Tag Archives: charger

Review: 1byone Battery Case for iPhone 6 and 6s

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Rating: ★★★★½


  • Adds at least an entire extra charge to your iPhone
  • Acts as a durable case for your phone
  • Two bumper colours included in the box
  • Includes audio cable so headphones can still be used


  • Adds a little weight to your phone
  • Case charges with microUSB – could be seen as a minor downside to some

RRP £32.99, best price at time of writing £25.99 on Amazon

This particular product was an interesting one for me. I, for the most part (and we do have our disagreements occasionally!), love my iPhone 6 and use it extensively in my day-to-day life. And there’s no doubt about it – it’s a fantastic phone with huge amounts to offer – without even mentioning the new iPhone 6s that has countless additional new features (some of which I think are great, others a tad gimmicky). However, nothing can escape the fact that battery life on most high-end smartphones is still nothing to shout about.

So what can you do about this? Imagine the typical scenario – you’re out and about in the countryside for a weekend or you’ve made your way to a music festival. And half way through your trip your phone battery hits critical. We’ve all been there. Well, there’s really two choices if you haven’t got any form of mains power. Either, you can buy a power bank such as this one (I own a similar model by the same brand), or you can buy a bespoke design battery case for your phone.

And that’s exactly what this is. It works just like any other power bank you might have come across. You simply slide the phone into the case, making sure the lightning port is lined up correctly and pop either of the two included bumpers over the top. On the back, you have a simple power button together with a 4-LED charge indicator. Simply press and hold the rear power button until you iPhone starts charging and that’s all you need to do. You can tap the power button whenever the device is switched on to see the current battery status. When you’re done, you simply press and hold the power button once again and the battery case switches off.

So how well does this one work? Fairly well indeed. It charged my iPhone nice and quickly, and because this device is MFI certified, you can be sure that you won’t get any compatibility issues or charging errors on your phone. I comfortably got an entire phone charge out of the case with a little juice to spare, so for those extended trips where you could use the backup power, this is a must have.

Would I keep it permanently attached to my phone? Probably not. You can by all means do that if you want to – you simply charge the battery case with the included cable and then use that to charge your phone. But I probably wouldn’t. It’s a little too big to keep on my phone all the time, and I would probably keep other cases on the phone when I didn’t need the extra capacity.

However, for its intended purpose, it does a fantastic job and it’ll definitely be a vital tool for when I do go on my travels. It’s ideal for people who enjoy camping, long treks, visiting rural countryside or really anything that keeps you away from the mains for a while. Even those tedious long haul economy flights without a power socket.

Overall, I’m delighted with the device and it certainly will end up permanently in my travel backpack. It’s not the cheapest portable charger on the market at around £30, but the benefit of being able to leave it attached to your phone without cables dangling all over the place certainly outweighs any increased expense.

Buy now from Amazon

Keep your gadgets charged away from the plug – Yoobao 11200mAh external charger

Ever since I got my new phone – the HTC Sensation XE (which I love to pieces) – I’ve had the problem of stupidly poor battery life. Apparently this is an age-old Android problem where many smartphones don’t have the battery capacity to provide a decent level of charge.

With me, being a bit of a tech-head, I’ve got to the point where my phone battery will barely get me through the day. That’s because I spend a fair amount of time downloading and using apps, interacting with social networks, and generally browsing the net. Whilst none of these tasks should be particularly demanding, they do have a massive negative impact on the battery.

One way of solving this problem would be to just stop using my phone so regularly. I have done tests and found that if I’m really frugal with my phone – just using it for the odd text and call during the day – I can make the battery last all day long with some power to spare. But I don’t believe that, when I’ve committed to spending over £500 on a phone in 2 years, I should have to be limited as to what functionality I can use on the go.

So, I had to find a way of keeping the battery charged when I’m out and about. There are many ways of doing this:

  • Obviously the easiest (and cheapest) solution is to look into little chargers like car chargers – which draw current from the cigarette lighter in your car – to keep the battery going strong. Yes, if you spend hours in the car daily (which many people obviously do) then this is your simple solution – but I personally don’t. Also, bear in mind that most smartphones will simply charge via a USB cable – so if you spend most of your working life in an office, then you should simply be able to plug your device into a port on your computer and charge it.
  • You could invest in “green” portable charging solutions – such as solar chargers. Long time readers of GEEK! will know I’ve tested multiple solar chargers in the past – and in many cases they’re absolutely great. However, they do take some time to charge and if you’re not within easy access to sunlight for most of the day, you’re wasting your time.
  • Another simple option would just be to buy another battery for your phone. This is a cheap solution and will work effectively. However, the problem with this is that if you can’t get a charging “dock” for your battery, you have to constantly switch batteries in your phone to make sure each one is charged up. This is a hassle!

