Are you tired of hugging a wall to power your gadgets? There is a huge marketplace for batteries, cables, cases and chargers to power the most popular handsets like the iPhone 6S and Samsung Galaxy series. Finding the best or most compatible for each is nearly impossible. Fortunately, over the last few months, I have tested and utilized multiple batteries, cables, cases and chargers from crowd funded projects to large corporations.
(This roundup was so huge, that we had to split it up into two parts. Be sure to check out Part One, where Chris covered Batteries of all brands and types. Today we’re covering cases, chargers, and cables.)
TYLT ENERGI Sliding Power Case – iPhone 6S Plus 3,500 mAh $79.99
TYLT’s ENERGI sliding power case pulls double duty for iPhone 6S Plus owners. A case plus a battery makes this an ideal solution for two different types of uses. The iPhone 6S Plus case slips into the battery when needed, but keeps it slim when a recharge is not needed. Once the iPhone is connected to the battery, it stops charging the smartphone once it reaches 100%. The power sleeve has four LEDs on back to display battery level. Auto off charging functionality is great to keep enough power for a top up later.
Urban Armor Gear Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Cobalt $39.95
UAG makes some of the lightest yet most rugged and cool looking cases for iPhones and now the entire Samsung line of Galaxy’s. The cobalt Samsung Galaxy Note 5 case fit perfectly on my smartphone. It has easy to find button covers, a non-slip honeycomb grip, skid pads and it meets military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6). UAG also makes other rugged cases and flip covers too.
Incipio offGRID Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 edge case with mico SD slot $89.99
For Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 edge owners, its limited battery and storage are concerns after using either device a while. Incipio is a premium case vendor and have listened to what customers want with the offGRID. The battery is slim enough to fit both the S6 and S6 edge with a slightly slimmer case top for the later model.
It displays its charge level via four LEDs on the bottom and allows the S6 to Fast Charge or transfer data without having to remove the case via its micro USB port. I like that the micro SD memory card slot is protected on the inside of the case. A small switch on the side allows users to flip between using the memory card or the battery. While charging via a power outlet, the S6’s battery will charge first and then the battery in the case.
Actionproof SP-06 iPhone 6S Plus Silicone Case $29.99
Actionproof knows that iPhone 6S and 6S Plus users sometimes need drop protection in a small case. The SP-06 provides that via black silicone soft rubber with sides that are raised slightly over the front glass. I recommend a glass screen protector while using this and other types of cases. They will work together to preserve the touch and feel of glass while also keeping the iPhone from dents or scratches.
LuMee iPhone 6S Plus Light Case $59.95
Having proper light for photos and videos is of paramount importance. Up until now, the LED flashes on the backs of smartphones have been the only option to light a scene. Now that people are taking forward facing photos and video for selfies and live streaming, LuMee has produced a series of cases for a variety of smartphones. Boost the quality of selfies for social media. Skype video calls, FaceTime video calls and live streaming via Facebook or Periscope are greatly enhanced with the LuMee iPhone 6S Plus case. There are multiple colors of the case to choose from.
Follow me on Periscope at: http://www.periscope.tv/24k
Patchworks ITG Case And Tempered Glass iPhone 6S Plus Bundle $39.95
Protecting my iPhone 6S Plus is important so that it remains operational for the next year or more. That means adding a case and screen cover. Patchworks offers a ITG Level Case and Impossible Tempered Glass bundle. I used to apply plastic screen protectors, but since I tried glass, I have not looked back.
The Patchworks screen protector offers 9H hardness and an oleophobic coating, which helps to keep finger smudges down to a minimum. I like that the Patchworks case meets military drop protection, has a rough texture on the sides to prevent the phone from slipping and openings large enough to fit my Choetech nylon braided lightning cable. This case has large enough port openings that I had no problem attaching a headphone connector.
