Portable devices have the uncanny habit of running out of power at the worst possible moment: in the middle of a meeting, while you are on the road, or when you are due to make an important phone call.
These scenarios can be a thing of the past if you just invest in a standby battery-powered charger.
Dozens of portable battery packs, if not hundreds, are available there out, and it’s confusing which one to pick.
I’ve spent the last three years trying different batteries to solve this very problem. My obsession was sparked off by my experience living off-grid in a vintage RV that ran on solar power. The experience showed me how indispensable good batteries are when you are relying on solar power.
I had an excellent 12-V battery bank in the bus, and I ultimately realized that portable batteries are multipurpose. Since most of my time was spent outside the RV, I found that portable power gave me the flexibility I needed to take energy with me wherever I needed it, even with no plug.
You don’t need to be living off-grid in a solar set up to appreciate the convenience of a battery-powered portable charger. Follow our guide to finding the perfect battery-powered charger for you.
It is hard to choose one overall best battery charger, because what i’s “best” is the device that needs charging. Your phone’s best charger could be useless on a laptop.
With that out of the way, during my testing, one battery charger brand easily stood out. Nimble’s 5-Day portable charger does the best job of balancing weight (a respectable 12 ounces) and power whenever I need it. I’ve used it for over a year and seldom venture outside without it. The 48-Wh battery charges a 12-inch iPad and keeps my phone on for about a week.
That said, many batteries out there can do the same. But I like Nimble more because of their commitment to the environment. Batteries are potential environmental hazards.
They have cobalt and lithium as well as other rare metals whose supply chains are replete with abuse both to the environment and harms communities.
Nimble has a policy of reducing environmental impact using plastic-free and bioplastics materials as well as minimal packaging to reduce environmental impact. Plastic-free packaging can’t save the world, but that little thing, added to the already great product, make Nimble charger my pick.
Best for Phones
The Anker PowerCore Slim is a lightweight, tiny, and fast charger for mobile phones. It powers up an iPhone up to 3 times, and the 37-watt-hour battery easily charges the Fire HD 8 tablet twice.
The device can charge as fast as your phone handles. I use it to jumpstart camera batteries when I am not at home. All Anker’s chargers have a nice pouch case that is good for storing cords.
Best for Tablets
The Nimble charger has a lot in common with my top pick. It’s heavier than the 5-Day charger model-power – there is always a trade-off – but if you have many devices to charge, this can easily take you through a long weekend.
The battery does not have twice the 5-Day capacity. It clocking to 72 watt-hours electricity. You may charge up to 3 devices at a go or 2 as you recharge the battery pack itself.
Has one full-size USB port and two USB-C ports. Can fully charge most tablets 2-3 times.
Best for Laptops
Several manufacturers probably test chargers on MacBooks. If you especially have a MacBook Air, any big battery charger should be fine (so long as it can deliver 45 watts). Those who got other laptops will require more research. Laptops charging through USB power delivery differ significantly on the amount of power needed. I’ve tested machines ranging from 30 to over 100 watts. Check your laptop’s specifications against the battery you want to buy to ensure compatibility before you invest.
The Mophie Powerstation 3XL isn’t cheap but has worked with various laptops. It’s nice, but the actual benefit is that it’s not likely to scratch other things in the bag. Battery chargers are heavy, definitely scratching high-end screens – of course, your Fire HD tablets.
Has one full-size USB port and one USB-C port. Can fully charge most laptops 1-2 times.
Best for Going Off-Grid
If you’re going out for some time and need power, you might need a solar panel. There are several portable panels there out, but many of them are garbage. Even when from a reputable brand, you luck a good one, ensuring you get enough incoming energy to charge your battery but connecting everything via the suitable charge controller becomes complicated, and that’s why Lightsaver Max is what I love. It’s a durable, compact, rollable solar panel with a battery, all as one unit. It’s genius, and it’s my wish if I had gone back there in RV.
