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Thanko portable solar-powered battery hangs back and takes in rays

Posted by Tom July - 11 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Thanko has introduced a new portable solar-powered USB-charging battery that’s built to hang on backpacks while strolling in the sun.

The two most important things are covered: it’s light at 123g and fairly small at A5-size.

It’s a pretty small battery, 1,000mAh, but if it does the job of sucking in sun so phones stay alive, it’s a pretty good solution and at a nice price: 4280 yen (US$40).

Via akihabaranews

Deal: Tylt battery packs and battery cases are 50% off

Posted by wicked July - 4 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

tylt promo

This summer, don’t let battery life anxiety ruin your holiday. Power packs are one solution, and the web is full of options, though few are as nicely designed as Tylt’s.

If you were mulling buying a Tylt battery pack or battery case, now may be the right time to do it. Until July 9, the company is taking 50 percent off the price of select portable power products if you use the promo code “fireworks”.

Here are the products that you can get on the cheap (er) by applying the promo code at checkout:

  • ENERGI Power Case for Galaxy S III
  • ENERGI Sliding Power Case for Galaxy S 4
  • ENERGI Power Case for iPhone 5/5s
  • ENERGI Sliding Power Case for iPhone 5/5s
  • ZUMO Portable Battery Pack
  • POWERPLANT Portable Battery Pack
  • ENERGI Battery Pack
  • ENERGI Travel Charger w/ Built-in Battery

Happy shopping!

Project Volta to test out Android L’s battery use

Posted by wicked July - 3 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Hearing the name Project Volta brings to mind a hardcore metal band or a top-secret effect on the battery life defense project by the US Military. But the reality is much simpler, but also that important. It’s the codename for the Google team’s exhaustive project to test the upcoming Android L’s effect on the batteries of Android devices and ensure that it will not cause too much drainage.

One of the most important aspects of this project is the new API that they developed called JobScheduler. In their studies of the previous releases, they have found out that one of the things that contributes to battery drainage in gadgets is that waking it up for even just a second already burns two minutes of standby time. In order to lessen that, the JobScheduler, well, schedules together those not so important housekeeping jobs like database cleanup and log uploading. The OS will also not conduct network tasks when the device has no network connectivity. There is also the possibility of doing these housekeeping items only when the device is plugged in so that there won’t be any battery loss.

Battery Historian is another tool being tested out in Project Volta, and it is basically a battery stat tracker that puts all the data in a visualised chart that should make reading all the stats much easier. The analytics is helping the developers into tweaking Android L so that it will bring better battery life to devices that will be using it. Project Volta has also allowed the switch from Dalvik to ART, which compiles the apps once, instead of every time they are run, which takes up memory and battery as well.


The guys over at Ars Technica decided to try out their Android L developer preview on their Nexus 5 to check if the guys over at Project Volta really did their work. They found out that the new OS can give up to additional two hours of runtime. The preview also has a built-in “battery saver” that will lower brightness and cuts background activity to a minimum when the device hits 15% battery, but they didn’t use this during their test run, so the final Android L might be able to give users even more than two hours extra battery time.

VIA: Ars Technica

Benches in Massachusetts to charge gadgets through solar power

Posted by wicked July - 1 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

It’s a beautiful day outside and you want to just sit on a bench, marvel at nature and post on social media how wonderful it is to be not inside the four corners of your office or school. But alas, your mobile phone doesn’t have enough juice anymore to take a picture and post it on Instagram (#smartphonebatteryproblems). A project from Changing Environments, a company associated with the MIT Media Lab will help you avoid that kind of situation by building solar-powered benches that can charge your gadgets.

Called Soofa, the benches will be equipped with USB ports that can be used by benchwarmers to power their phones or tablets as they read a newspaper or book, whether physically or digitally. The first few benches will be installed in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is funded by Cisco Systems. But the company is looking at building a network of Soofas all over the state not just for the convenience of passers-by in need of a quick charging fix, but even more so, to encourage people to at least go outside, even while glued to their gadgets.

