portablebattery

If you don’t already have a portable backup battery for your Samsung Galaxy, iPhone or whatever flavor of smart phone is sitting on your desk at the moment, then now might be a good time to pull out an unused gift card. There are plenty of pocket or purse sized units that are designed to give a phone about half of a charge to make a few emergency calls if you are stuck somewhere on the side of the road. These are not a bad idea, but also consider stepping up the food chain a bit for something that can get you through a multi-day power outage or trip into the woods.

There are a few “secrets” to picking out one of these portable battery packs. First, be aware that there really isn’t any magic inside the plastic case. What you are buying is mainly just a small box of batteries that are all hooked to a little circuit board with some USB plugs and a chip that regulates charging. So, first off, look for batteries made by a company that you have heard of before. The better manufacturers will tell you if they are using batteries made by a company like Samsung or Panasonic. If they don’t mention otherwise, assume that the batteries are the cheapest ones that they could find out of China.

Also, the key number to keep an eye out for is the amount of mAh, which basically just the volume of electricity stored in the batteries. Some ads will tell you how many full charges you should be able to get on the average smart phone. It is pretty safe to assume that the “average” phone is not the same one that you have. But, if your phone has a battery that holds 2000mAh worth of electricity and you find a portable battery that only holds 1000mAh, then you can assume that you’ll be getting roughly half a recharge out of it. Since electronics are never 100% efficient, you always loose a little electricity when you push it back and forth between devices, like when I let my young son pour his own drink….and most, but not all of it makes it into his cup.

What you should be for is something along the lines of the ZILU Smart Power 13000mAh Portable Battery Pack which can sometimes be found on sale at Amazon for around thirty bucks. First off, this unit comes in at 13,000mAh. This beats the pants off of the purse and pocket sized units and puts you well into the range of the more serious models. Also, as mentioned before, it uses name brand batteries and efficient electronics on the circuit board, which are the hallmarks of the better quality units. More than once I’ve been glad to have the portable backup batteries that I’ve gotten for my family. They really are inexpensive insurance for all of your modern electronics that can charge off of a USB port.

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