LAS VEGAS ? Backup batteries for phones and tablets have gotten smaller and more powerful, with some offering about two-and-a-half charges in a package a little larger than two packs of playing cards. A new fuel cell demonstrated here at the Consumer Electronics Show says it has them beat by a factor of five.
The Nectar Mobile Power System is a fuel cell powered by a butane cartridge. It is roughly the size of a small but thick paperback book. Nectar asserts it carries 10 to 14 full charges for a phone or tablet. The company is calling that two weeks of power, based on one recharge a day.
The unit is fairly lightweight and doesn?t produce much heat. While charging a phone, the case felt not much warmer than room temperature ? far cooler than the average laptop battery while in use.
Although the charger is powered by butane, you cannot pump it full of lighter fluid to get a recharge. The butane comes in ?Nectar Pods,? small reservoirs that are approved to be carried on aircraft and can be tossed in the recycling bin when empty.
Nectar will be initially available at Brookstone stores this summer at a wallet-lightening price of $300. Refill pods will be $10 each.
By GREGORY SCHMIDT The PowerCurve seven-outlet surge protector from 360 Electrical has five AC outlets and two USB ports.
Surge protectors aren?t very exciting to think about, but they do serve a necessary purpose: safeguarding our gadgets while supplying them with juice. So, hats off to 360 Electrical for giving them a little extra thought.
The company?s new line of patented surge protectors, called PowerCurve, feature adjustable outlets that can be rotated 360 degrees to accommodate those bulky power adapters.
Using the seven-outlet surge protector, I was able to actually plug in seven devices simply by angling the outlets accordingly. Five of the outlets are designed for AC plugs, and the other two are USB ports, perfect for charging smartphones and tablets. I found it beneficial at my desk, where the USB ports came in handy, charging my iPhone while I worked on my computer.
The PowerCurve line also includes a six-outlet surge protector, which does not have a USB port, and a smaller model that has two AC outlets and two USB outlets. The smaller one does not come with the four-foot cord the other two have; instead, it has a foldable plug that goes right into a wall socket, making it a practical accessory for business trips.
The surge protectors come with an on/off switch and an automatic shutdown that activates in the event of a power surge. Other features are pretty simple: a green light tells you if the wall outlet being used is grounded; a blue light tells you if the PowerCurve has absorbed a surge.
The surge protectors range in price from $20 to $35 and are available at retailers like Best Buy, Home Depot and Amazon.com.