Portable Power

I love it when I find a new gadget that’s inexpensive ($25) and fits a need perfectly. That’s just what I found when I learned about the TekCharger.

Let’s face it, without power, our devices are useless. That’s why everybody buys extended batteries for cell phones. The more we want to stay connected, the less likely we can get through a day on a single charge. And then there are Bluetooth headsets or earpieces, eReaders, MP3players and other gadgets, not to mention those flashes we use as photographers. So when I read about the TekCharger, what caught my eye

The entire unit is barely larger than a set of four AA batteries. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

The entire unit is barely larger than a set of four AA batteries. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

was that it uses AA batteries.

There are lots of battery packs that can power or charge many of our devices. What makes this one different is that it uses AA batteries, either single-use (alkaline) or rechargeable. So you could buy a set of AA batteries, available just about anywhere in the world, and pop them in to recharge your device. Better yet, if you’re using rechargeable batteries, it can re-charge them too.

Let’s say you’re traveling, and have a strobe along with you. Instead of having the batteries in the strobe, you can have them in the TekCharger. If your phone, eReader, MP3 player or other similar device runs out of power, you can power and/or recharge it using the batteries in the TekCharger. And if they’re rechargeable (and I hope that’s what you’re using these days), then when you get where you’re going you can recharge them right inside the TekCharger. It takes the place of two traditional devices we often carry – an extended battery pack and a charger for our AA batteries.

It comes with a USB cord and two adapters for many common small USB connections. iPhone users will need to use one of their sync cables. The entire unit is barely larger than a set of four AA batteries. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

It comes with a USB cord and two adapters for many common small USB connections. iPhone users will need to use one of their sync cables. The entire unit is barely larger than a set of four AA batteries. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

It holds up to four batteries and is barely larger than those four batteries alone. Only downside I see at this point is it recharges through USB, which means it can take 4-6 hrs. for a full charge. The plus side of USB charging is that it’s a common cable, and can be used through the powered USB port found on many of our laptops today, removing the need to carry another plug.

For me this is a win-win, and I see it being a regular part of my travel kit. Sometimes I find technology frustrating, but gadgets like this make me love it again.

(If you’ve found a cool gadget you can’t live without, let me know at reed@reedhoffmann.com)

NDE

If you’re using rechargeable AA batteries (like these Eneloops), then you can also charge them in the TekCharger via USB cable with a separate plug (shown here) or a computer’s powered USB port. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.