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Tag Archives: Batteries

Hefty Backup Battery For The MacBook Air Runs On Old-Timey C Cells

MacBook Air Backup Battery (Images courtesy Bird Electron)
By Andrew Liszewski

One of the trade-offs to carrying the slim and svelte MacBook Air is that you can’t swap out the battery with a backup if you’re away from a power source. But that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck. Looking like something purchased from a Radio Shack back in the 80’s this external power source for the MBA runs on 8 x C-cell batteries. They’re not as easy to find as AA’s in an airport setting or convenience store, but if you manage to find enough they’ll give you an extra 2 hours use of your laptop.

When full the backup weighs in at around 2.2 pounds, so carrying it around as a ‘just in case’ power solution pretty much ends up cancelling out how light the MacBook Air feels. And besides the fairly expensive $247+ price tag, it can only be used with Apple’s MagSafe Airline Adapter, which is an extra $50. So in this case it’s almost cheaper and easier to carry a fully charged netbook to fall back on when your MBA is dead.

[ Bird Electron – MacBook Air External Power ] VIA [ Akihabara News ]

Kensington’s Transforming PowerLift Back-Up Battery

Kensington PowerLift Back-Up Battery (Images courtesy Kensington)
By Andrew Liszewski

Unless they’re built into a sleeve, most backup batteries designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch are monstrous affairs that really take the portability out of your handheld gadgets. But Kensington’s new PowerLift, a 1,200 mAh lithium-ion polymer backup battery, embraces its size and bulkiness, transforming into a sturdy dock with a built-in connector that also happens to grant your device 20 more hours of music playback, 5 more hours of video, 3.5 more hours of talk and even an extra hour and a half of FaceTime.

It’s even got a built-in USB cable so it’s completely self-contained when you’re away from home, and a set of LEDs lets you know how much juice it’s still got left. $49.99, currently available for pre-order from Kensington.

[ Kensington PowerLift Back-Up Battery ]

Octopus Backup Battery For Your iDevices

Octopus Backup Battery (Images courtesy Chinavasion)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m an advocate for carrying the iPhone and iPod naked, sans-a-case. So when it comes to backup batteries, which I feel is a must-have accessory, I opt for solutions that aren’t built into a sleeve or a case. Like Duracell’s instant charger I reviewed last year. The downside to those though? They end up hanging off your device like a pair of wet mittens tethered to your winter coat. But here’s a nice compromise.

The Octopus, which features a 1500 mAH lithium-ion polymer battery good for an extra 4 hours of talk time, 5 hours of video or 18 hours of audio on the iPhone/iPod Touch, temporarily connects to the dock connector when needed but secures itself to the actual device via a set of suction cups on the back. Hence the name, the Octopus. Its battery takes about 3 hours to charge over USB, and roughly the same time to recharge a dead iPhone, but the best feature is the extremely reasonable price tag of around just $30 from Chinavasion.

[ Octopus Back Battery ] VIA [ 7Gadgets ]

Keychain Friendly USB Equipped Backup Battery

Portable USB Power Supply (Image courtesy ThinkGeek)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s not going to provide all of your power needs during a major outage, but in a pinch I’m sure this compact, rechargeable 1,000mAh backup battery will come in quite handy if your cellphone or MP3 player is on the verge of conking out, and you have no access to an outlet. Now claiming this thing is keychain-sized is a bit of a stretch, you can’t just slap a metal ring on any old thing and expect people to cram it in their pockets. But it is compact enough to stash in a carry-on bag, glove compartment or murse if you think your devices won’t last as long as you need them to.

In terms of size it looks pretty comparable to Duracell’s Instant USB Charger that I reviewed last October and deemed a must-have accessory, but at just $19.99 this alternative from ThinkGeek is actually $10 cheaper. And it comes with everything you’ll need including USB cables and charging tips for Nokia, Samsung, SE and Blackberry phones.

[ Portable USB Power Supply ]

Ugly Wristband Recharges Your Gadgets.

