Tag - External battery
Rather than do a simple hands-on on a given battery pack -- which are becoming increasingly popular because people cannot get off their smartphones or tablets (and to be fair, they are pretty awesome) -- we thought we'd compare three different models with different purposes. The idea is not so much to pick a "winner" as it is to show off the differences and best use cases for each of the three external battery packs, which all perform perfectly well. For this article, we're looking at a 10,000mAh Superpak unit from Unu, a 13,400mAh unit from Lumsing, and two larger models from Anker (15,600mAh and 20,100mAh, respectively).
We long to call this Look Back in Anker -- but the worst we can say about this external battery, after weeks of exhaustive use, is that we have a tiny little niggle or two. It's still just a big battery, and yet that size and that weight hasn't proved to be a problem. Instead, the Anker E7 has slotted into our workflow, and our bag, as if we always had it.
Android users have called us iPhone owners "wallhuggers" because we keep needing to recharge our phone batteries. We do. We are. I'm not convinced Android users are actually any different, but it doesn't matter: even if they had infinite battery life, I'm not going to swap to Android because it would mean swapping to Android. Yet power is a big problem for me, and there has never been a day that my iPhone didn't need recharging. Unfortunately, there have been many, many days when I couldn't recharge it, so at best I was ekeing out time by using it less, and at worst I was carrying a shiny black brick with me. Until I bought a Mophie Powerstation external battery.
We go camping regularly. Sometimes the conditions are quite primitive, sometimes there's Wi-Fi, but two things are always at a premium: light at night, and power ... always. So we were pleased when we first saw the Xventure SmartLantern: it's an external battery that doubles as a flashlight or a lantern. Now a great many external chargers we've seen over the years include a "flashlight" feature, by which we mean there's usually a single small LED sunk into the side of the case to use in an emergency. But the SmartLantern makes providing light a priority. Considering the name of the thing, it's arguably the primary function.
When we're traveling or just generally out and about, we've taken to bringing a tablet and Bluetooth keyboard with us, rather than a laptop or netbook. Power for both our tablet, phone, and any other chargeable devices is always an issue. Our personal motto is "ABC," or "Always Be Charging." When we're not in our car or near an outlet, if we're lower than 75 percent on something we plug it into an external battery. Really all anyone needs is power to nourish these digital brains, but extra features are generally useful. The Bracketron Power Flex Stand is a 10,400mAh battery with a built-in tablet stand and flashlight. It will not only support one's tablet or smartphone at a pleasant viewing angle, but will also charge two devices at the same time with dual USB ports. Is it a must-have? Check out our review to find out.
JunoPower has released the Hue Pro, a new external battery capable of charging two devices simultaneously. The 10,000mAh battery features a brushed aluminum casing, with a built-in LCD screen that displays how much power is left and when recharging it is required. Its high-powered LED flashlight offers an additional functionality, suitable for outdoor or emergency use.
Limefuel has succeeded in crowdfunding its latest gadget, the IP66 Rugged L150XR external battery. The battery is waterproof, dirt-proof, shock- and crush-proof, as determined by its IP66 protection rating. Featuring a 15,000mAh (57Wh) battery capacity, the Limefuel Rugged L150XR comes equipped with a 5V/2A(max) input for faster charging, dual 5V/2.4A(max) outputs to charge multiple devices at the same time, a touch-activated power indicator, pass-through charging enabled, auto-on and auto-off functionality, and a slot for a strap or clip for carrying. The rugged Limefuel battery will be available in two smaller capacities as well, with the L104XR offering 10,400mAh and the L130XR holding 13,000mAh. Its Kickstarter is ongoing until mid-March, and those interested in pledging as way of pre-ordering the Limefuel Rugged can receive the lowest capacity battery for $50, with shipping beginning in May.
QuickerTek has expanded its line of external batteries with the new Apple Juicz for iPad. The 9400mAh lithium polymer battery is claimed to be rated for over 2000 charge cycles. The pack features advanced safety circuitry with failsafe protection, temperature and charge/discharge controls and automatic cell balancing. The Apple Juicz can fully recharge an iPad in three hours, while a second USB port can charge a second device such as an iPhone or iPod touch. It can power any USB-chargeable device, but has special circuitry guaranteeing compatibility with Apple's range of products.
IvySkin has launched Zappak, the latest product in its line of iPhone and iPod accessories. Zappak works as an extra external battery for mobile devices, charging an iPod or any other USB-powered electronic. The pack can also be used to extend the battery life of an iPhone or BlackBerry. Built-in LED status lights display the amount of energy left within the battery, while the USB cable is attached directly to the case.
USBfever has launched its latest iPhone accessory, an external battery featuring an integrated adapter for two SIM cards. The dual card capability is geared towards iPhone users that may need to switch phone companies when traveling between countries. The battery doubles as an iPhone case, while allowing users to sync the device without removing the battery.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE