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OPPO launches rapid charging powerbank, car-charger

Posted by wicked August - 22 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

There are some in the smartphone and electronics device industry that are of the opinion that it is not the processor that is the defining spec of the gadget – but rather the battery. And with a lot of manufacturers failing to balance out great specs with higher capacity batteries – the latest being the Samsung Galaxy Alpha – accessories like OPPO’s rapid charging VOOC powerbank and car charger become obvious necessities.

OPPO’s rapid charging VOOC battery technology claims that it can charge gadgets and batteries almost two times faster than regular chargers. More than that, it claims that it can get your battery to 75% charge in 30 minutes, where other chargers usually plod on to full charge in the average time of 2 hours. This means that you can get the most out of your device and keep uptime/usage at definitely higher levels than with charging normally.

vooc_powerbank

The VOOC powerbank is tested with the OPPO Find 7 with great results. The powerbank’s capacity is 6000mAh, almost three times the average capacity of most smartphones around. The powerbank has an output of 5V/3.5A. This is obviously higher than most. The problem remains with the uncertainty of other phone units and brands being able to accept these levels of charging. But if your device can, this powerbank is certainly a steal at around USD$50.00.

VOOC-carcharger

We are assuming that the same charging technology is used with the VOOC car charger, available with OPPO for around USD$32.00. The charging accessories are all rated for OPPO devices. But if these can be safely used with other devices out there, then by all means, get it. Check out the source links.

SOURCE: OPPO Powerbank, Car Charger

Revocharge is a magnetic wireless charging system for phones

Posted by wicked August - 20 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Fiddling with wires when it comes to charging your device can get very annoying. There are plenty of wireless charging systems on the market today and a new one has turned up on Kickstarter called Revocharge. The Revocharge system has multiple mounts to allow for wireless charging in different settings.

The mounts include a desk mount, car mount, belt clip, and arm band that all work with magnetic batteries. Each of the magnetic batteries have a microUSB input on the back that allows the charging of the battery and the phone at the same time. Revocharge supports Qualcomm 2.0 quick charge technology.

The Revocharge case is thin at 13.4mm thick and made from polycarbonate that is durable and lightweight. Since the batteries magnetically attach to the case, you can have as many as you need to extend your talk time indefinitely. Each magnetic battery has 2000-3000 mAh of power inside providing up to 150% more power.

The desktop dock can charge and sync your phone or other device at the same time. The Revocharge system is on Kickstarter now seeking $15,000 and it has raised over $7,700 so far. A pledge of $39 will get you a wireless charge base, magnetic battery, and charge/sync cable. For $69, you can get the charge base, battery, car mount, cable, and car charger. If the project hits the stretch goals, cases for the Galaxy Note 3 and 4 along with the Galaxy S5/S6 will be produced.

SOURCE: Kickstarter

Charge your phone using the vibrations of sound

Posted by wicked August - 20 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Researchers at the Queen Mary University in London have a new power trick up their sleeve, the ability to charge your cell phone using the environment around it.

There is a fundamental truth to all mobile technology, if it is turned on, the battery is draining. While some vendors have attempted to eek more out of a charge by minimizing, even crippling, a device to save juice, others just power through and find themselves to a power plug throughout the day.

Having to find an actual power outlet can be problematic sometimes, and needing to be no more than a few feet from the wall for an extended period of time is of no use when you are on the go. We’ve seen wireless charging solutions, either from a dedicated wireless charging dock or station or from the awesome wireless charging solution we discussed here just yesterday, WattUp.

The existing wireless solutions still have a flaw, they require their own power source, meaning, as free as you are to move around, you aren’t leaving that room if you still need juice.

Sound to create power piezoelectric

This is where the “nanogenerator” comes into play. It is a small device, nothing more to look at than a sheet of metal with wires attached to it, that contains zinc oxide rods capable of producing electricity when they are squashed or stretched. While squashing and stretching doesn’t sound very appealing, keep in mind that these actions are performed by sound. The same acoustic vibrations that rumble our ear drums are enough to trigger piezoelectric energy generation.

Working in partnership with Nokia, the experimental prototype is capable of producing 5 volts of electricity, which is what your standard USB port puts out, and the team says they are “cheap” to produce. As it is still early in the process, you shouldn’t expect to be popping one of these into your phone any time soon, but it is great to know that there are some new solutions in the works for our power needs, even if they are a little bit, noisy.

