It's that time of year, when the sun starts making regular appearances in the sky and when I start to think about walks, camping and the great outdoors. Which means smartphone accessories that - ideally - prove really useful, doing multiple jobs with minimal bulk. In this case, a USB power bank that you can leave facing the sun to charge itself from empty, and which doubles as a powerful flashlight or tent lantern.
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I seem to have become synonymous with various things, one being smartphone imaging and another being power bank reviews, with the flexible and future-proof Lumsing Glory P2 Plus being the latest and best. Yet the OUTXE (OUTdoor Xtreme Energy, apparently!) Rugged Power Bank offers a totally different USP - it's fully waterproof (to a maximum of IP67) and pitches itself as the ultimate accessory for the outdoor enthusiast, with a seven LED 200 hour floodlight that's perfect for camping or emergencies.
It's a fair cop, my title was more descriptive than accurate - this little gadget is actually called, on Amazon, the 'EC Technology 5200mAh Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank', a typical SEO-heavy name that's not as interesting as the product itself. You see, this fills a very real need, at least in my household.
The flow of really rather handy emergency chargers into AAWP Towers never seems to stop. I couldn't resist taking a look at this one, since it promises metal (which I like), very high capacity (ditto) and compact size (ditto again). And it delivers, you can charge two smartphones at a time (e.g.) at 1.5A each, several times over from scratch. All from something that fits in a jeans back pocket...
The search has been on for several years for a replacement for the (now no longer produced) Proporta Pocket Power, an all in one, no cables needed, truly credit card sized emergency charger - and, right up at the premium end of the market we now have a candidate, offering full 2A output and able to deliver around 700mAh at 5V in about 20 minutes. While only around a one third charge for today's smartphones, that this fits unobtrusively in your wallet in a card slot makes this a terrific (if slightly pricey) accessory to get you to the end of a long day. Coming in deluxe packaging, with extras, it's also just about the perfect gift for a smartphone owner, as I explore below.
Even if you do the usual 3.7V/5V maths to calculate the actual power available at the voltage your smartphone needs it (i.e. the 5V level), you still end up with well over 15,000mAh of useable charge from this new 'Executive' power bank. Add in a unique backlit LED readout, triple output jacks and a torch function and you've got a really, really interesting mobile accessory.
Guest writer David Addington brings us a detailed review of one of the landmark texts in the smartphone industry and a superbly detailed history of Symbian itself. Read the review and then grab the (e)book!
After reviewing quite a number of emergency power banks on these sites, most of which have been quite impressive, I think we have a brand new winner. In terms of build quality, output, capacity and sheer value, the Omaker Premium 15600 wins out over the rest of the competition by a clear margin. As you'll see from my illustrated review below, testing the Omaker with Symbian and Windows Phone smartphones, plus an iPad or two...
Another in Lumsing's excellent series of 'Power Banks', the 6000mAh model here is distinguished from its larger 10400mAh sister by being dramatically slimmer and almost all metal. As a result, the price-per-milliAmp-hour is higher, but I don't care - the 6000 is a "man's" charger - a veritable mobile power tool and yes, you can knock nails in with it. Probably.
Originally an Indiegogo project, Shoulderpod has just released its first product, the S1, and I've been testing it with my Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020. It's a combined stabiliser/grip/mount - it's fabulously constructed and it works really well. Here's to better smartphone-shot video (and, of course, you might find my tutorial helpful!)