Essential Travel Devices and Tips

6-7-2015

When packing for an upcoming trip you may want to include a couple of devices that most people forget.

1. A  Compact Back-Up Battery/Charger for your tablet or phone.

Let’s face it, when away from home or office people spend more time on their cell phones and tablets. People stay in touch talking, texting and take more photos sharing their travel experiences on social media killing their device’s battery life. A very small battery backup will get you through the day and it will not take up much room in your travel bag.

2. A Power Strip

I couldn’t leave home without a power strip. As a traveling photographer, I need battery power and at times I use at least 6 A/C outlets per day to charge all of my devices.

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The Lifehacker web site listed the five best portable external battery chargers with the voting results listed below. All good choices and will give you ample charging times.

Five Best External Battery Packs

Anker Astro Series (3E/E4/Pro)

Anker’s line of external batteries hold a ton of juice (the 3E sports 10000mAh, the E4 13000mAh, and the Pro a whopping 14400mAH. The new Pro2 has 20000mAh!) and depending on the model you get, you get a slim, pocket-sized external battery pack that can go anywhere, charge multiple devices at once, and keep them both powered for hours on end even if their own batteries are dead. Many of you who nominated Anker’s various external batteries praised them for portability, high capacity and small size, price point, and while not all of them can be charged via USB on their own (they require a separate charging cable), some of them do sport a flashlight and can charge even high-powered devices like netbooks and small laptops as well as phones and tablets. If you’re interested, the Anker Astro3E is $40 at Amazon, the AstroE4 is $47 at Amazon, and the Astro Pro is $60 at Amazon.


Five Best External Battery Packs

New Trent iCarrier/iGeek

New Trent started off making portable battery packs for iPhones and iPads, and they’ve only grown since then. The iCarrier packs 12000mAh in a portable (albeit not pocket-sized) package, and the iGeek has a 9900mAh battery inside. Both models are capable of charing your iPhone or iPad, Android phone, or any other device that charges over microUSB or USB. Those of you who praised the iCarrier and the iGeek noted that it holds a charge forever, and the easy-to-read indicator lights on the top of the device never leave you doubting how much charge your unit has left. Plus, you mentioned it’s perfectly capable of charging a phone several times before it needs to be recharged itself. Both models will automatically shut itself off when the connected device is charged, can charge two devices at once. Reader weendex even took it up Mount Kilimanjaro with him, and it kept his iPhone alive and logging the whole trip via GPS the entire time-a whopping seven days. now that’s impressive. Both models retail for $70 direct from New Trent, but they’re both also available at Amazon: the iCarrier is $70, but the iGeek comes in three capacities, the highest of which being an 11200mAH model that’s actually available for $60, less than its 9900mAh counterpart.


Five Best External Battery Packs

Energizer XP Series (XP1000 /XP18000A )

Energizer is a huge name in batteries, so it makes sense they would get into the world of portable power packs and chargers. Their power packs are widely available in electronics stores and on the internet, and come with far more tips and cables you could ever need to charge your devices. If you have an old old cell phone that needs a little juice, an Energizer power pack probably includes the tip to charge it, and they’re all modular so you can swap them out whenever you need another. Energizer’s power packs come in a variety of flavors and capacities. At the bottom is the simple, pocket-sized XP1000, a 1000mAh model that can top off or add a few extra hours to your cell phone, Bluetooth headset, or media player. At the top on the other hand is a the XP18000A, an 18000mAh model that can power your smartphone for days, your netbook for the bulk of a workday, or a portable camcorder or camera for hours on end. Plus it doesn’t just charge via USB, it can also power devices via a 9-12V or a 16-20V port. Prices vary between models, and there are plenty between the XP1000 at the bottom and the XP18000A at the top. Since you guys nominated the XP18000 specifically, it’s available for $140 at Amazon. By contrast, the XP1000 at the bottom is only $20.


Five Best External Battery Packs

MonoPrice External Battery Packs (9283 5000mAh /6915 1400mAh /7663 1900mAh )

Many of you were fans of Monoprice’s external battery packs because they’re lightweight, portable, and while few of the ones nominated carry a specifically high charge, they’re enough to keep any phone or tablet (or multiple phones or tablets) juiced up in case of emergency, all for remarkably low prices. Monoprice does away with the need for brand names and keeps the costs low, but don’t think that with low price comes low power or crappy design. All of the models are small enough to fit in a pocket, and the 5000mAh 9283 (shown above) packs enough juice to keep your device on for a few extra hours, and even has two USB ports to power two devices at the same time. Best of all, it’s only $29. The lightweight 1400mAh 6915 will give you a 2-4 hour lifeline for your device via microUSB, and it’s only $8. The 1900mAh 7663 sports a slide-out wall plug so you can plug it right into the wall to charge, and an extendable microUSB cable and connector plug to charge your devices that stores neatly in the battery pack’s body when not in use. It’s only $16. Monoprice has a number of products in the category in all sorts of shapes and sizes—from simple battery packs that plug into the bottom or side of your smartphone or tablet to more complicated units that have multiple tips and detachable cables. Browse the category to find one you like—there’s likely one available, and at a steep discount.


Five Best External Battery Packs

Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation

Mophie is well known for its Juice Pack battery cases for smartphones, but in this case we’re looking for purely external batteries that can charge any kind of device. Thankfully many of you came through with nominations for the Powerstation series of products, from the mainstream, sleek, and portable $80 4000mAh Powerstation shown above to the smaller, more lightweight$60 2500 mAh Powerstation mini, to the more powerful $100 6000 mAh Powerstation Duo. It wasn’t universal though, and there were a few Mophie dissenters as well as fans in the mix. Those of you who nominated them praised their size-to-power ratio, offering powerful battery packs in small form factors, all of which fit nicely in a pocket, and can charge pretty much any device over USB, including smartphones, tablets, and netbooks. Mophie themselves are an established brand in the mobile battery space, all of their chargers are about the size of a deck of cards, and eschew the usual plastic shells of other chargers for something metal and sturdy. You can buy all of the Mophie models mentioned here direct, but you can save a few bucks on the 4000mAh Powerstation by grabbing it for $58 (black) or $45 (red) at Amazon.


Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to put them to an all-out vote to determine the community favorite:

What’s The Best External Battery Pack? (Poll Closed)
Anker Astro Series (3E/E4/Pro) 40.18%  (1,004 votes) 
New Trent iCarrier/iGeek  14.41%  (360 votes) 
Energizer XP Series (XP1000/XP18000A)  7.84%  (196 votes) 
MonoPrice External Battery Packs (9283 5000mAh/6915 1400mAh/7663 1900mAh)  15.89%  (397 votes) 
Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation 22%  (542 votes) 
Total Votes: 2,499
Thanks to Lifehacker.com for posting the info and helpful voting results.
Contributed by: Martin Allred  www.floridaography.com

About chowjudge

Martin Allred is a professional photographer and frequent traveler. His assignments cover most of the U.S. and Canada. Martin is a native of New Orleans and currently resides in the Sarasota/Tampa Bay area of Florida.
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