What do you call a phone that makes noise in order to give itself a little charge? Wait, no, don’t answer that!


Via: The Verge;
Source: Queen Mary University;

bKey: wireless,compact smartphone battery as big as a key

Posted by wicked August - 19 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Powerbanks and battery extensions have become a necessity as the battery life of our smartphones continue to frustrate us, while at the same time our dependence on our gadgets for almost all our activities continue to increase. But sometimes, it is a pain to be constantly carrying around wires and batteries that feel (and look) like a bar of soap in our bags or pockets. A new crowd-funded product aims to revolutionise all that with a compact and wireless battery extender that is literally as big (or as small) as a key.

bKey may not pack the punch of the usual 5000 mAh powerbanks, but in terms of portability and the comfort of not needing any wires, it may definitely be worth it. The creators specifically made their PCB board as small as they could to house the battery it in a key-like case. It’s almost the same size as a car key, 75mm in length and 6.55mm in thickness (or rather, thinness). It’s good for an additional 30 minutes of charging for your smartphone with its 230 mAh and can hold its charge for around 30 days, with 500+ battery cycles.

Charging the tiny device doesn’t need any wires either. You can just stick it in the USB port of your computer, laptop or an A/C wall adapter. Then to use it, you just stick the micro-USB tip into your Android phone (it also has an iPhone tip as well) and you’re good to go. Well, for a few additional minutes at least, just enough to “bridge charge” when you’re commuting at a short distance or you just need to make a quick call and you have nowhere to charge at the moment.

Their Kickstarter campaign has already gone beyond their target of $25,000 with 18 days to go still left for people to back up the project. Their target is to be able to package and ship the bKey by the end of this year. Hopefully it will also be available in retail stores by early next year and not cost too much as well.

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SOURCE: Kickstarter

Sound-powered smartphone battery invented

Posted by Tom August - 14 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

UK researchers have made a phone that charges using ambient sound in the atmosphere.

It might not be much use in remote areas but for any city dwellers, the constant sound of cars, construction and chatter could finally – finally – have an upside.

The technology utilises the piezoelectric effect, which uses nanogenerators created by the research team to harvest noise and transfer it into current.

Zinc oxide forms the basis of the device coating – it transforms into tiny nanorods so sensitive they bend from sound wave pressure and it’s this energy that produces the charge.

Via pocket-lint

 

Hemp could make its way into future battery tech, better and cheaper than graphene

Posted by wicked August - 13 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

hemp-battery Fu-ya (via Flickr)

As smartphones have evolved we’ve seen processors go from single-core to as high as octa-core configurations, and there have even been several Android devices that have pushed the boundaries of RAM up to 3GB. Other areas of innovation have included display sizes and resolutions, new sensors and the list goes on. One area where innovation has arguably been a bit lacking? Battery life.

We’ve already talked more than once about new technologies and materials that hope to give us the ability to leap ahead when it comes to battery life such as graphene or even a lithium-ion electrode that will apparently allow conventional Li-ion batteries to hold a charge 10 times greater than current batteries. Now here’s one more potential method, and it’s a material that you probably wouldn’t have thought twice about: hemp.

Heated up hemp fibers can essentially be used for the creation of supercapacitors that are able to store just as much energy as graphene, at less of a cost

Industrial hemp, marijuana’s non-psychoactive cousin, is generally used for the creation of wax, paper and rope, but yesterday at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting a team lead by David Mitlin, an engineering professor at Clarkson University, heated up hemp fibers in a two-stage process that essentially allows for the creation of supercapacitors that are able to store just as much energy as graphene, or even perhaps slightly more. Even more importantly, the process is significantly cheaper than utilizing graphene.

Right now it’s still early days for these ‘supercaps’, but Mitlin and others do believe that the technology has a place in next-gen battery technology. In fact the professor behind the project has already started a spin-off company called Alta Supercaps in the hopes of commercializing the effort and expanding it into new areas. Bottom-line, although it’s probably a long ways off, there could be a time when our mobile devices are in fact powered by hemp.


Via: Engadget, NBC News;

PowerSquare charges multiple devices from anywhere in the pad

Posted by wicked August - 11 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

The days of wall chargers for devices are dwindling down, as more and more consumers have multiple gadgets and are constantly mobile (not to mention the battery drain since we use these gadgets a lot). PowerSquare is the latest entry into the wireless charging market and it lets you power multiple devices and place it anywhere in the pad, freeing you from the few seconds it will take you to dock a gadget properly.