The waterproof solar panels (IP 67 rated) are made from marine-grade connectors to withstand anything. The package builds up to the size of a big Maglite flashlight weighing 1.5 pounds. The 60-watt-hour battery charges various phones about 3 times before you can recharge it. The solar panel recharges the battery for about 6-8 hours of full sun in ideal conditions. In real-world situations – such as when I was canoeing, I trapped it on top of the pack – fully recharging each day. Indeed it charged more than enough keeping my devices charged. When plugged on the wall, it fully juices itself in around 3.5 hours.
If Max’s price is too high, you can go for the smaller light saver which is $100 ($120 at Amazon). It features a 12-watt-hour battery, though it lacks IP 67 waterproof panel. Still, when backpacking, 5-ounce weight is far much appealing.
Best for the Rest
Do you have devices that can’t charge through USB? Yes, they’re there. I got an old but excellent GPS device running on AA batteries, headlamps taking AAA batteries, and several other odds and ends requiring batteries. After going through many brands, I found Eneloop rechargeable batteries are the most reliable and longest-lasting. The Panasonic charger recharges any AA and AAA batteries combined in less than 3 hours, including 4 AA Eneloop rechargeable batteries.
A Great Portable Generator
If you are powering several devices for more days, a portable generator, or a portable power station, as it is often called, is what you need. Think of them as a lithium-ion replacement from the old, gasoline-powered generators. Do you need one? It’s worth considering.
If your answer is yes, Jackery Explorer 1000 is a solid starting place. It strikes the best balance between capacity, power, and ease of use. It might not be enough to run the air conditioning (it has a max output of 1,000 watts), but it should handle about anything. I used it to run all things ranging from a small refrigerator, table saw to charging all my devices. It’s portable and well made (weighing 22 pounds) and roughly a small cooler size.
It advertised at 1,002 watt-hours, which in my capacity test its managed a bit better. Charging it takes some time while, if particularly you use solar panels (sold separately), takes about one and a half days. Strongly I suggest panels worth at least 200 watts.
Exploring the Pinnacle of Television Technology: A Deep Dive into the Best TV Brands of 2023
In the ever-evolving world of consumer electronics, televisions remain a central piece of technology in most households. As we step into 2023, the quest for the best TV brand continues, with consumers seeking a blend of innovation, quality, and value. This article delves into the latest offerings from top TV brands, highlighting their unique features and technological advancements.
LG: A Leader in OLED Technology
LG G2 OLED TV
- Exceptional HDR peak brightness.
- 120 Hz refresh rate and VRR support enhance gaming experience.
- Impressive black levels suitable for movie nights.
- Strong ABL in bright environments.
- Purple tints caused by bright light reflections.
- Poor upscaling of 480p content.
- Verdict: The LG G2 stands out in lit rooms due to its peak brightness of 590.54 nits. Its HDMI 2.1 support is ideal for modern consoles, and the WebOS software offers a user-friendly experience. However, its anti-reflective coating and processor’s upscaling capabilities could be improved.
Sony: Balancing Performance and Aesthetics
Sony A90J OLED TV
- Near-perfect black levels.
- Accurate visuals at wide viewing angles.
- Impressive contrast and color gamut.
- Potential for burn-in.
- Brightness could be better compared to LCD/LED TVs.
- Lacks VRR until a firmware update.
- Verdict: The Sony A90J is a solid choice for both gaming and movies, offering crisp 4K resolution and a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Its peak brightness and burn-in potential are minor drawbacks.
Samsung: Innovating with QD-OLED Technology
Samsung S90C TV
- Near-infinite contrast ratio for perfect blacks.
- Peak brightness of 2,000 nits suitable for bright rooms.
- Wide viewing angle and low input lag/response time.
- Aggressive Auto Brightness Limiter (ABL).
- No support for DTS or Dolby Vision.
- Verdict: The Samsung S90C excels with its OLED panel, offering perfect blacks and bright highlights. Its QD-OLED technology produces vibrant colors, but the aggressive ABL can be distracting.
