Power rangers

In this edition of our monthly Gadget column, we examine portable power sources.

Power Bag

mypowerbag.com

When was the last time your phone, tablet or portable gaming system left your side for more than a minute? Our gadgets have become inseparable from our bodies. They’re like our children, and whenever a parent leaves the house with their baby, they always bring a little snack in case the child’s energy wanes. So do the same for your gadget with a portable charging device. Power Bag, which comes in numerous styles, like messenger bags and backpacks, looks like any ol’ bag but carries a 3000mAh, 6000mAh, or 9000mAh capable of fully recharging your gadget two, four or six times respectively. The battery is small and lightweight so it doesn’t bog you down. Tucked away in various pockets are four chargers—Apple, USB and micro- and mini-USB, so you’re covered for almost any devices. I’m fond of the Tablet Messenger bag because it’s perfect for quick business trips, comes with a 6000mAh battery, and can hold a charge for a little less than a week. It’s big enough to hold your tablet, phone and notebooks without being a full-size laptop bag. $140.

Magicstick

powerocks.com

Portable chargers popped up quite a few times at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January. One that caught my eye was a new product coming out of China set to hit the United States later this year. The Magicstick by Powerocks is compact but powerful. Only 22mm in diameter and 86mm in length—or about the size of a big mozzarella stick—it still packs 2600mAh of power, which is enough to power your device twice over. Though it has a USB output, it may not play nicely with some Android phones or tablets. iPhone and Blackberry users should be fine, but fans of Google’s green guy should test the waters before taking the plunge. The big selling factors are the size and rumored price point of around $50, though we still have to wait to see it on shelves. The demo unit at CES was solid and felt like it could take a good beating at the bottom of a backpack or purse, so this could be a serious contender. Powerocks.com

Enercell Portable Power Bank

enercellpower.com

I spotted this little guy connected to fellow press members’ gadgets quite a few times at CES, and I was shocked to find out this Radio Shack-exclusive charger was so beloved. There’s plenty to love about this charger—I was just shocked Radio Shack stills exists. At about 2-inches by 3-inches by 0.5-inches, Enercell’s offering is small, but it supports all four major outputs via connection cables—Apple, USB, and micro- and mini-USB. You’re looking at about 2400mAh, so slightly less than two full charges, but it charges itself fairly quickly so this is a good emergency device when stuck at an airport or train station where electrical outlets are more prized than gold. Enercell also makes a micro-USB–only model for $20.