The usual solutions weren’t going to work for me, so I had a browse on Amazon and came across an ideal solution. It’s called the Yoobao 11200mAh External Battery Pack. It’s available on Amazon for around about £30.

You might have heard of these external battery packs before. They’re quite simple really – they have a moderately powerful battery inside them and simply provide a USB port to charge any USB device you like. However, this one is very different!

For starters, the battery is insanely powerful. The 11200mAh battery is the most powerful portable battery I’ve ever seen. If you bear in mind that my Sensation XE has a battery capacity of 1730mAh – then this means the battery pack should be able to charge my phone at least 5 or 6 times (minus some inefficiencies).

It also is a dual-port USB charger. This means it can charge two devices at the same time. Not only that, but one of the charging ports is a 2 amp charging port – which means the device is quite capable of charging more demanding devices like the iPad 2.

The device also has an emergency LED light onboard – which is powerful enough to provide illumination when most needed – and because the onboard battery is so powerful, the LED can be (theoretically) illuminated for several weeks on a single charge!

There are also 5 LED power indicators which tell you how much charge is remaining in the device.

I’ve owned my device about a week now and have to say it really is a lifesaver when my phone’s battery is running down – for the sake of £30 it really isn’t a huge price to pay. With it being able to charge more than one gadget and also being capable of charging the iPad and other demanding devices – it’s perfect for any power-hungry user.

Freeloader Pico – Cheap, portable solar charger

I was wondering around my local Maplin store and stumbled across a new gadget taking advantage of the sun.

Now if you read my blog frequently, you may be aware that I’m a big fan of solar gadgets. I love the fact that I can get free electricity for my gadgets with help from cheap(ish) solar technology.

This gadget is called the Freeloader Pico. It’s very clever because it’s no bigger than a standard mobile phone (if not a tiny bit thicker) yet it holds an 800mA battery and a 75mA solar panel. You can charge the battery via the solar panel or from a mini USB input. It can take as little as 10 hours to charge from the sun and 4 hours to charge over USB.

Once charged, it will charge a gadget for between 30 minutes and an hour. What makes it stand out for me is that it delivers it’s output via a standard USB port, meaning you can charge almost any device that supports USB charging.

It also comes with four output plugs and you can buy more online.

I think it’s great. I can carry it around in my pocket and get it out when I need juice. It charges fairly quickly from the sun and provides quick, efficient power. It’s ideal for walking trips or long trips without access to the plug.

Why bother on a high capacity laptop battery when you can get a car inverter?

My laptop is fantastic – it’s dual core with 2GB of RAM and is powerful enough for most of the tasks I need it for. There’s only one downside – the battery. It won’t last more than about 1.5 hours even on a good day. Hopeless – even for watching a short film.

So I was thinking whether I should buy a higher capacity battery. They aren’t exactly cheap. And then there’s the thought that in a worryingly short amount of time, it will be worn out and will need replacing again. But then I thought where is the place I use the battery the most? After a good brainstorm, I discovered that the place I use my laptop most is in the car.

I’d heard about car inverters before, but had been told they were quite expensive and weren’t capable of producing very much power. Well when I was wondering around the Maplin electronics store, I suddenly bumped into one. It claimed it was capable of producing 150 watts constant and a 450 watt surge. In addition, it was just £20 to include the inverter, plus a spare fuse just incase it blew. So I thought it’s always worth a try and bought it. Then I went straight back to the car and plugged in the laptop. Worked straight out of the box.

I’ve discovered that laptop chargers generally only need between 35 and 75 watts of electricity to run, so a 150 watt inverter was easily enough to get it going. Plus there are a number of things you can run with that amount of electricity – phone chargers, camera chargers, fans, even small TVs. You can even attach a double socket and power your phone and laptop charger at the same time. So it could be perfect if you are on a camping trip and you need a bit of juice for your gadgets and gizmos. My inverter even came with a low battery warning to make sure you don’t run your car battery flat, plus it has an overheat/overload monitor.

I think it’s a great idea. It saves having to get car chargers and high capacity batteries. And it just plugs into any car cigarette lighter socket. For only £20, it’s hardly worth missing. Mine came with a year’s warranty, so you can’t go wrong. It’s ideal to keep the kids happy in the back as it can charge games consoles and the likes, or charge up your essentials on the way to work.

I’d really recommend one. They are available online and I just got mine from a Maplin store in town. You just plug it into the cigarette lighter and away you go.