When you’re not sure your battery’s going to make it…

By | June 6, 2022
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So, we were out and about quite a bit last week – my sister’s 50th birthday, half term trips into Leeds and Jubilee celebrations – and I found myself needing my phone for a lot of it. For Google Maps, my camera for taking photos, my bus tickets and event tickets (the show we went to see at the Royal Armouries was great by the way!)…

My battery’s pretty good on my current phone, but on my longest day out, I was getting a little bit nervous by the end. I was waiting for a phone call late afternoon, and I’d have been a bit stuck if the battery had run out.

But there’s a gadget you can buy that would have given me a bit of peace of mind – a backup battery pack or portable charger. They’re (usually) small and light enough to carry around in a back-pack or decent-sized hand bag, and they can hold enough charge to power up whatever you plug into them. They work for all sorts of electronic devices with chargeable batteries – not just smartphones and tablets.

It’s essentially a large, spare, rechargeable battery. To fill it up, you plug it into a mains socket using the same kind of charger and cable that you use for your smartphone or tablet. Once it’s charged, you can then take your battery backup out and about with you (along with your charging cable). Then, when you’re running low on battery power on your phone, you can just plug it into the power bank for a while to charge it up.

You can find power banks for sale in most places that you’d go to for electronic, computer or phone equipment. If you’re looking for one in a physical shop, you might want to try Argos or Currys, or some mobile phone shops stock them. Or if you’re looking online, search for e.g. “power bank”, “portable charger” or “backup battery pack” in a web browser – Amazon and eBay with certainly have them, or you can often buy direct from the manufacturers.

The price you’ll pay depends on how much charge they hold (the capacity), as well as on any fancy features like an LED display, and you’ll generally pay more for a well known and reliable brand such as Anker.

You can expect to pay between £10 and £20 for a decent model with around 10,000 mAh capacity, which is plenty to charge most phones and tablets.

As always, it’s worth shopping around for deals. If you’ve found the right model for you, try looking for it in a few different shops or online, or even second-hand. If you’re buying a used power bank though, remember that battery life declines over time, so an older one might not have the same working capacity as it did when it was new.

Julie Wakeling

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