-functional white and green appliance that’s super easy to use. Built-in voice commands actually alert you to its status, like “Charging completed!”
The Peak 6000 has fold out cables for attaching either Apple devices or micro-USB devices. An onboard USB port provides the third way to charge anything that has its own USB cable. In fact, three devices can be charging at the same time. If high powered Apple devices are plugged in, they get priority in the charging cycle. Syncing can be done while the devices charge as long as you’re using the Apple connector. Read the whole review.
Smallest by far, Cellink comes in two models: I and U. Cellink I works with iPhones and iPods. Cellink U works with smartphones and other micro USB devices. This is really a four-function device: stores a charge, SD micro card reader, transfer cable, data cable. Read the whole review.
Maybe the most stylish of the bunch, the Neptor is a 5,600 mAh battery pack that doubles as a flash light. With dual power USB ports, you can charge your cellphone multiple times or charge a smartphone and tablet simultaneously.
Eton BoostTurbine 2000
Just turn the crank and generate your own power. In addition, the Eton BoostTurbine 2000 will store 2,000 mAh of useable power that can be used anytime to completely recharge most all cellphones. Just plug it into your computer or another USB charger, and in a few hours, you’ve got a full recharge. Read the full review.
When you’re out in the backcountry for weeks, no portable power device will store enough power for real power users. You need to think solar power and Goal Zero has more solutions than anyone.
Not a battery pack, but rather a portable stove that doubles as a power generator. That’s right, not only can you make coffee, but while the water’s boiling, this thing is generating USB power that will recharge your cell phone. Read the whole story.
Powerbag Business Class Pack
If you wouldn’t leave home without a trusty backpack, the Powerbag carries more than just your books. With a 3,000, 6,000 or 9,000 mAh battery included, it’ll charge your devices whenever you need a power boost. Read the whole review.
Timbuk2 Messenger Bag
Not only a great messenger bag, but this bag features a built in Joey T1 power supply. Connect the internal cables as you drop in your tablet and it can be charging while you commute.
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Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about interesting new travel technology topics, across the country and around the world at DougBardwell.com. Feel free to drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions for future products to be reviewed. If you've ever used one of the products he's reviewed, please leave your thoughts in the comment box below. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here.