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Smartphone Backup Battery Could Help Avoid Disaster

Apr 7 2014, 8:52am CDT | by

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Smartphone Backup Battery Could Help Avoid Disaster

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Smartphone Backup Battery Could Help Avoid Disaster

I do a lot of bicycle riding and love to use GPS apps to map and track my ride. Trouble is, GPS uses a lot of battery power and the last thing I need on a ride is a dead phone, especially if I ever need it to call 911.

So, now when I’m out on a ride I carry a backup battery to keep my phone going for the entire ride, even with battery sucking apps running.

There are lots of them on the market and most are simply re-chargeable batteries with one or more USB ports where you plug in your charging cable. Some, like the Anker Astro Mini cost under $20. You’re likely to pay more for higher capacity batteries and other features. The Ventev Powercell 6000+, for example, is rated at 6000mAh and features built-in folding AC prongs and two USB ports — a 1 amp/5 watt plug for phones and a 2.1A/10 watt plug for rapid charging phones and charging tablets. The company claims “25 hours of talk, 18 hours of internet, 20 hours of video use, plus 100 hours of audio playback.” An LED indicator shows the battery level.

Kept GPS going through a long car ride

Ventev lent me a review unit which arrived just in time for my trip to Houston’s Johnson Space Center. I threw it in my bag, not really sure if I needed it. But when I arrived in Houston and learned that the cab ride from the airport is $200 round-trip I decided to rent a car but realized I didn’t have my car charger for the phone I’d be using as a GPS.  The battery backup saved the day. The phone’s battery was half depleted when I plugged it in but a couple of hours later, it was nearly fully charged and there was plenty of life left in the charger.

At 7.5 ounces, the Ventev 6000+ is a bit heavier than other charges so I’m not sure I’d take it on bike rides but it’s idea for emergency situations and the built-in AC plugs make it quite convenient. Lighter units like the liptstick-sized 3000 mAh may be more suitable for situations where weight matters.

Another option is a backup device that uses AA batteries such as the Verbatim AA Power Bank Charger or the Energizer Instant Charger for Micro USB Mobile Phones. Both cost about $20 but you’ll need some alkaline, lithium or rechargeable AA batteries.

 

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