Today, we use smartphones and tablet computers wherever we go. However, batteries life tends to be a constant issue. That’s why carrying a spare USB charger in your daypack or purse makes a lot of sense. In most cases, you just need a bit of power to make a call or access the internet.
USB chargers all contain a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and a USB socket that outputs 5 volts. The difference is the power capacity of the batteries inside the chargers, and this capacity is measured in milliAmp hours (mAh).
PowerGen External Battery Pack (5200 mAh)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars from 114+ reviews on Amazon
If you just want to charge a smartphone or a USB device with modest power requirements, the PowerGen Duo-Power USB Battery Pack is solid and inexpensive option. The charger has a capacity of 5200 mAh — enough to fully recharge a iPhone 4 twice. It can also partially charge an iPad (to about 30% to %50 percent of capacity depending on the iPad model).
The Powergen Battery Pack takes about 1.5 hours to fully charge a smartphone, and the Battery Pack itself takes about 5-6 hours to be recharged (when plugged into a wall socket). It also features a flashlight that runs for 250 hours.
The New Trent iTorch charger is very similar to the PowerGen charger, but the PowerGen is made of better quality materials, looks nicer, and is only half as thick as the New Trent charger. However, the New Trent charger does have a very convenient retractable USB cord.
New Trent iGeek IMP99D (9900mAh)
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars from 285+ reviews on Amazon
The New Trent iGeek IMP99D charger stores 9900 mAh, which is almost twice the battery capacity of the PowerGen charger featured above. This means it can fully charge an iPad 2, or charge an iPad 3 to 60% of full charge.
This charger is won’t fit in your pocket — it’s about the size of two cellphones placed side-by-side. It features two USB charging ports.
The New Trent iGeek IMP99D charger is available for about $65.
New Trent IMP500 ($40)
- Long battery life
- Small package
Top Review Sources:
- Amazon: 4.8/5.0 (400+ reviews)
- DadDoes: 4.0/5.0 “The thing just works as advertised”
- TimeSavingGadgets.com: “The footprint…is small enough to fit in a jacket pocket, pants pocket, purse, or laptop bag”
The New Trent IMP500 is a 5000 mAh external battery for the iPhone 4. The IMP500 is also compatible with the iPod Touch and Classic as well as the majority of modern smartphones. It will charge a Kindle, Nintendo DS, or Sony PSP with separate, non-included adapters. The manufacturer claims the IMP500 will increase the iPhone 4’s battery life by 300% — 25 total hours instead of the iPhone’s usual 6. Reviewers generally confirm this claim; there are very few complaints of battery underperformance. Some reviewers point to the smallness of the included mini- and micro-USB adapters and express concern over their tendency to disappear, but this is not a widespread criticism. The IMP500 features a charge indicator and retractable USB cable with AC wall charger. The IMP500 weighs six ounces and has dimensions of 4” H x 3” W x 0.75” D.
Mophie Juice Pack Air ($75-80)
Top Review Sources:
- PC Magazine: 4.0/5.0 “Its excellent performance and relatively reasonable price make it our Editors’ Choice for iPhone 4 battery cases”
- Amazon: 3.8/5.0 (237+ reviews)
- Engadget: “The Mophie was clearly loved and cuddled as it progressed from art to part”
The 1500 mAh Mophie Juice Pack Air will nearly double the battery life of your iPhone 4. The Juice Pack Air is a form-fitting protective case/external battery combo. You charge it via the included USB cord — the Juice Pack Air doesn’t need to be removed to be recharged. A four-LED indicator on the bottom gives you a report on remaining power. The Juice Pack Air comes in two pieces — you slide your iPhone into the case, then slide on the top edge of the case to lock it all together. The Juice Pack Air provides power to your iPhone only when you flip its side switch. Cutouts for volume, headphones, camera, etc. are well-aligned when the Juice Pack Air is in place. Despite its sleek profile, the Juice Pack Air will noticeably swell your iPhone 4. With the Juice Pack Air installed, the dimensions are 5.07” H x 2.51” W x 0.68” D—without it, the iPhone 4 measures 4.5” H x 2.31” W x 0.37” D. The Juice Pack Air increases total weight from 4.8 to 7.3 ounces.
PhoneSuit Primo Power Core ($100)
- Works with a variety of devices
- Fast charging capability
- Only three battery meter lights
Top Review Sources:
- Macenstein: 9/10 “It [charges] FAST”
- Gear Diary: “Compact size and solidly built”
- iLounge: B “It’s worthy of our general recommendation”
PhoneSuit’s Primo Power Core is an 8200 mAh portable battery charger capable of charging an iPhone four or five times; it can fully charge an iPad once. The speed at which the Primo Power Core charges devices is a big selling point; its 2.1-amp maximum output capacity is higher than most devices of this type and is capable of recharging gadgets noticeably faster. The Primo Power Core has a single USB charging port. Use the included USB cable and eight charging tips to connect your iPhone or other mobile device. The Primo Power Core also includes a 12v output port, useful for electronics like netbooks. Inside the box you’ll find a carrying case and AC adapter. The Primo Power Core’s LED charge meter is nice, though it only has three levels of indication. Given its capacity, you may wish for greater precision. It measures 5” H x 2.75” W x 0.75” D and weighs just over eight ounces.
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