Last year I standardized on Anker for all my mobile device charging needs. Their products are top notch and so far their Lightning cables have outlasted all other brands I’ve tried. I’ve used several of their backup batteries, but this new one is a great idea! Normally you’d carry a phone charger when you travel so that you could charge your phone at night or when you’re going to be in one spot for a while. You’d probably carry a backup battery too. This way you could charge your smartphone ore tablet on the go when you’re not near a plug. Now imagine if you could have one portable charger that served both purposes.
The NEW Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000 replaces two things in my backpack
Continue reading “A Wall Charger and Backup Battery in One – Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000 Review”
I’ve reviewed tripod mounts for smartphones before, however the good ones I’ve looked at in the past were fine as long as you only wanted to mount your smartphone horizontally. Horizontal mounting is desired by film makers for sure. There are times when you may want a vertical mount especially if you’re shooting stills or time lapse. For this I turned to the good folks over at Arkon (the makers of mounts for just about any device) and sure enough they had one that was exactly what I was looking for. It had to be able to rotate between horizontal and vertical orientation and it had to be big enough to accommodate my iPhone 6 Plus (with my clear case).
The Arkon Universal Smartphone Holder Tripod Adapter fits the bill nicely. Not only does it rotate between horizontal and vertical orientations, but it also pivots more like a ball head. As you can see in the above photo it also works great if you have a GorillaPod tripod. The Arkon Universal tripod mount for your Smartphone is great option to have in your camera bag or your computer bag because you never know when you want to shoot something that will be difficult to shoot handheld.
If you’re alone and need a wireless remote for your smartphone, I’ve had good luck with this bluetooth one. Technically all it does on the iPhone is press the up volume button wirelessly which as you probably know snaps a photo.
Get the Arkon Universal Smartphone Holder Tripod Adapter here.
I know that many of you have the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus on order. Also many of you have large Android phones. Even if you don’t have a large smartphone, chances are whichever smartphone you have, you have it in a case. There, that should cover 99% of my readers 🙂
Time to take a look at a new car mount for your smartphone! The Arkon Mobile Grip 2 may be the answer to all your smartphone car mounting needs. This “sticky” suction mount has been on my dashboard now for about a week and a half and unlike all suction mounts I’ve tried in the past it shows no signs of falling off. This is probably due to the combination of both a good suction mount AND the “tacky” substance that comes standard on the suction cup. It can be dash mounted or mounted on a windshield. Like my favorite vent mount, it offers a “one-handed” mounting and unmountng of your smartphone and its spring loaded design means that you can mount just about any sized device WITHOUT having to remove your case. However, unlike vent mounts, you can not only mount it on your dash or windshield, but it’s more adjustable for better viewing angles. You can also mount your phone in the vertical or horizontal orientation.
I was surprised at how much I liked this mount as I really don’t care for suction cup styled mounts, but this one addresses my biggest pet-peeve because it doesn’t fall off the surface you have it mounted to.
The Bottom Line
I’m anxiously awaiting my iPhone 6 Plus and now I know I have an easy to use secure mount to put it in in my car. You can get the Arkon Mobile-Grip 2 Mount here.
If you have a smartphone and you use it throughout the day chances are your battery won’t last from the time you wake up til the time you go to bed. If you work in an office or other stationary place then you probably charge your device at your desk. If you drive around you probably charge your device in the car. However, what if you’re out and about all day, take trains and are just not near a wall outlet? There are ways to charge on the go. Here are a few of my favorite accessories:
First off even if you can get to a charger or USB port and you’re an iDevice user then you’re going to need a cable. Good luck if you are borrowing a charger from your friends that use Android and other platforms. This is why I love the “ChargeCard” it’s a credit card size “cable” that I keep in my wallet. Pop out the USB plug, plug it into any standard charger or USB port and the other end into your Lightning port on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Away you go…
Get the ChargeCard for Lightning devices here
Yep, they make one for Android here and older 30pin connectors on iDevices here.