More than just a charging station, the benches will also become data hubs, to check on the noise and air quality levels of the places where they’re installed. People will be able to access the data online when they visit the Soofa website, so they know where is the perfect spot to enjoy a few minutes of quiet, away from the crowds and the pollution. Other data that will be gathered would be how many people go to each bench everyday and how many hours of solar power charging it was able to provide that day.

Screenshot 2014-07-01 17.45.55

According to Jutta Friedrichs, the co-founder of Changing Environments, they are looking at reversing the idea that computers “took people off the streets” and now using technology to actually make people come outside and play. “We want to reactivate the city and create a new shared social experience,” she said.


Android L Features: Battery Predictor Tells You How Long Until Your Phone is Charged

Posted by Kellex June - 26 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

The Android L Developer Preview has only been available for a little over an hour, yet we have already gone hands-on with it. But after whipping through a quick preview, it’s time to start really looking at the newest version of Android. What’s new? What has changed? Are there any awesome little tweaks that Google has made that you can’t live without? The first we want to talk about is Battery Predictor.

As the name suggests, your phone can now predict how long it is going to take to fully charge if it is running Android L. There isn’t much else to say, other than once you plug your phone in, the estimate will show up on the lock screen. You can also head into Settings>Battery to see the estimate as well.

The days of wondering about and stressing over how much longer you need to stick to a charger. Pretty sweet, right? 

android L-1 android L-2

Android L Features: Battery Predictor Tells You How Long Until Your Phone is Charged is a post from: Droid Life

GoPlug bags lets you charge mobile devices on the go

Posted by wicked June - 23 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Charging one’s devices while mobile is one of the major concerns of people in this age of smartphones, tablets and phablets. Powerbanks seemed like the ideal situation at first, but now, even those are not enough. An upcoming product in the market called GoPlug bags aim to be the solution to this problem of having power even when on the go.

Designed for business travellers, GoPlug lets you charge your phones, tablets, laptops and even cameras through the lithium-polymer battery pack that comes installed in each of their bags. Unlike a typical power bank which can give phones around 2 or 3 charges only, each bag lets you charge your phone up to 6 times, your tablet twice, and your laptop will be able to get two full charges on a single charge. The built-in cord that comes with the bag can also serve as an extension cord for those times when just one plug is not enough.

The GoPlug bags also come in different variants; a messenger bag (ERP $179), a backpack (ERP $179), a trolley (ERP $219), carry-on case (ERP $219), a camera backpack (ERP $259) and a camera carry-on case (ERP $319). All of the different bags are also fully functioning as luggage, aside from the built-in batteries that power them.

GoPlug bags is actually a start-up project looking for funding in crowdsourcing site Kickstarter. But it looks like there are more than enough people willing to support this project as they have already raised $144,049 as of this writing, and with 13 days to go until the campaign ends. They were only asking initially for $20,000 but the response shows that consumers are in need of this kind of product. The manufacturer is expecting the initial products to ship out to the donors as early as August this year.


SOURCE: Kickstarter

TYLT Energi 2K Smart Travel Charger review

Posted by wicked June - 18 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

You want to travel, but you don’t want to take a bunch of wall chargers and battery packs with you. do you need a battery pack, or a charger? How long will you be gone? Those questions have now become moot, as TYLT introduces their new Energi 2K Smart Travel Charger.

The device works by acting as both a wall charger for your device, or battery pack when you’re on the go. Prongs fold out of the rear, and a USB port on the bottom leaves it usable for any device. TYLT’s smart LED system is also neat, letting you know just how much battery life you have left.

We’ve been using this one ofr afew days, and we have to say — we’re impressed. It’s a touch larger than we’d have liked, but it keeps us running all day. We like that you can take a single pack with you, and use your phone as much as you like.

TYLT back-M

Charging time was swift, too. When we ran both down, TYLT’s Energi 2K Smart Travel Charger did the right thing. Via a smart method for charging, the device will charge your phone ahead of the pack, so in a pinch you’re getting what you need. When out and about, the pack charges devices quickly, and charges itself rather fast as well.

