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Featured: How to Keep Your Smartphone Topped Up Anywhere

June 29, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

With summer here, it’s likely that you’ll be heading out for the day or spending a few days on vacation. It’s always nice to get out there and see more of the world, and while you don’t need a smartphone or tablet to make time away enjoyable; it helps. We use our smartphones for cameras, planning our routes and for things like checking the tides, finding spots nearby and more. Chances are however, that you’re less likely to be near an outlet to keep your devices topped up, so how can you keep your devices charged and ready to go no matter where you are? Without carrying a million cables and adapters? Hopefully, this feature will provide you with product ideas to do just that.

Portable Battery Packs

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One of the most obvious and appropriate answers to staying juiced up on the move is to take power with you. Portable battery packs these days come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and capacities. If you’re going hiking or anywhere with water and less than soft terrain, something rugged and water-resistant like the Limefuel Rugged with 15,000 mAh of juice is a great option. It is, however, pretty heavy and takes up some good space in a pack or bag (it’s larger than my Moto X, for instance). It does have a slot for clipping it to backpack and two charging ports though, so it does have a lot to offer.

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More casual users will appreciate the Nokia DC-18 as it’s practically unnoticeable in size and weight, perfect for throwing in a handbag or leaving in a jacket pocket. Sadly, it only outputs 0.6A with a capacity of just 1,750 mAh, but with a short microUSB cable already attached ready to be pulled out and plugged in, things don’t get more convenient than this and others like it. The QiStone+ from Fonesalesman is a great choice as well with a 4,000 mAh capacity, a USB port and a Qi charger, but it’s a little heavier and kinda chunky. Still, it’s a versatile choice that won’t weigh you down too much.

Taking Cables Everywhere

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Even if you have a portable battery pack or two, you’ll need a cable or two to actually charge devices up. Carrying a full-size cable isn’t ideal and they’re more than likely going to get tangled up in your other items or with other cables. Luckily, microUSB cables can be found in all sorts of lengths and shapes, so taking a cable or two with you no longer needs to be a chore.

Adding a keyring to your keys that’s also a microUSB cable is a great idea and options like the Echo Connect and Nomad’s ChargeKey are great options. The Echo Connect feels a lot sturdier than the ChargeKey and the full-size USB end on this is easy to wipe clean and plug and go. While not exactly the easiest cables to take with you, they get the job done, and you’re less likely to forgot your keys than you are a charging cable, so these are good to have regardless.

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Many of us wear a smartwatch or some sort of fitness tracker, so why not wear a charging cable? With the Olixar Bead Bracelet (which isn’t too expensive at all) you can strap a microUSB cable to your wrist. Unfortunately, the band is a little small and those with large wrists might not be able to use this, but it’s a neat way of carrying a charging cable with you everywhere. The same can be said for the Mohzy wearable cable, but this is far more fiddly as it uses a magnet to stay clasped, and it’s not especially comfortable, either. It gets the job done, but either the Olixar Bead Bracelet or the Mohzy cable could be attached to a backpack strap or whatever else to keep a cable with you wherever you go.

In The Car

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Let’s face it, not everyone can afford a new car with Android Auto, and besides our smartphones are doing a great job as guidance systems and handling phone calls. You do need to keep these devices charged however, and GPS usage can really destroy a phone’s battery life in no time, flat.

If you’re lucky enough to have a phone that works with Qi charging, companies like TYLT offer the whole package in one product. With their Qi chargers that are also holders for your phone, TYLT offers convenience and utility in one.

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Options like these from Inateck and Olixar offer users a more comprehensive four-port, 2.4 amp or single-port charging experience. If you’re the only person likely to spend lots of time in your car, then the single-port option is perhaps the way to go, as it’s hassle free and easy to work with. However, families and those who car pool will enjoy the four-port solution from Inateck as it offers four ports to charge handheld gaming consoles like a 3DS and a couple of devices. Either way, there are options like these available anywhere for very little.

Stay Charged!

These products are just ideas, and really there’s so much choice out there these days that whatever you choose will get the job done. Options like these are available from Mobile-Fun as well as Amazon and depending on how many ports or how much juice you need, there are options for every sort of use case out there. Battery life isn’t going to get drastically better anytime soon, and while devices like Sony’s Xperia line and Galaxy Note line from Samsung offer excellent battery life, not everyone picks out a phone for its longevity. As such, it’s nice to be able to keep them topped up on the go, in the least obtrusive way possible.