Using the Adaptive Position-Free (APF) system, a technology that is patent-pending, PowerSquare lets you charge as many devices as you can, as long as they touch the pad’s surface. It uses transmitter coils that is easy for consumers in terms of usability while at the same time it’s not too heavy on the wallet. But of course the major requirement is that the gadgets, whether they’re old or new, have to be Qi-wireless charging compatible. So that means if you have Nokia Lumia devices, most Samsung Galaxy phones, Motorola Droids, Nexus (4,5,7) and several LG smartphones among others, then this wireless charger will work for you.

PowerSquare is part of the Wireless Power Consortium that developed the the Qi interface standard and includes OEMs like Asus, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Blackberry and Sony. This means that when they finally roll out the product, they will have official certification for Qi-wireless charging compatibility. While wireless charging is still in its early stages, early adaptors will probably appreciate and spend for a device like this.

Now as to how much this will cost and where you’ll be able to buy PowerSquare, that is still unclear at this moment. While their website says it will be available in the market by the end of 2014, there is still no specific date and price range for it. If you want to be one of the first to order it, you can register your email address on their official website and they’ll send an email when they’re already accepting reservations and orders.

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Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 4.14.28 PM

SOURCE: PowerSquare

VIA: SlashGear

Report: T-Mobile Phones Last Longer on Battery Than AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Counterparts

Posted by wicked August - 6 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

T-Mobile has added more customers in the past 15 months than the three other major carriers combined, but the cellular provider may be distinguished in at least one other, more important way. According to tests conducted by Laptop Mag, T-Mobile phones last consistently longer on battery than their AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon counterparts. 

Laptop Mag’s test, which consists of disabling Bluetooth, NFC, and Wi-Fi and  browsing 50 websites until power drains completely, measured a marked battery increase in T-Mobile variants of popular smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy S5, for example, lasted more than three hours longer than the Verizon model, while the HTC One (M8) lasted two hours longer than the AT&T version. Even older handsets like the Galaxy S4 exhibited the same behavior – the T-Mobile variant lasted an hour longer than the Sprint variant.

Averaged over a 3-year period, Laptop Mag reports that T-Mobile phones typically last 8 hours and 11 minutes on battery, Sprint devices 7:34, AT&T 7:26, and Verizon 7:12.

What are the reasons for the disparity? Laptop Mag ruled out location – they had a writer run the same tests in a different city. The publication postulates that T-Mobile’s network could be sending and receiving data more efficiently than others. Another contributing factor could be the relative lack of bloatware T-Mobile pre-installs on its devices. Whatever the reason, “Uncarrier” subscribers have yet another reason to gloat.

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Via: Laptop Mag

Report: T-Mobile Phones Last Longer on Battery Than AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Counterparts is a post from: Droid Life

Qi spec to include resonance for long distance charging

Posted by wicked August - 1 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Wireless charging, once seen simply as an eccentricity, is becoming more common as more devices and accessories advertise the feature. Taking the widely-used Qi standard to the next level, the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) revealed what’s in store in the upcoming version 1.2 of the specification: resonant charging or the ability to charge a device without having it lie directly on the charging plate.

The current Qi v1.1 specification only has support for a gap of 5 to 7 mm between the power transmitter, like a charging pad, and the receiver, like a smartphone. The WPC, however, believes there is definitely room for improvement and so has invested in resonant inductive technology to take wireless charging even further, literally. Last month, the WPC met at Leeuwarden to give an update on the planned v1.2 of the specification and the results they are now sharing are quite impressive. Regular v1.1 receivers are now able to extended the charging distance from 7 mm to 30 mm. But with v1.2 prototypes, it can be extended even further to 45 mm.

qi-v1-2-1

Before you write this off as a minor improvement or a simple gimmick, imagine the implications of this distant charging. The first is that wireless chargers will no longer be limited to the present forms they take today, basically flat or inclined plates that require users to place their devices directly on the surface. Now power transmitters can be embedded deeper into everyday household objects, like furniture, desks, and other structures. Second, charging multiple devices will also be easier. Qi v1.1 actually already supports charing multiple devices at the same time but, given the spatial restrictions above, it is hardly ideal, practical, or cheap. In v1.2, a single transmitter can charge multiple devices no matter where they are placed, as long as they are within a 45 mm radius.

