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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WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R