Battery life must be the single biggest issue that most of us obsess about when it comes to our gadgets. And who can blame us? After all, our phones have become our lifelines, and does an activity even count if your tracker lost power halfway through and didn’t register all your exertion? Perhaps it’s little surprise that power packs, or portable chargers, have become such a must-have. Here’s what you need to know.
Swift and compact, this on-the-go solution comes in various colors and juices up most phones three times. Anker
If you’re trying to slim down your backpack or purse, you really don’t want to be hefting around a heavy charger as well as your devices, so check the weight and size of the power pack you’re buying before you purchase. The greater the capacity (see next section), the heavier it’s likely to be, so you might want to decide which is more important to you.
Power packs are given a rating for their capacity—basically how much energy they can store. This figure is given in milliamp hours – or mAh. If you also know the capacities of the batteries in the devices you want to charge, that can give you a good gauge of how many charges you might get out of your power pack. So, for example, an iPhone 11 has a 3110 mAh battery which means a 10,000 mAh power pack will deliver about three charges. While a MacBook Air has roughly a 5100 mAh battery so you won’t quite get two full charges for that from the same portable charger.
It’s also worth thinking about whether you want to charge more than one device at a time and, if so, seeking out a portable charger that has two USB outputs. On that note, don’t confuse input and output ports! Some power packs will allow you to charge the pack itself using a USB-C cable but will require a regular USB cable to charge an external device, so make sure you’ve got the outputs and the cables that you need for the devices you want to charge.