Do you use battery-powered chargers?

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: November 30, 2012

For years now, battery life has been a major concern for me and a major pitfall in the smartphone realm. It was difficult – if not impossible – to make it through an entire day without tethering myself to an outlet for an hour or so to charge my phone. Then I could only hope it would last until I made it home.

Some days, I would need to plug up a second time to make it the rest of the day.

Thanks to portable battery chargers, though, such as the one built in the Powerbag Deluxe I picked up at CES this year, it wasn't always necessary to cling to an outlet. You can take your charging on the go, which is nothing particularly new. Battery and accessory manufacturers have collaborated for several years now, taking advantage of the limitations and shortcomings of current Lithium-ion cells in mobile technology.

The major difference in more recent battery-powered chargers, however, is capacity.

I've probably owned more than two dozen different battery chargers to date. Countless companies were throwing out like candy at CES. And I managed to walk away with an Incipio offGRID for the iPhone 4S, too. The problem with all of those battery chargers, with the exception of the Powerbag, was that they could not fully charge my phone. At best, most of the cheap battery chargers thrown out at CES would only charge a phone to 50 or 60 percent; they couldn't have been more than 1,000mAh. The offGRID could muster about 70 percent on the iPhone 4S.

Ideally, those are great for emergencies. But at such low capacities, it means you'll spend quite a bit of time charging the battery chargers, too. And that can grow tiresome and annoying. Over time, it becomes quite the chore trying to keep everything charged.

More recent battery chargers, while notably larger in physical size, come with three or four times the capacity of a standard smartphone battery. Last Friday (Black Friday), I picked up a myCharge Peak 6000 which, as the name suggests, offers 6,000mAh of portable power. Honestly, I don't need it for everyday use. The Samsung Galaxy Note II manages to last around 30 hours per charge – it's quite easy to make it through an entire day on a single charge. And the iPhone 5 isn't bad either, especially considering it stays in my pocket most the time.

I picked it up because I will most definitely need it come CES in January. A 16-hour day of tethering, taking pictures, emailing, uploading videos and pictures and using Google Maps for walking directions will definitely drain my phones faster than normal. The Peak 6000 will fully charge the 3,100mAh battery of the Galaxy Note II at least once and should have enough to charge the iPhone 5 nearly twice on the remaining juice. That should (and I stress should) get me through the hectic days of CES without too many dead devices. But the best part of the Peak 6000 is the built-in AC plug. If it dies, I don't have to worry about carrying a charger for my charger. I can simply plug the Peak 6000 directly into an empty outlet (which are unsurprisingly rare to come by in every hotel on the strip in Las Vegas the second week of January).

Following CES, however, the Peak 6000 will definitely find a permanent spot in my everyday bag, too. It just arrived yesterday, and I've already used it to top off the iPad that I forgot to charge last night. And it will get plenty of use before CES, for sure.

Battery chargers aren't my favorite thing by any means – they're a pain to lug around sometimes. That said, they are something that's always welcome in my arsenal, they are irreplaceable accessories that always manage to save the day.

Do you use battery-powered chargers like the Peak 6000, folks? Do you carry spare batteries instead? Or does your phone typically last the entire day without needing juice after lunch?