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Here is the Perfect Battery-Powered Charger for You

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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.

Best Overall

Nimble 5-Day Charger

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

Anker PowerCore Slim

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

Nimble 8-Day Charger

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

Mophie Powerstation 3XL

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

Powerfilm Solar Lightsaver Max

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

AA/AAA Eneloop Charger (Panasonic)

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

Jackery Explorer 1000

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.

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How the Quest for the Perfect Egg Poacher Led to a Surprising Find

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In the culinary world, where technique and precision often reign supreme, the quest for the perfect poached egg can be a subject of intense debate among chefs and home cooks alike. It’s a simple dish, requiring nothing more than an egg, water, a pot, and, for some, a splash of vinegar. Yet, achieving that delicate balance of softly set whites enveloping a gently runny yolk can be surprisingly elusive. Enter the realm of egg poachers: gadgets designed to simplify this process and make the perfect poach accessible to everyone. But do they deliver on their promise? A recent investigation by The Strategist delves deep into this question, uncovering a landscape filled with devices that range from the ingenious to the ineffective.

The journey begins with skepticism. Many seasoned cooks insist that poaching eggs is an art form that should be executed with nothing but a pot of simmering water. This traditional method, honed over time, allows for a level of control over the cooking process that gadgets can’t replicate. Despite this, the allure of convenience and consistency drives a continued search for the perfect egg poaching device. The investigation embarked upon by The Strategist involved a diverse array of poachers, from electric models to microwavable options and silicone cups designed for stovetop use. The criteria were straightforward: produce a poached egg that lived up to the culinary standard—firm whites encasing a liquid gold center.

The testing was exhaustive, covering a broad spectrum of the market’s offerings. Initial feedback from testers was disheartening, confirming the prevailing wisdom that gadgets often fall short of manual methods. From eggs that emerged too firm to devices that were cumbersome to use, it seemed that the technology was not up to the task. Yet, amidst the disappointment, there were glimmers of hope. Some models, like the electric Dash model and a stovetop pan from Sur La Table, produced eggs that, while not traditionally poached, were pleasantly soft-boiled—a welcome outcome for those seeking an easier path to a similar end.

However, it was the OXO Good Grips Egg Poacher that ultimately stood out as the beacon of hope. With its simple yet effective design, this silicone device managed to deliver true poached eggs with minimal fuss. Its success lies in its ability to mimic the traditional poaching motion within a controlled environment, allowing water to circulate around the egg for even cooking without the egg spreading too thinly. This gadget proved that, with thoughtful design, it is possible to reconcile the convenience of a poaching device with the culinary excellence of the traditional method.

The quest for the perfect egg poacher is more than just a search for a kitchen gadget; it’s a reflection of the broader pursuit of balancing tradition and innovation in cooking. While some purists may never stray from the pot-and-water method, the existence of gadgets like the OXO Good Grips Egg Poacher opens up the world of poached eggs to a wider audience, making this coveted dish more accessible.

This exploration into the world of egg poachers serves as a reminder that, in cooking, as in life, there is often more than one path to achieving a desired outcome. Whether one opts for the traditional method or embraces the convenience of a gadget, the joy lies in the journey—and, of course, in the delicious results.

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Revolutionizing Fitness: The Best Wearable and Fitness Tech of CES 2024

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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2024 has once again set the stage for groundbreaking innovations in the realm of fitness and wearable technology. This year’s showcase has been particularly notable for its array of smartwatches, fitness headphones, health wearables, and smart rings, each offering unique features designed to enhance our health and fitness experiences.

Smartwatches: A Blend of Style and Functionality

At CES 2024, Garmin unveiled the Garmin Lily 2, a smartwatch that epitomizes elegance and utility. Weighing a mere 20.6g, the Lily 2 features a hidden display that reveals itself upon tapping, blending seamlessly with its fashionable design. It includes connected GPS, a pulse oximeter, and a battery life of five days, making it a versatile accessory for the health-conscious. Priced at $249.99, it’s a testament to Garmin’s commitment to combining fashion with fitness.

In contrast, the Casio G-Shock Rangeman GPR-H1000 is built for the rugged adventurer. It’s equipped with heart rate monitoring, a pulse oximeter, built-in GPS, and Casio’s Triple Sensor technology. This $500 smartwatch is designed to withstand extreme conditions, offering durability alongside its advanced features.