Users and manufacturers of current Qi-compatible devices and accessories need not worry about the new spec, as the WPC is making sure that both versions will be compatible with each other. That is, a v1.1 receiver can be charged on a v1.2 transmitter, and a v1.2 receiver can be charged on a v1.1 trasnmitter, albeit withouth the maximum benefits of the new distance. It almost does sound like a dream come true, except that the WPC will still need to actually finalize this new version of the specification before manufacturers can even start applying it to products that we can all actually buy.

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SOURCE: Wireless Power Consortium (1), (PDF)

Best Portable Chargers

Posted by wicked July - 29 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Smartphone technology has come a really long way in quite a short time, essentially rendering quite a few “taken for granted” technologies obsolete. As we continue to grow more and more dependent on our smartphones, an aspect of these devices that is becoming increasingly frustrating is battery life. While OEMs do help you get the most out of the battery with baked in battery saver modes and features, quite a few users might find it difficult to get a full day of use out of their smartphones.

Best portable batteries chargers feature-1

Samsung and LG have attempted to alleviate the problem by offering smartphones featuring replaceable batteries, that isn’t an option available with every device out there. That is where portable chargers come in. Giving you the option of charging your phone on the fly, with varying capacities allowing you to even get a full charge, portable battery power banks have become a key accessory for consumers.

Just like with the other top accessories lists I’ve tackled, I’ll be doing a mini review, of sorts, for each product, and listing their pros and cons. Here’s a look at the some of the best portable chargers available!

LimeFuel L156x

Best portable charger limefuel-3

The first portable charger on this list is the LimeFuel L156x. Coming in at $49.99, the release of an upgraded version, the L156X Pro at the same price point, has resulted in the price of this version of the portable charger to drop to $39.99. Apart from the difference in price, the Pro edition features the benefit of 4 charging ports, as opposed to the 2 ports available with my version. Even with well over a thousand reviews, the LimeFuel L156x still boasts a 4.6 rating on Amazon, mostly because of the massive capacity of 15,600 mAh that it offers, which is a lot of juice at quite a reasonable price point.

Best portable charger limefuel-5

Considering its capacity, the portable charger isn’t that much larger than some smartphones. It features a solid brick-like build quality, but is surprisingly light. The build material is a soft touch plastic reminiscent of the Nexus 7 (2013) and the black version of the Nexus 5. The charger comes with an LED indicator on the side, that shows how much power is left. It also comes with an useful auto off and on feature, which means that when the charger is not in use, it automatically turns off after just a few moments, and also turns on when something is plugged in.

Best portable charger limefuel-6

A simple USB cable is to charge your devices, and the cable that comes with the device is a 2-in-1, with a microUSB port, as well as a lightning bolt, that is compatible with the latest iOS devices. Charging speeds are decent, especially while charging smartphones, but things are a little slower when it comes to tablets. Another addition, that may be something you won’t be using as often, is a built-in flashlight.

The Bottom Line

Best bang for the buck

PROS
  • Massive 15,600 mAh capacity
  • Solid build quality and surprisingly light
  • More than reasonable price tag
CONS
  • Slow charging speed for tablets
  • Newer Pro version already available

9.0

Offering large capacity, and a relatively compact design, the Limefuel Blast 156X will charge your phone fast and wont break the bank.

Anker Astro 5E

Best portable charger Anker Astro 5E -1

The next portable charger on the list has received even more customer reviews than previous device, at over 2,700, but has managed to maintain a similar rating of 4.6. This portable charger is the Anker Astro 5E. It is actually quite similar to the LimeFuel charger, and offers 2 charging ports, comes with an auto-off feature and also includes a flashlight.

Best portable charger Anker Astro 5E -2

Similarities abound when it comes to the features, but the real differences are with regards to the physical appearance. The Anker charger isn’t as long as the LimeFuel one, but is quite a bit heavier, and you get 4 LED indicators to show how much power is left. The housing is glossy, and slick to the touch, which was one of the reasons why I found myself reaching for the LimeFuel portable charger more often than not.

Best portable charger Anker Astro 5E -5

Priced at $39.99, and boasting a whopping 15,000 mAh capacity, this is definitely a more than decent portable charger option, and all the cons that were mentioned don’t particularly draw away from the experience.

