I once saw a meme on Facebook that perfectly illustrated how our smartphones are truly incredible pieces of technology. On one side of the picture sat a television, video camera, old-style dial telephone, Atari video game console, Polaroid camera, old-style tape recorder, and a few other pieces of equipment I remember from my childhood. On the other side of a line in the photo sat a solitary iPhone. The caption said something about how today; all of those big, expensive devices were now replaced by the one single piece of technology. And it’s true. My phone does everything all those things could do. In fact, I once read that our little smartphones are something like 100 times more powerful than the computer that was inside the lander that put men on the moon! Wow, does that mean all I need is my iPhone and about 1,000,000 gallons of rocket fuel and I can go to the stars? Cool.

But, for all the marvelous things smartphones can do, they certainly can suck up a lot of juice, can’t they? And it seems as each subsequent generation and new iteration of smartphone comes out, they seem to use more and more battery power, and even quicker. I seem to remember my first gen iPhone didn’t need to be charged more than every three or four days, and that was with heavy use. Today, my newest generation smartphone doesn’t even last a full day when I’m not even using it. Forget about when I’m playing games or watching Netflix. Unfortunately, doing anything fun drains my battery faster than a hungry vampire at an all-you-can-drink blood bank. Or some laboured metaphor like that. I can’t think right now, I’m trying to get to the next level of this game. But after I do that, I’ll let you in on some of the benefits of portable chargers and power packs for smartphones. Damn, it got away.

What are Power Banks and Portable Chargers?

Available in a variety of forms and sizes, power banks and portable chargers are basically glorified batteries that you can use to recharge a smartphone or other device, in absence of a wall plug. Depending on the charger or bank, product make, price, etc – it’ll either top up your phone a bit in need or keep it running long after everyone else’s has given up the ghost. And these power banks aren’t picky, either; they’ll easily charge anything that uses a USB port.

 

Why Do I Need One?

portable chargerOkay, admit it. You play Pokémon Go. And you know how frustrating it is to be on the hunt for something cool, while stressing about that last five percent of battery life left in your smartphone. And you know Pokémon Go is just the beginning, right? As soon as other developers saw how wildly popular an augmented reality game can be; you can bet everyone was scrambling to get another “big hit” out the door, as well. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumours of a Harry Potter-themed AR game in the works, where you hunt for imaginary beasts in the real world. If you thought Pokémon fans were insane, just wait until the muggles of this world are able to tap into Harry Potter wizard magic with their smartphones! That will be a sight to behold. But again, your phone had better have the juice to be able to play these new games for extended periods of time.

But it’s not just games, either. Mobiles are increasingly becoming the entertainment vehicle of choice, whether it’s chasing Pokémon through the streets, listening to the latest hits, surfing the ‘net, or sitting on your commute chilling to a downloaded movie. And considering airlines have recently phased out their in-flight entertainment options in favour of Wi-Fi in the sky, you can bet having a little extra power on that long plane ride will come in handy.

What’s Available?

portable chargersMy first power bank was something my wife bought for me, to power my portable gaming machine and iPhone entertainment on long airplane rides, commutes to work, and camping. It looked like Spiderman’s wrist web cartridges and consisted of about 12 lithium ion phone batteries strung together as a bracelet. The idea was to let you still use your gadget while plugging into this stylish (not) wristband that I’m sure wasn’t causing me wrist cancer at all. Anyway, today’s power banks and portable chargers still come in all shapes and sizes. But portability is always the word here. These things are light, easy to throw in a glove box or backpack pouch, and they really do come in handy.

portable chargersA really cool charger on the market these days is the iKits Power Bank 19200mAh Portable Charger. It features dual USB outputs so you can charge multiple devices at once, and it can recharge everything from tablets to phones to digital cameras. It’s the kind of thing everyone needs for camping, or when you know you’ll not be around an outlet for hours, but will need a recharge in-between.

Similarly, the TP-LINK 10400mAh Portable Charger lets you charge two devices at the same time, plus it features a handy flashlight. The sleek PNY Power Pack AD 7,800 mAh Dual USB Power Bank is ideal for putting in your backpack for Pokémon hunts or keeping your playlist pumping at the beach party. It promises up to five smartphone charges on a single one of its own charges, and lets you charge two devices, too. I’m also partial to the Digipower 10,000mAh Power Bank because I love my GoPro camera, and this portable charger can fully recharge it three times at full power. That makes it essential for hiking, surfing, or any adventures, plus it is pretty affordable.

What do you think of the benefits of portable chargers and power packs for smartphones? Do you use or own one yet? Do you think you need one? Let me know in the comments section below.

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