The Rise of Smart Rings

Smart rings have emerged as a popular alternative to traditional fitness watches. The Amazfit Helio ring challenges the status quo with detailed sleep tracking and readiness scoring, available for an annual fee of $69.99. Meanwhile, the Evie smart ring, priced at $269, targets women’s health with an open ring design and AI-driven insights into sleep, blood oxygen, and heart health, without the need for a subscription.

Fitness Headphones: A New Era of Workout Coaching

Mojawa’s HaptiFit Terra headphones represent a significant leap in fitness technology. These bone conduction headphones, priced at $199.99, feature an AI sports trainer and vibration-based training guidance, offering a unique approach to fitness coaching. Sennheiser also made waves with its new Momentum Sport headphones, which include built-in fitness tracking and a PPG heart rate sensor, priced at $329.95.

Health Wearables: Empowering Independence

One of the most impactful innovations at CES 2024 was the GyroGlove, designed to counter Parkinson’s tremors. Priced at $5,899 per hand, this FDA Class-1 approved glove has been a game-changer for individuals like Roberta Wilson-Garrett, enabling them to perform daily tasks with greater ease. Additionally, the Vixion 01 specs, a pair of glasses that automatically correct vision, showcased the potential of health wearables to significantly improve quality of life.

Conclusion

CES 2024 has highlighted the ever-evolving landscape of wearable and fitness technology. From stylish smartwatches like the Garmin Lily 2 to the rugged Casio G-Shock Rangeman, and from innovative smart rings to health-transforming wearables like the GyroGlove, this year’s event has set a new benchmark in the integration of technology with health and fitness. As we continue to witness these advancements, it’s clear that the future of personal health and fitness is increasingly intertwined with cutting-edge technology.

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Eufy Security Indoor Cam S350: A Comprehensive Review of the Versatile and Nearly Perfect Home Security Solution

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In the ever-evolving landscape of home security, Eufy has emerged as a front-runner, combining cutting-edge technology and user-friendly features. The Eufy Security Indoor Cam S350, a pan/tilt dual security camera, has seamlessly integrated into existing home security setups, proving to be an indispensable asset.

Pricing and Availability

The Eufy Security Indoor Cam S350 is available at Amazon.

Eufy Security Indoor Cam S350 Review

The standout feature of the Eufy Security Indoor Cam S350 is its dual-camera system housed in a single body. One camera boasts a wide-angle lens with a 130-degree field of view, capturing clear 4K resolution footage. The second camera features a telephoto lens with 2K resolution, offering 3x optical zoom and an impressive 8x digital zoom. Both cameras have a low aperture of f/1.6, ensuring optimal performance in low-light conditions.

The device’s ability to pan, tilt, and swivel in any direction provides a complete 360-degree coverage, making it an ideal choice for comprehensive monitoring. Notably, the camera smoothly tracks objects in motion without any staggering, thanks to its advanced tracking capabilities.

One notable feature is the compatibility with the HomeBase 3, a hub for Eufy security devices that supports local storage. While the HomeBase 3 enhances the overall system, it’s not a mandatory purchase for using the Indoor Cam S350. The camera can store footage on an inserted microSD card of up to 128GB, providing an alternative to cloud storage and enabling live notifications of detected motion.

Often marketed as a baby monitor or pet cam, the Indoor Cam S350 serves multiple purposes. I chose to integrate it into my existing Eufy security system, which includes outdoor cameras, doorbell camera, and some older indoor cameras. The seamless integration allows for a live view within the same app, enhancing overall convenience.

The camera’s performance is commendable, with quick notifications upon detecting motion and minimal false alerts. The ability to swiftly hide its lenses during privacy mode ensures privacy without compromising on security.

However, a desirable addition would be the ability to schedule privacy mode activation and a manual engagement button, enhancing user control.

What We Think

The Eufy Security Indoor Cam S350 is a top-tier choice for those seeking a versatile indoor security camera. Whether used as a pet cam, baby monitor, or integrated into an existing security system, its capabilities shine through with clear, high-resolution images. While a couple of additional features could enhance the user experience, the camera’s overall performance makes it a recommended choice for anyone prioritizing home security and surveillance.

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