Bezalel Latitude iPhone 6S Wireless Charging Case $49.90
Bezalel knows that iPhone 6S users want a thin case that should also be able to charge the phone wirelessly. The Latitude is the only one I have tested so far that integrates Qi and PMA wireless charging technologies. Previously, wireless charging cards have produced errors on my iPhone. This case worked and did not display any error.
It is great to charge while at some Starbucks, McDonalds and other places with wireless charging plates. The Los Angeles International Airport LAX offers multiple wireless charging stations sponsored by Verizon in Terminal 5. Some GM and Toyota vehicles are now offering wireless charging options too. Keep the iPhone 6S protected and topped up with the Latitude.
Chargers & Cables
Zolt Laptop Charger Plus $99
Zolt is an exciting brand that I have watched grow during the last few years at CES. Testing their laptop charger is actually three products in one. It saves me so much space in my travel bag as it takes the place of my MacBook Pro power brick, iPad power brick and double height smartphone charger.
The first USB port powers laptops, while the second powers tablets or high drain devices and the third port can charge smaller gadgets. The kit comes with power tips for 90% of the laptops out there. They sell power cables for $19.99 that fit Mag L and Mag 2 MacBooks. If an extension of 6 ft is needed, they have an accessory cable to meet that need too.
Some power bricks take up a lot of space on power strips, so Zolt has cleverly engineered their charger to rotate 90 degrees. The Zolt will be able to charge USB Type C enabled laptops later this year. Whether that means a new Zolt charger or a specialized cable remains to be seen.
Fusechicken Titan Tough Cable $35
This is simply the toughest cable I have ever used. It is essential for ride sharing, taxi drivers or anyone that needs to have their iPhone within view while driving. It will surely help you save money by not having to replace lightning cables on a frequent basis. (MacTrast has reviewed the Titan recently, for a closer look at this cable, read our in-depth review.)
Echo Connect Key $12.99
The Connect Key from Echo is what initially drew my attention to the company. It is a short USB cable that has two ends, one micro USB and the other lightning. I keep it in my secondary go bag to help with charging any number of devices sans having to wrangle with long cords. (This is another product MacTrast has reviewed, for closer look at the Echo Connect, read our review.)
Winnergear MicFlip Reversible Micro USB cable $19.99
Winnergear, a brand brought to market recently via successful crowdfunding campaigns, has engineering and shipped a double sided micro USB cable. You may have seen flippable standard sized USB ends before. The MicFlip takes it to the next level by doing the same for the micro USB end. Never again will you have to look at the cable while you are plugging it into a smartphone or other kind of gadget. It is available in varying colors.
Choetech Nylon Braided Lightning USB Cable $10.99
Choetech makes good backup batteries with premium features, like the one mentioned in this review roundup. They also engineer great USB cables for smart devices, similar to their nylon braided lightning cable.
I have used it continuously for months with success. It has never failed to securely connect to a backup battery, computer USB port or my iPhone. I have a case on my iPhone and the lightning connector still fits. I like its premium feel and ability to do its job without having to worry about if its lightning tip will pop out of my iPhone.
Ventev Various Cables (Short and Long) Micro USB, Lightning & Type-C
The cables I have tested from Ventev are their long USB Type-C, long micro USB in green, short micro USB, short lightning and long lightning. Their long micro USB cable in green is my most used cable from Ventev. It feels like it locks into micro USB ports rather than easily sliding in or out of them. Finding a reputable USB Type-C cable is not easy on Amazon, so I recommend Ventev’s for your gadgets. Their Type-C cable worked well to charge my Le 1 Pro smartphone.
Limefuel EPIC GoPro Hero 3/3+ L55G3 5,500 mAh $39.99
Limefuel makes good quality dual USB wall chargers, rugged power banks with 15k mAh and a 20k mAh BLAST battery also in this review. The EPIC comes with 5,500 mAh and two extended backdoor housings, one rated for 40 meters and the other for 60 meters. Limefuel has rated the EPIC GoPro extended battery to last 7 hours and 3 minutes for 1080 at 60FPS video, 7 hours and 47 minutes for 1080 at 30FPS video and 6 hours and 17 minutes for 4k video at 15FPS. Limefuel has other GoPro batteries available from their website as well.
