Did you really go on holiday if you haven’t snapchatted it? Keeping connected when on the road is becoming more and more vital as our mobile phones become ever increasingly important parts of our daily lives. In recent years, technology has advanced rapidly trying to combat the dreaded ‘low battery’ warning. This has partly worked alongside the renewable and energy harvesting push; however, the most popular method, predictably, is non-renewable. So, what are your options and how do you evaluate which choice is the best for you? Below you’ll see some of the most popular and interesting portable mobile phone chargers, hopefully one of them will be ideal for your next trip.
Just recently it seems that every man and his dog has a power bank. Over recent years a huge surge in popularity has seen power banks rise to become the number one go-to for portable phone charging. They work by storing electricity from a standard mains socket like a rechargeable battery then releasing it into your phone when plugged in via a USB cable. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, generally assessed by their milliamp hour (mAh) capacity. When buying your own power bank it is important to choose one of high quality, primarily focusing on the brand quality and mAh capacity. Here is the approximate charging expectations for each capacity level:
1,500 mAh – One complete smartphone charge
5,600 mAh – Two or three complete smartphone charges
10,000 mAh – Four complete smartphone charges
20,000 mAh – Seven complete smartphone charges
Bear in mind that you can really get the most out of your power bank if you don’t use your phone while charging. Another good idea would be to put it into aeroplane mode to further increase the speed of charge. You should also consider that the bigger the capacity of your power bank, the longer it is going to take to charge up when you’re at a mains outlet. Some power banks can take up to 25 hours to charge, which, if you’re going travelling with little electricity access, is just not going to be an option.
Kinetic energy is that used in all moving objects. Kinetic chargers use this energy to create useable electric potential. This is generally done by attaching said charger to a body part, such as the arm or leg, that will create the best motion required to generate as much energy as possible. At present, this type of charger is still in its early stages of development; however, it definitely has potential, and has shown it in the available models. Chargers such as the ‘AMPY Move’ and the ‘nPower PEG’ have had quite an amount of commercial success; however, they have been criticised for not powering up the storage function efficiently enough, which is a clear sign of its need to iron out the creases.
Whether you decide to buy one of these chargers or not (whether that be now or in the future), it entirely depends on the type of person you are and the type of trip you are going to be taking. A kinetic charger will only serve its purpose if you are going to be partaking in sufficient physical activity to make it worthwhile. The only way to charge your phone using one of these is to shake and move the device in its optimal motion for a sustained period of time. If this is not suitable for your trip, then you may want to consider purchasing a different type of charger.
Solar panel chargers
In terms of renewable generation in the household, whether that be on a small scale or large scale, solar panels are without a doubt that most popular choice in the UK. Developments over recent years on their efficiency levels has proved them to be a truly worthwhile investment and has seen them become even more commonplace in daily life, so much so that they are now being used in portable phone chargers. Using the power of the sun, solar panel chargers will charge your phone in both real time and store energy in their power bank feature (not available in all models). Ensuring that your charger does have a storage feature is a great way to combat the lack of energy during the night.
Solar panel chargers are a great choice for those going to countries with high levels of sunlight. However, it is not restrictive to only hot countries; most solar panels now charge in extremely low light, sometimes even moonlight. Obviously the more intense sunlight that your panel is exposed to, the better, but they are becoming ever more impressive by the minute, so don’t worry too much about the climate of the country you’re going to.
When purchasing your solar panel charger, you should think about the overall quality of the brand, not just the size of your panel. Ideally, you want an extremely efficient pocket-sized panel for maximum portability, that will charge your phone equally as well as a larger panel type. As mentioned earlier as well, you should also make sure that your charger has a storage feature so you can charge your phone whenever you want, not just in times of great sunlight.