Powering the latest smartphones, tablets and MacBooks is easy when wall plugs are readily available, but travel for a few hours and then what? This portable battery roundup covers those needing a single smartphone complete recharge to the seasoned travelers who require their MacBook, tablet and a cell phone powered all day.
Most bi-coastal flights have power ports, but only in business class and above. Airports are installing charging stations, however many layovers are about an hour. Completing a full charge in a rental car would be difficult, when hotels are so close to airports. Not to worry, as the portable batteries covered below should fill nearly any backup power need.
HyperJuice 2 For $349.95 100Wh Compatible With A MacBook and Two iPads Simultaneously
The HyperJuice 2 also known as the MBP2-100 has an estimated battery life of 27,000mAh, which approximately equates to an extra 32 hours for the iPad 3 & 4, 47 hours for the iPad 2 and 17 full recharges for the iPhone.
The fully loaded and then some battery pack from Sanho, The HyperJuice 2 is by far THE one that excited me the most. Sanho's 100Wh powerhouse can charge multiple iPads and a MacBook simultaneously, now that's impressive. This battery could continue to provide a charge during a convention or while traveling across country.
At nearly 1 and a half pounds, it's light enough to fit in a backpack or roll about with in a carry-on. All of the ports are on one side, making charging super convenient.
The MacBook Air has a 37Wh battery, while the MacBook Pro with a Retina screen has a 95Wh battery. The MBP2-100 battery could recharge the MacBook Air about three times and a MacBook Pro with Retina about one full charge. With moderate use, a Retina MBP could last over five and a half hours.
An Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter (discontinued) or "Magic Box" is required for use with a MacBook, also available from Hyper.
Lenmar PowerPort Wave Helix For $99.99 11,000mAh Triple USB External Battery
Lenmar is on a roll with external battery packs and they have come up with another portable gadget battery.
The new Helix model contains 11,000mAh of power with three well-labeled USB ports, 2 USB ports output 1 amp and the third USB port supports an output of 2.4 amps, perfect for a tablet with a high amperage need. A single button activates up to four green LEDs that show charge level and it initiates charging.
The rubberized outer coating keeps it from slipping and a single micro USB port is there to charge its battery.
Props Power iPad Case For $89.95 8,000mAh Integrated Battery
A micro USB cable adapter will connect to a Lighting cable for powering a new iPad or any other USB device that's compatible with the battery. The USB port on the case battery is rated at 5.2V with 2 amps.
The case battery extends the iPad 2's by up to 85% and the new iPad up to about 50% during normal use. The new iPad has an internal battery with about 12,700mAh.
Digital Treasures also offers a Props Power Case with a 12,000mAh battery, offering an almost full charge to the new iPad. An integrated microcontroller chip helps to charge devices smartly while the auto-off function channels any remaining juice for other devices.
The four LED lights show charge level and a second included USB cable to charge it. The Props Power Case requires 5V at 1 amp to charge.
Energenie ChargeGenie 50 Portable Charger For $39.99 5,000mAh External Battery
As seen at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, the ChargeGenie 50 is a 5,000mAh battery with multiple charging levels. While some external batteries supply multiple USB ports with different charging levels, this model has a single standard USB port that can charge at 5V with 0.6 amps, 5V with 1.5 amps and 9V with 0.6 amps.
One external button makes it easy to switch between charge modes. An additional four LEDs display charge level on the external battery. The first charge level mostly works with smartphones, cameras or an iPad in the 'off' position.
The second charge level can charge an iPad while it is on. The third level might be useful for tablet PCs that need a higher voltage. To start charging, tap the single external button. To stop, just unplug the device.
I found that the first charging level worked for most of my portable devices. An issue that came up while testing were the small charging tips could easily get lost. Additionally, charging levels are not clearly identified other than C1, C2 or C3. Overall though, the ChargeGenie 50 is a compelling and compact portable battery with triple charging options.
Lenmar Meridian iPhone 5 Case Battery For $89.99 2,300mAh
Lenmar is upping the ante with its new iPhone 5 Meridian battery case that's currently the most powerful Apple MFI approved model on the market. It has a 2,300mAh internal battery that connects to the Lighting port on the iPhone 5, charging at 5V with 1 amp and has open sections for the camera, flash and headphone jack.
A single button on the back activates the charge level LED. To charge an iPhone 5 with the Meridian, press the button for three seconds. To turn off charging, press the button for three seconds. This method for charging is more elegant than the switches. A single micro USB port on the bottom of the split case charges its internal battery.
Energenie ChargeGenie Universal microUSB For $29.99 1,400mAh Attachable Battery
The ChargeGenie was designed for Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry smartphones. It's an external battery that attaches onto most phones with a unique gel pad.
A curved back helps affix the battery to smartphones that might not be totally flat. The center spine is made with rubber, bending where needed. An integrated micro USB cable wraps around the phone to deliver power.
A single button turns on and off the battery, while simultaneously displaying its internal charge level via five LEDs. This battery has the future in mind with upcoming phones compatibility.
The ChargeGenie outputs 5V at 0.5 amp. Charging works via a secondary micro USB cable that supplies between 4.9 to 5.5V at 0.7 amps. In tests, it successfully charged a BlackBerry Torch 9810 smartphone with a 1,270 mAh battery.
Multiple backup battery solutions from around the world are now available for almost every device. BlackBerries can get a power up with the ChargeGenie from Energenie, a somewhat difficult smartphone to find a compatible external battery for.
Modern Apple products from the iPhone to the MacBook have sealed batteries, so companies like Sanho HyperJuice and Lenmar have designed incredibly portable options in affordable price points.
Get out, be mobile and now there is no need to look for the next power outlet. Select the right backup battery solution from the many options in this roundup that all do a great job. Keep smartphones through Macbooks charged for work or play by investing in one of the backup batteries mentioned above.
My recap of the biggest and most attended International Consumer Electronics Show ever, in Las Vegas.
Disclaimer: I received review units from the above companies. Opinions expressed here are my own. Photos and videos are courtesy of the above companies.