When I bought my first smartphone almost six years ago, I quickly realized that I would need the ability to recharge the battery without being tethered to an outlet. This has become increasingly important when I visit the theme parks, especially with all the photos and video I shoot and my frequent posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So, over the years, I have purchased various external battery packs and talked with others about their preferences. Perhaps my experiences will help you if you are in the market for a way to recharge your phone or tablet on the go.
My quest to find the perfect external battery began back when I had an iPhone 3GS and my children had iPods. The battery I purchased was very small (it fit in my palm) and plugged directly into our devices – no cords needed. It could be recharged with a shell that plugged directly into the wall. The downside was that it only provided about a 30 percent charge, which, in my mind, was good enough for emergencies, but not for regular visits to the theme parks. I don’t think this type of battery is sold any longer.
Next, I graduated to a Mophie Juice Pack. These juice packs not only offer recharging power, but they also serve as cases for smart phones.
Pros: The cases are slim enough that you can still slip your phone in your pocket, and you don’t need to carry around a separate battery pack. You can charge your phone and the juice pack simultaneously.
Cons: The juice pack was not durable enough for me because I tend to toss my phone in my very purse, and I have been known to also drop it occasionally. My Mophie Juice Pack eventually did break. (In fairness, the designs have improved over the years, so this might not be the case any longer.) Also, the various Mophie Juice Packs give you a boost of about one full recharge (80 to 120 percent). That may be plenty for some people, but I actually need to recharge more often because I spend a lot of time tweeting and posting while I’m in theme parks.
Price: $80 – $120, depending on capacity
I have tried several of New Trent’s external batteries, and they are a better fit for my needs and those of my family. This heavy-duty battery is compatible with most smart phones and 5V tablets.
Pros: PowerPaks have two or three USB outlets so you can charge multiple devices at the same time. Each battery provides up to six full charges before the battery itself must be recharged. I’m able to charge to my phone multiple times, plus those of my family members, while we are in the theme parks.
Cons: The external battery is heavy and will add weight to your backpack or bag. It’s also too bulky to slip in your pocket.
List price: $100 for this model, though prices range on other similar models
Do you have a favorite external battery for your smart phone or tablet? Please tell us about it in the comments.
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