The BaseCamp is the family-size version of BioLite’s iPhone-charging camping stove. Like its little brother, the BaseCamp burns any fuel you find (wood is good) and uses the heat to power a USB charger and drive a fan. The fan pumps air into the fire and makes it burn hotter and faster. The BaseCamp version adds a grill on top for those off-the-grid BBQs. $300
Picard’s German-made Latthammer (or carpenter’s roofing hammer) is 600 grams of hot, hot nail-starting action. Slot a nail into the groove up top, whereupon it will be held in place by a magnet. Whack it against your target chunk of wood and the nail is started without ever putting your fleshy fingers in harm’s way. It even comes with a beautiful leather grip. €70
The dorkitudinal Lifelogger is an alway-on POV camera that looks like a Bluetooth headset, the large camera unit counterbalanced by a headband that wraps around from ear to ear. The eye-level mount means you always record what you’re looking at, but it also makes you look like you work in a call center. Available December. $249
TYLT's Energi Travel Charger 2K is a regular USB wall charger, only it packs a built-in 2,200mAh battery and comes in at the same price as most regular (battery-free) chargers. The fold-out prongs let it sleep safely in your bag until needed, and the colored LED indicators tells you how much is left in the tank. I wonder why all chargers aren't this clever. $30
Supermechanical’s Range thermometer looks as good as the beautiful (universal) app it works with. It’s a food-probe thermometer that comes in two models – one long and rounded, for sticking into cooking pots, and one short and sharp, for jabbing into meat. Both plug into your iPhone’s headphone socket, letting you set temperature alerts, check graphs and look up USDA temperature recommendations. $70
Satechi’s LightMate is what would happen if Jedis carried iPhones. The lightsaber-shaped emergency LED light can work as a lamp or, if you remove the “saber,” as a flashlight. It’s waterproof, is designed to smash car windows (for escape, not for burglary) and the (swappable) lithium-ion battery can be used to juice your iPhone via its USB port. $30
Imagine a sardine can made into a camera. Well done – you just imagined La Sardina, a plastic camera based on the classic sardine tin. Lomography's wide-angle shooter is so DIY it comes with a screwdriver to help customize it. The lo-fi Lomo film camera now comes in pretty versions with decorative skins, like this Bird of Paradise “dress.” Get ready for summer. $109
Photojojo’s Power Purse is a place to protect your phone and also provide portable power. It works like a regular clutch purse, only it has a secret 2,600mAh battery inside to recharge your iPhone on the go. We all have a friend who leaves the house with their iPhone at like 15 percent every frickin’ day. If that friend is into pink or polka dots, you should buy him/her this as a gift, if only for your own peace of mind. $49
This Tower of power extends outlets from the floor and puts them up by your desktop. It packs two 2.1A USB ports plus four regular power outlets with circuit breakers, and the base is weighted to stop it from tipping over. There’s even a little plastic mesh pocket to keep your iPad safe while it charges. $99
Cooking, charging, camera-ing and generally staying out-of-doors are the themes this week. But if you are stuck inside out of the sun, don’t worry – we have you covered too.
This week we get cooking with a gadget-charging camping stove and a slick, iPhone-friendly food thermometer. We also do DIY projects (without tenderizing our thumbs) with the German Latthammer, charge our flagging phones with a purse that packs a built-in battery, and record everything using the super-dorky Lifelogger camera. Is the sun shining? Yes it is!
The portable battery from Halo is perfect for those times when I want to go stealth, keeping my iPhone 5 as free of those bulky, heavy battery cases as possible.
Between running levels of Hodappy Bird and checking Twitter for any vanity retweets, slapping photos of my meals up on Instagram and surreptitiously reading Facebook posts from ex-girlfriends, I am a battery killer.
With the Halo charger available, I found myself grabbing it and a lightning cable on my way out the door all the time, whether heading to the coffee shop or just for a quick bike ride along the Coastal Trail in Anchorage. It’s a perfect way to ensure I have the power I need on demand without strapping my iPhone into some fat case like the Mophie.
Back in the day, I used to care for a couple of labs full of Macs. Invariably, at the end of the day, I’d find myself in the lab, shutting them all down for the night. I’d run up and down the rows of eMacs or whatever they were at the time, and hit the power button, then click on the Shut Down button. Or, if I was feeling frisky, I’d just hold down the power button until they shut off.
This took some time, needless to say. I wish I’d known of these useful keyboard commands to shut down or sleep the Macs, saving myself several minutes each day.
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).
Imagine that your devices could send you a push notification asking if they could switch themselves off. That you could switch appliances on and off remotely to stop them drawing power in standby mode. That would be neat, right? Well, that’s exactly what the energy-saving Parce plug will do.
As ever with many of Quirky’s excellent crowd-sourced designs, the Prop Power Pro inspires me to make my own. I’m pretty sure a regular extension cable plus a bendy wire coat-hanger plus a length of flexible tubing would do the trick. The thing is, by the time I’d bought all the parts (plus a roll of gaffer tape), I’d be in the hole for way more than the $25 Quirky want for its version.
PRONGGGG! That’s the name of the company that makes the clevertastic PocketPlug, an iPhone case that comes with a built-in charger so you can just flip out its prongs and stick them into the nearest available wall socket.
The FlameStower looks like a clever way to keep your iPhone charged while you’re camping in the wilderness. Just fill its reservoir with water, stick the other end into the flames of your campfire and plug your chosen gadget into the USB port. Relax with the charred meat and beverage of your choice, and—just three hours later—your iPhone will be fully charged.
Why does Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild” buzz through my head when I look at the Griffin PowerDock 5? Because the five-port docking station reminds me of one of those old roadside gas stations out on the desert highway.
OS X Mavericks has some crazy new power-saving technologies, as demoed yesterday at the WWDC Keynote. Most of these are system-based: the OS stops wasting CPU cycles running animations that are hidden behind another window, for example. But some, like this neat addition to the battery menu, are about advising the user what’s sucking the juice.