Maqe SoundJump Wireless Speaker With JumpSix 6k mAh Battery $129.99
I am a fan of gadgets that do more than meets the eye. Take Maqe’s SoundJump wireless Bluetooth speaker. It works as a speakerphone when connected to a smartphone and it includes a 6k mAh internal battery that is rated to last for about 20 hours. Without the battery magnetically connected, its 2A power adapter can power the speaker. The entire package can be fast charged in four hours with that adapter. When the JumpSix battery is removed from the SoundJump, it transforms into a power bank with 2A fast charging capabilities. It can be charged while in the SoundJump and externally via its micro USB port. A full sized USB port on the battery is ready to power an iPad through to small devices. The SoundJump works well enough as a speaker, however I noticed a slight hiss when the volume was turned up past 60%. Five LEDs on the battery show its charge level when a button is tapped. The JumpSix battery does have a small-integrated magnet on the bottom, so be sure not to store it with anything susceptible to magnetism.
Some of the standout power banks in this review roundup are the LifePower A2, Limefuel L200X Pro 20k mAh, MyCharge Hub Ultra With Fast Wall Charger, AuKey’s 15k mAh Quick Charge 2.0 Battery, PowerPractical Pronto 5 Super Fast Charging Battery and the Choetech Quick 10k mAh Battery with Quick Charge 3.0 technology.
The Limefuel 20k mAh is a standout product due to its battery size at 20,000 mAh and quad USB charging ports.
The myCharge HubUltra comes with a fast wall charger that includes an iPad compatible USB charging port. It allows the top battery to be charged while another high drain device powers off of the single USB port.
AuKey makes good quality batteries and their 15k mAh version comes with Quick Charge 2.0 charging capabilities. Phones that are compatible with Quick Charge 2.0 will charge much faster than via a standard 1A port.
PowerPractical has stepped up to the fast charging technology game with their Pronto 5. The special wall charger powers it up in about an hour, which is faster than any I have used before for the size of battery.
Choetech has an eye to the future with their new 10k mAh backup battery that includes Quick Charge 3.0 technology. It is so new, not many devices support it yet, but that will rapidly change in 2016 and beyond.
TYLT’s iPhone 6S Plus power case is unique because the case slides into the battery module. Some days I need an extra battery and some I do not. This version gave me the flexibility to do both.
Incipio’s offGRID battery case for the Samsung Galaxy S6 is also compatible with the S6 edge. It provides double the power that the smartphone has and includes a micro SD memory card slot for backup storage.
The LuMee series of light selfie cases, like their new model for the iPhone 6S Plus, is used by celebrities around the world.It has LEDs lined up on either side and provides a lot of light for that studio perfect selfie.
Two cables in my review roundup stood out the most. FuseChicken’s Titan Tough Cable is one of the strongest I have ever used. This kind of cable is essential for ride sharing drivers, taxi drivers and people who need their iPhone within view. I have seen cables connected to phones with broken ends in many ride-sharing vehicles. Get one of these to avoid that problem.
Choetech’s braided nylon lightning cable with metal ends worked well over two months of continuous use. It remains in a go bag for charging my iPhone 6S Plus.
LifePower’s A2 power plug battery and Zolt’s Laptop Charger Plus are the two most exciting products in this review roundup. They both provide clever engineering to power gadgets from cell phones to laptops. Reducing the amount of gear one needs to keep going throughout the day or on long trips is best, as airlines are charging for multiple carryons.
The A2 can be recharged via solar panels for a fully unconnected outdoors experience. Recharging drone batteries with the A2 is one of many use cases where it could come in handy.
The Zolt charger has reduced the amount of gear I need to travel with and it should do the same for any road warrior.
Disclaimer: The brands included in this review sent their products at no cost for review. I have not been compensated for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.