Hisense: Affordable Quality
- Low input lag and fantastic color and brightness.
- Supports Dolby Vision.
- Good Google Assistant integration.
- Poor viewing angles.
- Subpar built-in audio.
- Overzealous motion smoothing.
- Verdict: A great option for gamers, the Hisense U8G offers excellent contrast and color handling. However, its viewing angles and audio quality leave room for improvement.
TCL: Balancing Performance and Price
TCL 5 Series QLED TV
- Deep blacks with local dimming.
- Fast response times and low input lag.
- Low peak brightness for HDR content.
- No VRR technology or HDMI 2.1 support.
- Verdict: Ideal for casual gamers, the TCL 5 Series offers great color handling and HDR performance. Its lack of VRR and HDMI 2.1 support are notable limitations.
Vizio: Striking a Balance
Vizio M-Series Quantum X TV
- Above-average peak brightness for its price.
- HDMI 2.1 inputs and Wi-Fi 6E.
- 120Hz native refresh rate with VRR support.
- Not as bright as mini LED models.
- Only 30 local dimming zones.
- Narrow viewing angles.
- Verdict: The Vizio M-Series Quantum X offers a respectable peak brightness and a good contrast ratio. Its performance is balanced, making it a solid choice for those on a budget.
What to Look for in the Best TV Brands
When selecting a TV, consider the following:
- Image Quality: Look for strong image quality, which can be subjective based on personal preference.
- Display Technology: Understand the differences between OLED, LED, LCD, and QLED.
- Display Resolution: Choose between HD and Ultra HD (4K), with 4K being the future of display resolution.
- Refresh Rate and Audio Quality: Don’t rely solely on refresh rate marketing ploys and consider external audio solutions for better sound quality.
The best TV for you depends on your specific needs and preferences. Whether it’s the immersive experience of an OLED TV from LG or Sony, the innovative QD-OLED technology from Samsung, the affordability of Hisense and TCL, or the balanced performance of Vizio, there’s a TV out there that fits your lifestyle and budget. Remember, the best TV is one that meets your viewing habits, offers the features you need, and falls within your budget.
The Ultimate Guide to Transforming Your Living Space with the Latest Intelligent Devices
The smart home market is burgeoning with devices for every nook and cranny of your living space, and we’ve sifted through the plethora to bring you the crème de la crème, as tested and verified by the tech connoisseurs at PCMag.
Front Yard: The Vanguard of Your Smart Home
The journey into the smart home begins before you even cross the threshold. Take the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera, a sentinel in the world of outdoor security cameras. This device is not just a watchful eye but also a beacon, literally shining a light on any nocturnal activities with its integrated spotlight. Its wireless design ensures a hassle-free setup, and its compatibility with a myriad of smart home ecosystems makes it a versatile choice.
For those who prefer a warm welcome or a deterrent for uninvited guests, the Ezviz DB1C Wi-Fi Video Doorbell is a budget-friendly sentinel that lets you see, hear, and speak with whoever is at your door, all from the comfort of your smartphone.
And let’s not forget the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi, a smart lock that’s as much about brains as it is about brawn, offering multiple entry modes including fingerprint and voice commands.
Living Room: The Heart of Smart Home Comfort
Moving into the living room, the ambiance is king. The Amazon Echo Studio stands tall as a smart speaker that not only serenades you with high-fidelity music but also controls your smart home devices with the sound of your voice.
For those who prefer visual interaction, the Google Nest Hub Max smart display is a window into your digital world, allowing you to manage your home, make video calls, and even follow along with recipes in real-time.
And for a touch of ambiance, the Wyze Bulb Color offers a spectrum of colors to match your mood, all controllable with a simple voice command or a tap on your smartphone.
Kitchen: Where Smart Meets Savory
In the kitchen, the Echo Show 8 reigns supreme, providing not just a portal to your favorite recipes but also a hub for your smart home devices.
For the culinary enthusiast, the Anova Precision Oven is a marvel, allowing you to bake, roast, and steam with the precision of a professional chef.