RAVPower Flashlight Battery
I have a variety of different portable batteries. However, this is one the coolest ones I have because of its size and form factor. At first glance it looks like a standard small LED Flashlight and it is! However, on the other end is a standard USB port so that you can plug in your smartphone and charge it back up. What more can I say? A device that serves more than one purpose effectively is always going to be a favorite of mine!
Get the RAVPower Lipstick External Power Pack here.
RAVPower Luster 6000 mAh Battery Pack
Need more juice? If you want to be able to charge either a smartphone or a tablet then you’re probably going to want 2.1A output. That’s why I carry a RAVPower Luster 6000 mAh Battery Pack. This one has enough juice to charge either my iPhone 5s or my iPad Air. Even if you’re only going to want to charge a smartphone, then you might want to get this one because the higher output will charge your smartphone faster!
Get the RAVPower Luster 6000 mAh Battery Pack (in multiple colors) here.
Premium Solar Charger
A battery is great, but what about those times when even the external battery goes dead? Well there’s always the sun as a backup. This is a battery pack similar to the ones above that can be charged up via a wall outlet, but it also can be charged via solar energy.
Get the Premium Solar Charger here for your next power outage!
One of the lessons that Hurricane Sandy taught us is that Mother Nature can strike at any time and as a result you could be without power for days. My heart and prayers go out to those affected by the hurricane. To make matters worse another storm is bearing down on the northeast. While generators are great, there could be situations where there is no gas to run them. In those cases you are probably going to want to at least keep your cellphone going at a minimum.
K-TOR Pocket Socket Hand Generator Can Save The Day
Having a portable hand crank generator may be the difference between a charged cellphone battery and a dead one. The concept is simple. Plug in your USB charger in to the standard AC outlet on the Pocket Socket and plug in your phone. Then start cranking. Unfortunately there is no free lunch. If you stop cranking the handle, then you stop generating electricity and therefore you stop charging. You will definitely get a good workout for the time it takes to charge your battery, but I’d be willing to bet there were some folks out there that had no power and therefore a dead phone who would have had no problem cranking this handle for as long as it took to charge up there devices.
The K-TOR Pocket Socket generates 10W 120v DC at 2 cranks per second. How long does it take to charge your phone? The answer is the same amount of time it takes to charge your phone now. If you can get a decent charge in 10 minutes, then you will have to crank for 10 minutes.
You should definitely make one of these part of your emergency preparedness kit!
You can get the K-TOR Hand Crank Generator here.
I also keep one of these charged for shorter power outages.
Some of my readers were asking about or suggesting solar options. A solar charger is a great way to go too as long as you’ve got access to the sun 🙂 The nice part about this particular one is that you can charge it during the daylight and charge your phone each evening even if the sun has gone down.
Get a great one here.
My iPhone has become my point & shoot camera for the most part. It's a good camera and while I do own "better" point & shoot cameras, my phone is always with me. Therefore it wins by default. I've also seen several attempts at adding lenses to smartphones and in most cases I'm left scratching my head trying to understand why anyone would want to do this? After all If I'm going to carry big lenses or if the photography is that important to me, then I'm also going to carry a decent camera body to go with those lenses. I recently made one exception to this rule.
The Easy-Macro Lens for Smartphones
We often use point & shoot cameras and smartphone cameras because they are CONVENIENT and self contained. However, if I can carry a Macro lens and it adds no extra weight or fuss then I'm interested. The Easy-Macro is just such an accessory. The easiest way to describe it is that it's a Macro lens on an elastic (rubber) band. When not in use you can carry it on the supplied card in your wallet or purse. I got this lens a couple weeks ago, stuck it in my wallet and forgot about it. Last night while on the plane I noticed it and decided to give it a spin. It installs in two seconds. Just stretch the band around your phone and position the lens over your built-in lens. That's it. You're ready to do a little Macro photography.
Shot taken up close withOUT the Easy-Macro
shot taken up close WITH Easy-Macro
The Bottom Line
The Easy-Macro won't replace any of my Nikon DSLR lens any time soon, but for quick up close detailed shots with a smartphone it's easy, low cost and nice to have.
You can get the Easy-Macro here for $15.