If you have a phone with poor battery life, or simply find yourself unable to maintain the habit of charging your phone, you've probably dealt with dead batteries. At best, a dead phone is an inconvenience. At worst, it can spell disaster when you miss that important call, or suddenly find yourself lost in an unfamiliar neighbourhood without your trusty GPS, maps and a way for an emergency call.
Fortunately our modern world is rich with power sources, and there is a lot to choose from to help keep your phone charged up where ever you might find yourself. But are these portable charging solutions really worth the money, or will they leave you with an emptier wallet and a dead battery to boot?
The Backup Battery
Probably the simplest form of portable phone charger, backup batteries can take a lot of shapes. High end solutions can even be equipped with the ability to charge large items like laptops, or even jump start cars. These solutions can provide lots of juice and make sure you never run your phone dead, but they are some pretty heavy equipment. Highly useful to have around, though!
On the other end of the size spectrum we find much smaller portable batteries roughly the size of mobile phones or smaller still. These give you a lot of extra power when you're out and about, potentially multiplying the available battery time on your phone by several factors. They are easy to charge where ever power is available and can be a life saver if you find yourself out and about one day having forgot to charge your mobile.
Power Generating Units
Backup batteries are one thing, but they don't really help you if you're truly out of juice completely. They can only carry power with them – they have no facility to make their own power. But a few items on the market are available to actually generate portable power on the go to charge your mobile devices. There are two main forms of such devices.
The first is mini-solar panels, which can charge phones and other small batteries by harnessing the energy of the sun. These neat little panels can be remarkably effective at getting you some charge, and easily portable, but their efficacy relies on getting some quality sunlight to produce a charge.
The second form, unfortunately, is less reliable still. Kinetic generators are still in their infancy, but this interesting technology creates and stores electrical charges from everyday motions, like jostling in a backpack or purse, or direct mechanical stimulation, such as turning a wheel. While some models of kinetic chargers are available on the market, they remain more of an oddity than a practical solution at this point in their evolution.
Try It Yourself!
The only way to know if a portable charger for you is to give it a go yourself! Reasonably priced portable chargers can put the power in anyone's hands and let them travel assured they won't find themselves in a bind without their trusty smart phone ready and waiting.
Or check out how to preserve your battery life for longer, just in case.