The Bottom Line

A power bank with a large capacity

PROS
  • Large 15,000 mAh capacity
  • Auto off feature
  • High rating
CONS
  • Compact but heavy
  • Glossy plastic build makes it slippery

8.5

While glossy and a bit bulky, the Anker Astro 5e won’t let you down, and can charge your phone in a flash thanks to its 2 amp charging port.

RAVPower Xtreme

Best portable charger RavPower Xtreme Series-1

The next charger on the list, the RAVPower Xtreme, certainly stretches the limits of the definition of the word “portable.” Giving you the option to charge three devices simultaneously and boasting an amazing 23,000 mAh capacity, you get 2 USB ports for mobile devices, and a multi-voltage port that allow you to charge your laptop, Surface tablet, and more.

Best portable charger RavPower Xtreme Series-2

While offering a lot, a compromise has been made with regards to portability. The unit itself is very large, with twice the thickness and half the length of my laptop. But what it loses in comfort, it makes up for with compatibility. You get a slew of tips that can be used to connect to almost every mobile device and laptop available, with the only missing adapters being what are needed for Apple products. An LCD display shows you the voltage being used and how much battery is left, and it also comes with an auto-off feature.

Best portable charger RavPower Xtreme Series-3

If you’re looking for a single power bank to take care of the needs of all your devices, the RAVPower Xtreme is certainly the way to go. If you’re requirements aren’t too extreme, no pun intended, the $99.99 price tag may feel a little too steep.

The Bottom Line

A portable charger to cover all your charging needs

PROS
  • Large 23,000 mAh capacity
  • Multiple connectors included to cover almost every device
  • Can charge three devices simultaneously
  • Can charge laptops
CONS
  • Very big and heavy
  • High price point

8.0

If you want a charger that can charge a wide variety of devices, than look no further than the RAVPower Extreme.

TYLT Energi 2K Travel Charger

Best portable charger TYLT Energi 2k Travel Charger-4

The smallest charger on the list is the recently-released TLYT Energi 2K Travel Charger. This charger is quick to charge, and plugs into the AC socket directly, and automatically turns off when the charging is done. This charger offers a capacity of just 2,200 mAh battery, and is meant to provide you with a bump charge for your device. Basically, if you’re running out of battery, you can get a decent charge up to around 60%, that should give you more than enough time to get to a charger.

Best portable charger TYLT Energi 2k Travel Charger-3

The charger has different colour indicators to show low battery, but these LEDs are low powered, making them tough to see outside. I was also hoping that I’d be able to charge this device using a cable instead of just connecting it to the wall plug, which would have also added to the ultra-portable nature of this charger.

Best portable charger TYLT Energi 2k Travel Charger-1

The TYLT Energi 2K Travel Charger successfully met its Kickstarter goals, and is now available to general consumers for $39.99. As with every TYLT product, this charger is also available in numerous colour options.

The Bottom Line

The best portable charger for emergencies

PROS
  • Ultra portable
  • Can be charged by connecting to AC wall plug directly
  • Multiple colour options
CONS
  • Only 2,200 mAh capacity
  • High price for the available capacity

6.5

Compact, convenient, and highly portable, the TYLT Energi can be a real lifesaver for those always on the move.

ReVIVE ReStore RA4

Best portable batteries chargers Revive Restore RA4-1

Finally, we have a charger that actually doesn’t come with a built-in battery, but instead offers something unique. The ReVIVE ReStore RA4 comes with 4 solar panels that come in a folded design, that span 3 feet when spread out completely. The solar panels absorb as much energy as possible, but it’s important to note that if it doesn’t manage to store enough charge, it won’t charge your device at all.

Best portable batteries chargers Revive Restore RA4-3

If it does store enough, it will charge your device, and does so quickly, with a speed similar to what you’d get if the smartphone was plugged into your computer. The charger comes with pockets to store the device and USB connectors in, and comes with nylon loops that let you attach it to anything.

Best portable batteries chargers Revive Restore RA4-1

The ReVIVE ReStore is ideal for anyone out camping, or if whenever you find yourself outdoors for an extended period of time, without a convenient power source.

The Bottom Line

The best portable charger for the outdoors

PROS
  • Ideal for the outdoors
  • Pockets to hold device and USB connectors
  • Unique concept
CONS
  • If enough charge is not stored, will not charge device

8.0

For outdoor types and those often away from an outlet for days at a time, the ReVive ReStore is perfect for campers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Let us know what you use to stay juiced while on the move!

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