TYLT has just wrapped up a successful Kickstarter for this one, but you’ll be able to get it soon via their site. We’ve reveiwed all of TYLT’s chargers, and this might be our favorite. It’s not the biggest, but it might be the most versatile.

Mobile Power and Charging Energi 2K Anker

The clock is ticking down on a Kickstarter campaign for a travel charger with built-in battery. The campaign calls itself the Worlds Most Affordable Wall Charger with Battery by TYLY, it has some decent endorsements, and I am here to make sure you actually need it.

Let me start by explaining the new charger. The Energi 2K is a nifty unit, on the face of it, we have a travel charger that plugs into a North American 110v outlet and has one USB output charging port. To sweeten the deal, the unit houses an internal 2200mAh battery its own, turning the Energi 2K into an external power pack for your mobile gear.

If the Energi 2K packs all the right stuff to satisfy your mobile and travel power needs, head on over to the Kickstarter page before noon Pacific time Wed, June 18th.

I really like the idea behind the Energi 2K and like to support genuine startups seeking funding, but there are more, possibly better, options out there. Before you drop your money on the Energi 2K, let’s look at some of the tools that Energi 2K is trying to replace.

External power packs

Anker 2nd Gen Astro3 12000mAh

You know all about external power packs, those USB units that pack around a bunch of power to keep your devices juiced while on the go. We’ve even shown off a few here on the site, check out the RAVPower 14,000mAh power bank here. There are many more out there, my personal favorite is the Anker® 2nd Gen Astro3 12000mAh, pictured above, which runs for less than $50 on Amazon.

Battery chargers

Anker Universal battery charger

Most chargers plug into the wall and have a USB output or two to power your stuff. Comparatively, that’s a win for the Energi 2K, but what if your charger could provide juice to your device and its removable battery at the same time? Enter one of the better chargers that I have kicking around, the Anker Battery Expert Universal Charger, pictured. Added bonus, this charger is powered by either plugging it into the wall, or it will accept charge via USB charger itself.

Quick overview

Energi 2K $40

  • 2200mAh battery
  • 1 USB port at 1A

Good: One compact unit
Bad: 2200mAh is smaller than most new phones. Only one USB port.

Anker® Multi-Purpose Universal USB Travel Wall Charger $10

  • Charge almost any removable smartphone battery
  • 1 USB port at 0.6A

Good: Charge battery and device at the same time. Can be powered by the wall or by an external power pack.
Bad: Battery physical size and form limitations. 0.6A charger is not enough to charge some larger phones and tablets.

Anker® 2nd Gen Astro3 12000mAh $45

  • 3 smart USB ports at up to 2.1A each
  • 12,000mAh battery

Good: Lots of available power – will fully charge your new smartphone or tablet, at least once. Premium looks. Fits in your pocket. Runs cool.
Bad: Double the size of the Energi 2K. Need a USB charger to charge this powerpack and no passthrough to charge the unit and your device at the same time.


We all have different power needs for our technology, but before you go dropping money on a standard USB charger, or $40 (or more) on the Energi 2K, please consider your usage. You may find, as I did, that grabbing a pair of devices that can do more, for roughly the same cost, is the way to go. You may consider this Anker charger and 10,000mAh external power pack, get both for just $2 more than the Energi 2K. When we really break it down, you may not need anything more than the basic USB charger that came with your devices, but I doubt you’d still be reading this if that were so.

There are many more form factors out there to get juice into your favorite devices. Some of you may be using Qi wireless charging or other fancy mechanical or rapid chargers. Others have gone so far as to rigging car or UPS batteries into charging equipment, don’t forget the whopping 41,600mAh external battery that we covered last week. One good way to see more is to track down a local Ingress player and see what they have on the go.

What is your solution for keeping your gear powered up on the go? Are you interested in the Energi 2K?