And when the feast is over, the Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL takes the stage, a robotic vacuum that not only cleans but also empties itself, a true modern-day luxury.
Bedroom: Sanctuary of Smart Serenity
In the realm of rest, the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed offers a bespoke sleeping experience, adjusting firmness to your liking and providing insights into your sleep patterns.
For those who prefer a cooler climate, the Midea 8,000BTU U-shaped Air Conditioner offers a whisper-quiet operation and smart connectivity for those sweltering summer nights.
Bathroom: The Pinnacle of Personal Care
Even the bathroom gets a touch of tech with devices like the Simplehuman Sensor Mirror Hi-Fi, which not only simulates natural sunlight for perfect makeup application but also plays your favorite tunes to get you into the groove of the day.
In conclusion, the smart home ecosystem is rich and varied, with devices that cater to every need and whim. From the vigilant eyes of security cameras to the dulcet tones of smart speakers, the future of home automation is not just about convenience; it’s about crafting a living space that’s responsive, intuitive, and ultimately, a reflection of the people who dwell within.
As we continue to embrace these intelligent companions into our homes, it’s clear that the smart home is no longer a fringe fantasy but a tangible, transformative reality. Whether you’re a tech aficionado or a newcomer to the digital domicile, there’s never been a better time to explore the possibilities that lie at the intersection of comfort, convenience, and cutting-edge technology.
The Coolpad COOL 20+: A Budget Smartphone Worth Your Attention?
In a market flooded with budget smartphones, it’s easy to overlook new entrants. However, Coolpad, a relatively new brand in the Philippines, is making waves with its COOL 20+ model. Priced at just PHP 5,699, this phone aims to offer a decent package without breaking the bank. But how does it stack up against its competitors? Let’s dive in.
Design and Construction
- Aesthetics: The COOL 20+ sports a minimalist design, with a glass back panel that adds a touch of luxury rarely found in this price segment. The metallic flake in the paint makes the phone sparkle under bright lights, giving it a premium feel1.
- Build: The frame is made of durable plastic, and the phone comes with a rubber case for added protection.
- Port Placement: The phone features a USB-C port, loudspeakers, a dual-sim card slot that doubles as a microSD slot, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
- Ergonomics: Weighing 197.1 grams, the phone is on the heavier side and feels a bit bulky.
Display and Multimedia
- Screen: The phone features a 6.52-inch IPS LCD with relatively thick borders. The colors are decent, and the screen is bright enough for outdoor use.
- Audio: The downward-firing mono speakers are loud but not the best in terms of quality.
Performance and Benchmarks
- Chipset: The phone is powered by a MediaTek Helio G85, an older chipset first introduced in 2020.
- Memory: It comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, expandable via a microSD card.
- Gaming: The phone can handle light gaming but struggles with more graphics-intensive titles.
OS, Apps, and UI
- Operating System: The phone runs on CoolOS 2, based on Android 11, and doesn’t seem to offer an upgrade to Android 12 or 13.
- User Interface: The UI is simple and easy to use but lacks flair.
- Rear Camera: The dual rear camera setup features a 48MP main lens and a 0.3MP sensor. It performs well in well-lit conditions and even in low-light scenarios.
- Front Camera: The 5MP front camera is average but gets the job done in good lighting conditions.
Battery and Connectivity
- Battery Life: The 4500mAh battery lasted 14 hours in the PCMark battery test.
- Connectivity: Basic features like Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0, and GPS are available.
The Coolpad COOL 20+ offers a decent package for its price. While it does have its shortcomings, such as an older chipset and limited OS upgrades, it makes up for it with a good camera and a premium glass back panel. If you’re willing to overlook these limitations, the COOL 20+ could be a budget smartphone worth considering.
So, is the Coolpad COOL 20+ the budget smartphone for you? With a plethora of options available, the choice ultimately boils down to what you prioritize in a phone. But if you’re willing to try something new, the COOL 20+ might just be the phone to break the monotony.
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