Chargers to Help Reduce Gadget Separation Anxiety

By Murphy, Kate | International Herald Tribune, January 11, 2013 | Go to article overview

Chargers to Help Reduce Gadget Separation Anxiety


Murphy, Kate, International Herald Tribune


The market for these mobile power sources has grown exponentially in the last two years, with more compact and more powerful options available that allow you to recharge hundreds of times.

You undoubtedly know people so smitten with their smartphones and tablets that they experience separation anxiety when asked to put them away, even if it is just long enough to get through dinner. But that is nothing compared with the angst they feel when their devices' batteries are getting low. Think tremors and rending of garments.

If you happen to be one of those people, you might consider joining a 12-step program -- or maybe just buying a backup battery for recharging on the go. The market for these mobile power sources has grown exponentially in the last two years, with more compact and more powerful options available that allow you to recharge hundreds of times. Which one is best depends on how much power you want on hand and how much weight you are willing to carry.

"Mobile chargers are becoming one of our most popular categories," said Victor Setton, the chief executive of Mobile City in New York, who bought one himself after he missed critical moments of extended play at the U.S. Open because he left the match to recharge his phone. "Everybody has had moments like that when you are watching your phone power down and it's killing you."

First, you need to determine how much standby power you need. Battery capacity is measured in milliampere hours, or mAh. The more milliampere hours a battery has, the longer it will run, somewhat like gallons of gas in a car. Most smartphone batteries have a capacity of 1,500 to 2,100 mAh, while tablet batteries are in the range of 6,000 to 11,000 mAh. To fully recharge these devices, you need an auxiliary source that meets or exceeds that capacity.

If all you want is a quick charge to give you a couple of hours until you can get to a wall socket, go with something small, inexpensive and lightweight like the 1,800 mAh Triple C Power Mate Plus ($29 in the United States), which plugs directly into an iPhone 3GS, 4 or 4S; the company, Triple C Designs, is working on one that will be compatible with an iPhone 5. The Power Mate Plus is about the size of a woman's compact, weighs 1.2 ounces, or about 34 grams, and comes in a variety of decorative designs.

The 2,200 mAh MiPow Power Tube ($39) is compatible with a wider range of mobile devices and will completely charge a smartphone. Encased in what looks like brushed aluminum, it weighs 2.5 ounces and is the size of a cigarette lighter. There are larger-capacity Power Tubes, up to the 5,500 mAh version ($99), which weighs 4.8 ounces and can charge a smartphone a couple of times or charge a tablet 50 percent.

A larger footprint and more heft will provide even more charging capacity. …

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