At an RRP of $200, the Solarpad isn’t the cheapest solar charger for your iPhone, but it does aim to be the best. Every detail has been tweaked to squeeze the last drop of juice from the Sun’s photons, from the battery itself (the same kind as Tesla uses in its cars apparently), through the efficient charge controller (form Maxim) to the cables themselves (fatter, to let the current flow more easily, says the blurb).
What’s more, you can pitch in early on Kickstarter and get a full setup for just $158 (right now anyway – the campaign only just launched).
If I was trying to sell you this backup battery, I probably wouldn’t need to do much more than tell your its name: The Darth Vader Lightsaber Portable Battery Charger. Because really, who wouldn’t want to juice their iPhone with Vader’s laser sword?
I’m a great example of why backup iPhone batteries don’t really work. I have a stack of the things in all shapes and sizes, and yet where are they when I need them? At home in a gray felt cat house (don’t ask). I just never remember to take the things with me.
Photojojo’s new Power Boost Keychain aims to change that, putting a smallish battery pack and charing cable on a keychain. Now you’ll never leave the thing at home. Or if you do, you’ll be locked out, and you won’t be able to call a locksmith.
What if your iPhone charging cable could charge your phone even when it wasn’t plugged into a charger? It’d be pretty neat, right? Well, that’s what Native Union’s Jump does, and it does it all while being the best-looking Lightning cable yet.
It used to be OK to ask a stranger in a bar “do you have a Nokia charger?” and borrow said charger for a while to juice your phone. These days, though, you’ll mark yourself out as a Low-Charge Loser, the kind of person who goes to bed without plugging in his iPhone. Worse, you’re probably carrying more than just a phone. Are you really going to ask a stranger for adapters to charge your iPad and Kindle too?
You are not. What you need is a beefy backup battery. And at this time of year, it should be waterproof, too.
Juicy external battery packs are definitely the way to go for the globetrotting nerd – I have had my bacon saved a few times by the 12,000mAh battery pack I carry with me on trips – they’re not only good for the iPhone, but the iPad min, a Kindle, and even USB bike lights (this is the best unknown use for these chargers).
But you know what would be even better? A ruggedized, waterproof battery pack. And – surprise – that’s exactly what I’m just about to tell you about.
You know how when the iPhone first came out and people were all complaining about how you couldn’t take out the battery? I know, right? The market swiftly moved in to solve the “problem” by supplying battery packs that could be added only when you needed them, and without rebooting the phone to swap them, and in whichever sizes you needed.
Now we have come full circle, as they say, with the Mojo Refuel for iPhone 5. It’s an external battery pack which — get this — has its own removable battery.
Goal Zero’s new Lighthouse 250 Lantern and USB Power Hub is a camper’s best friend. By day, it’s a USB charger with a backup battery, ready for juicing your waning iPhone. By night, it’s a lamp which will run for up to 48 hours.
I have a few things to say about external iPhone batteries, but we’ll get to that in a second. First, here’s the Jackery battery for the iPhone 5, a backup battery distinguished by being slim, having a nice sleek design, and featuring an absurdly pretentious video promo on the product page.
The BoostTurbine 4000 sounds like something out of a surreal Bizarro world where technophiles are simultaneously Luddites.
It’s a battery brick that Eton stuck a hand crank onto; should the 4000 mAh battery ever run dry, a minute of cranking will bring an iPhone flickering back to life with enough juice for a a quick distress call or a few texts.