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Saturday, November 9, 2013

1414. Extra Battery or Case to Extend Phone Life


I have a friend whose phone battery never lasts past 2PM. She’s done all the standard things to help extend battery life (turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when they’re not needed, turning off location services for most apps, turning down the screen brightness, and so on) but she still can’t get a full day’s use from the device. What are her options now?
We certainly know the feeling—we have all these settings configured appropriately, yet our batteries run dry midday sometimes as well! If you’re travelling in an area with poor cell coverage, for example, your phone spends far too much effort trying to connect to the cell network, and this effort can run your battery down.
To extend your battery life, assuming you’ve made all the appropriate software settings, your next best bet is to invest in some sort of external battery. The simplest option is to examine the various battery cases that are available for your device. A battery case is a combination of a standard phone case with an external battery, and clearly, this sort of case must be designed specifically for your phone. For popular phones, you’ll find a plethora of different manufacturers providing these cases. For the iPhone 5/5s, the WireCutter web site recommends the Lenmar Meridian so far (the options grow daily): http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-iphone-5-battery-case-is-the-lenmar-meridian-so-far/. Popular manufacturers include Belkin and Mophie (http://www.belkin.com and http://www.mophie.com).
If you’d prefer a more generalized solution, you can pick up one of the many different external battery packs. These small devices are available in various sizes; the power of the battery is measured in milliamp hours (mAH) and in general, the larger the number of mAH that the battery provides, the better. Most of these battery packs work the same way: You charge the battery at home, and then carry it with you to charge your device while away from a power source. The larger the battery, of course, the less convenient you’ll find it to carry the battery with you. The iPhone 5, for example, includes a 1445 mAH battery. An external battery pack that supplies 5000 mAH can charge this phone at least three times when it’s fully charged. The new iPad Air has an 8820 mAH battery, so the same battery pack wouldn’t be able to completely charge the iPad Air. There are so many of these batteries available, it’s hard to recommend the right one for you. You can check out the review on The Wirecutter (http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-usb-battery-pack/), although the field of options changes daily. The nice part about using an external battery pack is that it can work with any device, and isn’t tied to any specific form factor. Ken has this highly recommended model: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0089DZNS4/?tag=thewire06-20. Your best bet is to search online for “external battery pack review” and see what turns up.




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