Portable batteries and chargers are a dime a dozen these days. Who needs another boring battery or cable? Nobody, right?
Luckily, there are plenty of companies out there doing something far more interesting when it comes to powering all the gadgets travelers carry with them.
From a luggage scale that keeps your smartphone running, to turning your hotel’s bedside lamp into a USB charger, and much more, any of these gadgets would make a great gift for business or leisure travelers these holidays. Even better, they’re all under $100.
Travelers have been having “charge anxiety” with their gadgets for years. Tech is improving in every other area, but gadgets that barely last a day are still normal. Portable batteries for phones and tablets are common, but if you travel with Apple’s fancy smartwatch, you’ve been very short of mobile charging options.
Kanex has come to the rescue, with its GoPower Watch battery. Its 4000mAh capacity lets you recharge an Apple Watch up to six times, and the USB socket on the side lets you top up your iPhone (or any other USB-powered gadget) at the same time.
Roughly three inches square, an inch high and weighing under 5oz, it’s a practical size and weight for travel, with a space gray finish. For under a hundred dollars, it’s a great gift for the smartwatch-toting traveler in your life.
Combining a charger and portable battery, the Bump is a small, attractive and affordable option for travelers. When in reach of a wall socket, just fold out the prongs and plug in. Your gadget gets powered up first, and when it’s full, the battery in the Bump gets charged instead.
The 3350mAh battery takes around three hours to charge itself and is enough to recharge an Apple or Android smartphone at least once. The lights on the front show at a glance how much juice is left.
Available in a range of colors, the Bump retails for $40.
Staying with handy combination gadgets, the Oaxis Airscale Power Bank means there’s no excuse for having a flat smartphone or being over that pesky airline weight limit.
On the charging side, the device has a 6500mAh battery, with 2.4 amp output. That’s enough for at least two or three charges of a phone or tablet at full speed.
When it comes time to weigh that overstuffed suitcase, the included strap and hook connects to the AirScale in a second or two. Attach the strap to a bag or case, lift it off the ground, and the digital readout shows anything up to a maximum of 88 pounds.
It’s a slim, attractive device, easy to use, and small enough to be dropped into a handbag or daypack.
Cameras like the GoPro are great for capturing the action on an adventure vacation, but their small size means battery life isn’t great.
The GoPuck 6XR is a rugged portable battery that charges phones, tablets, cameras and more at full speed, and can be attached to a mounting bracket that locks it solidly in place underneath a GoPro. That’s ideal for long video shoots on a road trip, cycling adventure or other lengthy escapade.
The 9000mAh capacity is good for a battery this size, and two devices can be charged simultaneously. For a multi-purpose charger equally at home in a daypack as it is strapped to the handlebars of a mountain bike, it’s hard to go past the GoPuck 6XR.
For those who regularly stay in hotels, having power sockets in the right place is an endless frustration. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve had to charge my phone on the other side of the room overnight and still hope I heard the alarm, because there wasn’t a socket anywhere near the bed.
One thing that’s almost always beside the bed, however, is a lamp – and that’s where the LampChamp comes in. You simply unscrew the lightbulb, replace it with this device, and screw the bulb back into the top. Lo and behold, you’ve now got a USB socket (and a light) in a far more useful spot.
The 2 amp socket can charge phones and tablets at full speed, and there’s an on/off switch to control the light. It’s a simple, ingenious product, small, light and inexpensive enough to justify its place in your carry-on.