UNU Ultrapak portable battery series feature quick battery pack refuel

Posted by wicked June - 12 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Gadgets running out of power are some people’s worst nightmare nowadays. And with most of us always being mobile, portable power sources are already a need and not just a want. The new Ultrapak portable battery features Ultra-X Charging Technology which allows the portable battery to recharge 2000mAh in 15 minutes.

The Ultrapak claims that it can gather 2000mAh of energy at eight times the normal speed of the usual batteries. The new series comes with two models: the Ultrapak Go and the Ultrapak Tour. The Go has a single USB 2.1A output and 3000mAh capacity which can be fully recharged in 30 minutes. The Tour needs 100 minutes to fully charge up to 10,000mAh of battery capacity and includes two USB outputs, 1.0A and 2.1A that can be used for both smartphones and tablets. They both come with a rubberized, anti-slip frame and an LED screen that shows the battery levels of the gadget. It also indicates how long it would need to reach full charging levels.

According to Brian Westphal, Chief Marketing Officer of UNU Electronics, this new Ultrapak invention of theirs is a smart solution for the “time sensitive power deficiency” that mobile users always experience. Let’s hope this becomes a trend among new battery packs as the more apps the developers create for our gadgets, the more power it drains from our devices.

The Ultrapak GO and TOUR are available for pre-order now, priced at $59.99 and $99.99. UNU will start to ship the battery pack from June 30th.

Ultrapak Go Portable Battery Pack-1
Ultrapak Go Portable Battery Pack-2
Ultrapak Go Portable Battery Pack-3
Ultrapak Go Portable Battery Pack-4

Hands-on with the full TYLT Energi+ battery pack lineup

Posted by wicked June - 5 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

With removable batteries not available for every phone, it’s often a wise choice to have a back-up battery pack on hand. NO matter what your needs, TYLT’s lineup has you covered. Even if you’re OS agnostic, some TYLT chargers can power both Android and iOS devices quickly and easily. After checking out their massive 10,000mAh pack, we recently got a look at their entire lineup of power packs to find out how they stack up.

As you can see in the picture above, they stack up nicely. TYLT keeps the same design aesthetic throughout their lineup; a squared profile with rounded edges and corners. A colored band cuts through the black finish, bringing a very modern look to a workhorse battery pack. Button arrangements change on each pack, but the utility doesn’t.

Some of their packs also have cables attached, which make them easy winners for those grab-and-go adventures. The cords also tuck away neatly, ringing back that stealthy aesthetic we like so much. Each pack is also lighter than you’d think, and feels weightless in a bag.

The Energi 2K is the simplest model on offer, with nothing but a single input and a solitary output. At 2,000mAh, it does an adequate job of doubling your battery life on the go. The case is simply too svelte to have a cable built in, so you’ll have to take one with you, but that’s a small concession to make.


The Energi 3K and 3K+ are both 3,000mAh packs, and each has a micro USB cable built right in. For the Android user, this will double just about any battery, even the behemoth on the LG G3 (which already has stellar battery life, but still). If you’re OS agnsotic, the Energi 3K+ substitutes the micro USB for a Lightning cable. Both have a USB input, so if you need to charge more than one device, you just need to tote a cable along.


The Energi 5K and 5K+ bump the battery size up to — you guessed it — 5,000mAh. The difference with those two is that when you opt for the 5K+, you get the Lighting cable in addition to the micro USB attachment, so powering multiple devices is a snap. Again, an exrta input will let you charge an additional device, so powering up to three is optional here.

Each battery pack pushed juice to our devices quickly, with the 2K having a 1 amp circuit, the 3K a 2 amp, and the 5K a 3 amp. Each pack has an output voltage of 4.75-5.25, making it ideal for just about any mobile device you might have.

Charging the various packs takes about the same time it would take to power up a smartphone battery of a similar size, with the 5K topping out at around 6 hours. The 2K took about 1.5 hours, and the 3K took roughly 3.5-4.



If you need a solid, reliable battery pack — TYLT has you covered. Each of their offerings is a stylish, powerful pack ready to keep you up and running all day long. An extra input on the 3K and 5K packs gives you flexibility for multiple devices.