By Chris Scott Barr

Don’t you hate it when you see one of those good ideas that’s been poorly executed? I believe that this Orca PowerStrap falls into that category. Imagine, if you will, a fashionable bracelet that houses a battery. You can plug in a variety of mobile gadgets into the bracelet to recharge them while you’re using them. Sounds pretty neat, right?

Enter the $65 Orca PowerStrap. It’s everything mentioned above, minus the word fashionable. Rather, it is big and ugly. I understand that batteries can only be made so small before they’re unable to hold a decent charge. However, if the product isn’t something you’d want to wear most of the time, it really defeats the purpose.

[ Iwantoneofthose ] VIA [ Dvice ]

SolidMicro PadPower iPad Case

SolidMicro PadPower iPad Case (Image courtesy SolidMicro)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s hard to complain about the iPad’s battery life. It isn’t infinite, but it will easily last for even the longest of intercontinental flights and then some. However, that’s not stopping 3rd party accessory makers from creating external battery packs, even though I can’t imagine the demand is as great as it is for the iPhone. SolidMicro is the latest to create a case/battery combo that features a hefty 6,000mAh battery that provides up to 2.4X the iPad’s standard battery life. Pricing is still TBA it seems, but I’m pretty sure most users won’t even bother if it ends up in the $100+ ballpark, which is most likely.

[ SolidMicro PadPower iPad Case ] VIA [ Akihabara News ]

Brother Unveils AA Batteries That Recharge From Shaking

By Chris Scott Barr

Last week we showed you a review of some AA batteries that could be recharged by using a USB port on your computer. While it’s great to not need a special charger for your batteries, wouldn’t it be great if they could recharge themselves without being hooked up to another power source? That’s exactly what Brother is trying to do with these Vibration-Powered Generating Batteries.

Essentially the technology inside these batteries is similar to the flashlights that can be powered by shaking them. Since both the battery and generator are both packed into a AA-sized enclosure, the output is very minimal. Currently they can only produce around 100mW of unsustained power. While that may not seem like much, it would be perfect for TV remotes, which generally use less than 100mW. This could mean having a remote that never needs the batteries changed. I’m down with that.

[ TechOn ] VIA [ CrunchGear ]

OhGizmo! Review – USBCell AA Batteries

By Chris Scott Barr

Batteries. Let’s face it, you probably can’t live your daily live without relying on them. They’re in your car, your laptop, and even the remote to your TV. It’s likely that the most common ones that you actually have to change are of the AA and AAA variety. These tend to power smaller devices like keyboards, mice, game controllers and the like. They also tend to run out of juice when you need them the most.

If you rely on AA and AAA batteries for a lot of your gadgets, then you’ve no doubt invested in a few sets of rechargeables. This is a great economic way to make sure that you always have a fresh set around (without having to keep buying new ones all the time). Now if you’re on the road a lot with these battery-loving gadgets, you don’t want to clutter up your luggage with another charger, do you? Of course not. Instead, what you need are batteries that can be recharged without a special adapter. These USBCell batteries seem like just the thing.

At first glance, these seem like the perfect solution for the road warrior. They are a set of AA batteries, which have built-in USB adapters. You simply insert each into a free USB port on your computer, and they will start charging up. The question is whether or not they’re actually worth buying.

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Microsoft Instaload Lets You Install Batteries In Any Direction

By Chris Scott Barr

How many times have you gotten a new gadget and had to squint to decipher the little diagram that tells you which way to insert the batteries? Sure, sometimes it’s pretty obvious which end is negative thanks to a little spring coil, but not everything has one. While this is only the most minor of inconveniences, it could actually be a thing of the past next to Microsoft.

Microsoft isn’t the first company that comes to mind when I think about AA batteries. However, they have developed a new technology called InstaLoad that will allow you to insert these (and CR123, AAA, C and D) batteries in either direction.  You might not find this to be terribly important for yourself, but those with poor vision and fine motor skills will no doubt find this invaluable. Microsoft is currently working with a number of companies, including Durcell, to get this technology into various consumer electronic products.

[ Microsoft ] VIA [ Gizmag ]