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When you need to power up


We’ve become so attached to our smartphones/“phablets”/tablets that by the time lunch break rolls by, our devices are just as hungry for power.

Though regular smartphones are equipped with batteries meant to last a full day or two, usage and network status decide to a large extent just how long your device’s battery would last.

If you find yourself on the go most of the time and in need of a mobile recharge, then a backup battery is a must. External batteries or power banks have become a necessity, now that today’s powerful pocket devices guzzle just as much juice.

Battery packs also come in handy during this typhoon season when strong rains and winds wreak havoc on electrical lines and brownouts become an expected and regular occurrence.  Handy battery packs keep us connected to our loved ones especially in cases of extreme emergency.

How to choose your power bank

Power banks come in different kinds of mAh or milliamp hours. The higher the mAh, the longer talk, Internet or standby time it can give your device. For example, the iPhone’s built-in battery is 1,400 mAh. If you buy a power bank with the same mAh, then in effect you’re doubling your phone’s battery life since your power bank is capable of charging your device back to 100 percent.

The higher the mAh, the thicker and heavier the power bank is.  Chances are, it is also pricier since you’re buying more power.

Now if you don’t want to stuff a hard, cylindrical tube down your pocket, you may want an external battery that’s slim and discreet, but know that it doesn’t offer as much juice as its bigger counterparts.

Power banks come in two different forms: case type or an encased battery unit. The case type attaches to your phone and is device-specific. While this saves space in your bag and pocket, case-specific power banks will let you charge only that particular device-not a good buy if you have other devices that need on-the-go recharging.

Upgrading to a different device will also render your case-specific power bank useless, so you’ll have to throw it in with your phone should you decide to resell it.

Encased battery units are more advisable since you can use it to charge different devices. There are even some units that will allow you to charge two devices simultaneously.

Battery care for power banks are the same as with other rechargeable batteries. Keep them away from extreme temperatures and make sure to recharge them regularly.  Don’t allow them to drain before recharging, as this will shorten your battery’s life.

Top power banks

Choose from some of these tried and tested power banks.

1. MiLi Power Master, http://miliphil.com

This ultra-thin power bank houses 2,000 mAh-more than enough to get you through the day. You can buy two of these and get a total of 4,000 mAh and still have them tucked discreetly in your pocket.

2. MiPow Power Tube, Beyond the Box/Digital Hub/True Value

These power tubes come in bright, metallic hues and have a dedicated built-in plug for iPhone 4S/5. A USB port also lets you plug in a cable to charge micro USB devices.

3. MiLi Power King, http://miliphil.com

If you’re the type who carts different gadgets around on a daily basis, then you might want to invest in the Power King. This power pack contains a massive battery clocking at 18,000 mAh, which lets you charge any device (non-Mac laptops included).

Same battery pack, better performance

7 ways to help you conserve your battery power

1. Turn off unnecessary settings.

If you don’t need to transfer files or use an external accessory, turn off your Bluetooth.

2. Turn off WiFi/cellular data.

If you are located in an area where signal is poor, your phone’s constant search for a signal contributes to faster battery drain, so turn off your cellular data or, if you are not expecting any call, put your device in Airplane Mode for the time being.

3. Decrease brightness.

Dimming your device’s display will help your battery last longer.

4. Close unused background apps.

Apps running in the background consume a lot of memory, and consequently, battery juice as well.

5. Decrease notifications.

Do you really need to be notified that you haven’t played Candy Crush in a while? Turn off unnecessary push notifications to games and apps.

6. Decrease e-mail fetch settings.

When your e-mail is set to “fetch,” it bugs the mail server every 30 minutes to an hour (depending on how frequent you’ve set it), which can be a drain on your battery. Turn off fetch settings or even better, set it to manual instead.

7. Disable location services.

Some apps may be activating location services (like Instagram) and this consumes battery. Turn off location services in settings and limit the apps that have access to it (it’s also good for your privacy). •

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