External battery packs are one of the least sexy aspects of the mobile age. They’re the equivalent of the plastic gas can in the back of your trunk: stinky, unsexy, and probably empty when you need it.
Helix by Lenmar Category: Battery pack Works With: iPad, iPhone, iPod touch Price: $100
Lenmar’s Helix battery pack isn’t particularly sexy, but it doesn’t smell (despite the “Undead Power” branding, which implies putrifying flesh) and it’s unlikely to be empty when you need it: it has a massive 11,000mAh battery inside, capable in theory of charging a third- or fourth-gen iPad from 0% to full. All in a battery pack not much bigger than a deck of playing cards.
Travelers, campers, heavy users, and those who spend a lot of time away from outlets know when you rely on your iPhone for work or play, it’s not making it through the day without at least one partial recharge. Especially with all the hip Vining and Instagramming we’re all do these days.
iCarrier Portable Dual USB Charger by New Trent Category: iOS Accessories Works With: iPhones, iPods, iPads, USB Devices Price: $68
For those who need a lot of portable power to-go, New Trent’s iCarrier, as the highest capacity portable charger they make, promises not just one smartphone recharge, but up to six. Six!
I devoted my iPhone 5 to iCarrier-only charging to see how well the big boy performed.
I have a couple different battery packs (I’m giving an extra to a friend), but they charge the “old fashioned way” through a USB cable to the wall (or computer, but you know). A solar charger certainly has a lot of appeal. You can just leave it charging cells up and keep it topped up all day. Very cool.
This is the next-gen iPhone’s new battery: a 3.8V 1440mAH lithium-ion pack with a watts-per-hour measurement of 5.45 wHR. Compared to the iPhone 4S’s 1430mAH battery — which runs at 3.7V and has a watts-per-hour measurement of 5.3 — this battery has at least 10% more capacity, making it perfectly possible (and very, very likely) that the iPhone 5 will finally get LTE. It’s also thinner, seemingly confirming that the next iPhone will be the thinnest one yet.
My first decision is easy when heading out on an outdoor adventure: Take the iPhone with me? Oh, you betcha. The next one is much more difficult. Since the iPhone requires a boost in both protection and juice when playing Indiana Jones, I’m forced to choose between slipping on a battery case and worrying about my iPhone shattering on a rock, or (painstakingly) wrapping it in a rubber case and hoping it doesn’t run out of power.
But Mophie’s new $130 iPhone 4/S battery pack — sort of a cross between a tank and a tanker — says “COMPROMISE IS FOR THE WEAK.” And also, the poor.
The iPhone gets great battery life, but we no longer live in the era of simple cell phones with week long battery life. That smartphone in your pocket isn’t just a way to make calls, but a real humming along inside your pocket, checking email, playing music, keeping an eye on your location, accepting text messages, sucking up push notifications, running Skype and a million other uses beside. That all takes up precious charge, and the more you pull that iPhone out of your pocket, the more quickly you use your battery up.
Given the realities of smartphone power management, battery cases like the Mophie Juice Pack are a necessary evil. Sure, they double and sometimes triple your battery life, but they also double and sometimes triple the size of your iPhone in your pocket. Worse, they are all-or-nothing affairs: if you want to use one, you need to take your existing case off your phone and put the juice pack on instead.
Boostcase’s new Hybrid Case does away with all that. It’s really two cases in one: a lightweight plastic protective case that can snap onto a beefy battery upgrade pack as needed that can juice your iPhone back up. And it’s a pretty great choice for anyone who doesn’t want to juggle cases on the go.