I’ve said it time and time again: the most important feature of any smartphone is not its CPU, the amount of RAM it has, its cameras, or even its display. The #1 most important feature of a smartphone is its battery. That’s because without battery life your phone is less useful than a pad of paper and pencil. While ever-larger batteries are being put into smartphones nowadays, we’re not actually seeing smartphone battery life increase that much. That’s because each year as batteries become bigger or a little longer lasting, there is a commensurate rise in the power requirements of the new components of smartphones–so they need more juice to last just as long or a little longer than the previous generation.
That explains why smartphones–after being around for almost a decade now–don’t have much more battery life than the original iPhone or Android phones had in 2007. Most smartphones still only last 16–20 hours in real world use. That’s why it’s important to have an extra supply of power on hand when your phone’s juices get low. That extra power comes in two forms: a portable charger, which is an external brick you can plug into your phone, or a battery case, in which the power brick is built into a case your phone wears.
Each has their benefits, it just depends on if you want to carry an accessory along WITH your smartphone in case you need it or if you want to wrap your smartphone in a battery case so it has that extra juice all the time. Either way, here are the best portable chargers and battery cases for your smartphones.
This is the portable charger I’ve used for my iPhone for a few years. I like it because it is ultra-compact and doesn’t require an external charger cable to be carried with me. The Flex comes in multiple varieties. There’s a Lightning connector version for iPhone owners, and also versions of micro USB connections for Android phone owners. What’s great about the Flex is that you can plug it into your phone and still fit in and your phone in your pocket so it’s charging when you are walking down the street. It’s got a 2600mAh battery, which is about enough for 1.5 phone charges.
Anker Astro E1
Another great portable charger, this one takes the form of a candy bar design and feature a full-sized USB port. That means this one charger will work with both iPhones and Androids. However, it is BYOC (bring your own cables), so you’ll need to remember to carry your Lightning or micro USB cable with you if you want to charge your smartphone on the go. The Astro E1 features a 5200mAh battery, which will be enough for at least 2 full phone chargers using this. It also comes in four colors–white, black, blue, and red–to match your phone’s style.
This is another “candy bar” design portable charger. Only this time the shape is cylindrical. The Poweradd Slim2 features a full-sized USB port so you can plug any smartphone into it–providing you remembered that smartphone’s cable. It features 4 blue LED indicators that display the charging and discharging status and the remaining power and also features smart charging technology that auto detects your device and provides the fastest charging speed once connected. Inside is a 5000mAh battery, which will give you almost two full smartphone charges.
While the candy bar style portable chargers are nice, they can be rendered useless if you forget to bring your smartphones USB charging cable with you. Their small size also limited the amount of charges they contain. To save the day is the “brick” portable charger form factor. While not as small as candy bar designs, brick designs offer more power and built-in charging cables. The EasyAcc PowerBank is a great choice in the brick format, having a built-in microUSB cable that plugs into almost any Android phone. The brick format also allows for a much larger battery at 6000mAh, which can be enough for almost 3 full smartphone charges.
Jackery Bolt Premium
But what if you’re traveling with a companion and one of you use an iPhone and the other an Android phone? Enter the Jackery Bolt Premium portable charger. It takes a brick form factor and packs a 6000mAh battery–enough for almost 3 full smartphone charges. But what makes this portable charger so nice is that it features two built-in charging cables. The first is a Lightning cable for iPhones and the second is a microUSB cable for Android phones. It’s a terrific choice when you never know what kind of phone might need charging.
Mophie Juice Pack Air
Mophie is synonymous with cases, and it goes without saying that they have a number of smartphone battery cases as well. One we really love is the Juice Pack Air. It’s slim lightweight design is an achievement considering it contains a 2,750mAh battery that delivers more than 100% extra battery for the iPhone 6 and above.
Lenmar Maven Power Case
The Lenmar Maven case on the surface looks like most other battery cases. But it’s got some interesting design features that make it stand out. The case comes in red, blue, black, or silver and on the back of it instead of the standard battery meter, it shows you how much power remains via a light-up X logo. The case also amplifies the sound from your phone’s speakers, so it’s not only providing longer battery, but better-sounding beats.
SAVFY 4200mAh Extended Charging Case
Yeah, this made the list because it’s 12 quid. Yep, 12 quid. That crazy price gets you the choice of a battery case in blue, white, gold, or black. The case comes in multiple makes covering most Samsung Galaxy and iPhones. Truthfully, the case is a bit flimsy, but the price to quality ratio is still in your favor considering it packs a 4200mAh battery.
Sharkk iPhone Battery Case
The Sharkk case features a 3200mAh high capacity battery that will give your smartphone at least double the battery life. On the back, four LED lights show you how much battery power is left. What’s more the case doubles as a fully functional iPhone cover with all around 360° protection that keeps your smartphone free from dust and scratches.
COOLEAD External 5800mAh Power Bank
This thing is a BEAST. It packs a massive 5800mAh battery in the case meaning your smartphone could get 2x-3x the battery life it normally has. The design is also unique as it doesn’t fully cover the phone front to back. Instead the case clips onto the sides of the phone as you slide it into the case’s base. It also comes in a range of colors including black, white, gold, and rose gold.
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