Life is too short, at least for a smartphone these days.
Many users find themselves searching anxiously for charging points when battery life is quickly draining from their phones. A student was fined in January for using an electrical socket at an MRT station to charge her mobile phone. But SMRT has recently set up charging stations at four train stations so commuters can juice up their devices on the go.
Thankfully, a mind-boggling range of external battery packs and portable chargers is flourishing on the market for avid users to prolong the battery life of their devices.
However, some cheap and non-compliant chargers might pose a danger. An Australian woman died in April from apparent electrocution after using a sub-standard USB-style phone charger. And last month, a powerbank burst into flames in a MRT train, causing panic among passengers.
Check out our picks for the five best external battery packs that can rev up your smartphone on the go.
For maximum safety: Innergie PocketCell Duo
This battery pack comes with two USB ports for charging two different devices at the same time. Its 6800mAh capacity allows one to charge an iPhone up to four times, extend an iPod's charge for more than 150 hours and an iPad for more than seven hours.
Measuring roughly 94 by 43 by 23mm and weighing around 132g, the Innergie PocketCell Duo is small enough to fit into your pocket despite its fairly large power capacity.
The best thing about the Duo is that there are built-in precautions for itself and your devices. Blinking lights indicate when your device is fully charged, and the Duo's overpower protection stops the charging process, preventing your phone from overcharging. It also switches off after 10 seconds of idleness to save energy.
A three-in-one USB cord is included with the Innergie PocketCell Duo, allowing users to store a mini USB, micro USB and 30-pin Apple cord in one unit.
The Duo is sold at NuBox stores for $119.
For best portability: Juno Power Hue Kard
One of the thinnest batteries in the world, the Hue Kard still packs a punch with a 4000mAh capacity, enough to fuel an iPhone 4S for an additional 26 hours and an iPhone 5, 5C or 5S for an additional 20 hours.
Only 7.5mm thick and weighing 125g, the Hue Kard charges an iPhone 5 at a rate of one and a half per cent per minute. Its on-off switch is also a touch "button" that shows the battery's indicator lights.
Sleek and lightweight, it looks like an iPod with an aluminium back.
For speedy charging and built-in cables: MyCharge Hub 6000 Power Bank
The Hub 6000 contains a micro USB cable, a lightning cable, a USB port and an outlet prong for wall charging, all within its battery pack. None of them is exposed, but hidden within rubber protectors that fit perfectly in a lightweight plastic package.
It charges on all three ports simultaneously, giving a total of 27 extra hours of talk time. The power indicator button shows how much power is left in the battery by colour: green for 71 to 100 per cent, yellow for 41 to 70 per cent, red for 11 to 40 per cent and flashing red for 0 to 10 per cent.
The Hub measures 114 by 64 by 28mm and weighs approximately 263g, and is said to charge faster than a wall charger.
For maximum capacity: IOGEAR GMP10K by GearPower
If you are looking for a long-lasting powerful external battery to juice up all your devices on long trips, or if you tend to neglect charging your portable charger, this is the one to get.
The massive 11mAh capacity of GearPower's IOGEAR GMP10K allows six re-charges of the iPhone 5 and, unlike many portable charges on the market, also charges tablets. It measures 121 by 76 by 19mm.
Multiple USB ports enable simultaneous charging of different devices, and a built-in IC chip stops charging once the device has been fully charged to avoid damaging the batteries.
For best value: Anker Astro Mini 3000mAh Ultra Compact Portable Charger
This cylindrical portable charger weighs just 76.5g and measures 89 by 23 by 23mm, so it fits nicely into a small bag or a pocket.
For $40, its PowerIQ technology charges your device quickly up to 1 amp, and is compatible with nearly every smartphone on the market.
The compact charger allows one full charge on the iPhone and most Android phones, and an almost full charge on the Samsung Galaxy S5. When not in use, it automatically shuts off to save energy.
This article was first published on July 23, 2014.
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