Ghumakkar Gadgets – Stay Charged via a ‘Power Bank’

As a traveler, one is on the go most of the times and is mostly busy capturing the marvels of nature in the camera. While a decade back, it would have meant carrying a couple of extra rolls of film, now life is simplified with a simple possession of a digital camera (Read this Ghumakkar Insights on how you can make the most our of Digital Camera, by DC). Highly encouraging and convenient as it allows you to shoot unlimited, well almost, number of photos with no guilt and more importantly with no additional cost. If you do not like it, you can simply trash it. For a modern travel photographer, there are no constraints of being too thoughtful before you let the shutter go. For the same frame, you now prefer to shoot a HDR in case getting that RAW format was not enough. Times are great and one could not have asked for more and all you need to do is to lug that kind-of-heavy camera-body, a couple of lenses, may be an additional memory card and you are good. Go out and conquer the world. But then if life was as simple as I describe above then we didn’t need to write a ‘Ghumakkar Gadgets Editorial’. While the DSLR is indeed a game changer, it does suck the battery in no time. You never know when you would run out of them and for a traveller, getting the battery powered again is quite a challenge.

No Charge

No Charge


Even if you are not a DSLR hugging Ghumakkar, the other power hungry device which you carry all the time, from navigating the maps to quick photo uploads to Facebook to taking notes, is your Smartphone. And enough is already said about the battery digestion powers of smartphones.

Even if we leave the DSLR and smartphone aside for a moment, there are still many power-hungry gadgets such as your tablet or a kindle or your water-purifier-contraption. If you are camping for a few days or are staying in a weak-power-area (which we have abundant of, in India) then you really need to plan for it. Reminds of our unstoppable Ajay who was on this long road-trip to Leh, not too long back, or Naresh who makes his annual Amarnath trip. After all, the worst would be to run out of battery when you got the once-in-a-lifetime moment to capture something, say, the longest Royal Bengal Tiger which Prasad found and shared with us, the wagoh male tiger.

Before I go further, let me share a plug for our friends at “http://www.couponzguru.sg”, we have spoken about them in the past as well. Recently they started their operations in Singapore so I guess their travel coupons for Expedia as well the hotel aggregator Agoda are doing well and might have helped towards this expansion. If you use them and have comments then let me know and I would be happy to pass them on.

Coming back to our first edition of ‘Ghumakkar Gadget’, we are dedicating this to ‘Portable Power Banks’. Lets first understand what is a PowerBank.

A portable power bank is a charger that can hold a lot of power and then can be used to energise your electronic devices. You can charge them before you leave from your home and then carry it in your bag. The best thing about a power bank is that it works on an interface (Mini USB) which is a standard for almost every device. So you do not need to carry an additional or extra battery-pack of each of your devices. These can be easily shared, are small enough to carry and are great savious, when you are least expecting it.

Here is how a ‘Razor Max’ looks, which I have been using for past few weeks.

Razor Max Power Bank

Razor Max Power Bank

Main features of Power Bank

There are three primary parameters which you need to pay attention to, viz.:
1. Capacity – How much charge it can hold?
2. Interfaces – How can you charge your power bank as well as how it can charge your devices (with the number)?
3. Portability – How easy it is to carry along? Can you put it your jacket pocket or does it need its own bag ?

I am not mentioning the price as a parameter since the market is still evolving. Since this is not a consumable and you are not going to change this item frequently, I would suggest an investment into something which is of the highest quality than something that is of lowest price. I have been using a product from these guys and I am liking it.

It is quite a minimalistic design, and can charge smartphones and tablets at the same time but is only four inches by two and half inches in size. It’s sleek anodized aluminum finish also makes it appeal to any tastes and it packs enough power to provide 27 hours of extra battery life. The best part of the product is overall design and portability which I really really like.

Now come back to the parameters. Let’s take a moment to understand them better.

1. Capacity – It is measure in mAH i.e. ‘milli Ampere Hour’. A Power bank with a capacity of 2000 mHA can charge a dead iPhone 6 to 100%. That is a rule of Thumb, in reality it may be a little lower. So read specs of the camera battery, your phone battery, your iPad/Tablet battery and then pick the one which you think would survive your needs. For example, I use a iPhone 5 and my Razor Max… has the capacity of 6000 mAH. My Phone need close to 1500 mAH so I am good with it. I do not use a DSLR and I have no other devices with pressing use.

2. Interfacing – A power bank needs to be charged. Take a moment to understand the ways by which you can charge. For example, can you only charge it via the power-plug on the wall. If that is the case then it may be a bit limiting. This is important because if you have a more regular use then you need something which can be charged via a power-plug on the wall as well as via USB. Most of the modern power banks (http://shop.mycharge.com/collections/razor-series-1/products/razormax) come with a ‘USB IN’ port so you should be good. Some even come with an added advantage of “Solar Charging” but can be big on size and have a limited capacity.

Now, you also need to pay attention on the interface for ‘Charging a device’ from your power bank. Typically it is USB as most of the equipment can be hooked via USB so you are good. But how many? I would suggest that having at least two ‘USB Outs’ is a good bargain.

3. Portability – And finally, the portability angle. You have the most powerful power bank and it can charge 5 devices simultaneously, as well it can be recharged with a power-plug on the wall, as well as via the USB but it is of no use if it is hard to carry. The overall form factor should be small, with not too many wires as a company. A sleek, neutral looking, small lean cuboid is what appeals to me more. Something which when used is almost hard to notice, something which be snugged easily in your tote bag, has some indicators to figure our the current status of ‘charge left’ and thats it. On these accounts, Razor Max scores pretty well.

So that was our Ghumakkar Gadget post. We do not want to go into deep technical details but wanted to keep it short and useful. Hope you liked it.

Stay charged!

13 Comments

  • Yes I liked it very much! I have been carrying two batteries always. Some travelers attach a battery holder grip with their camera for extra battery. It actually helps to stay alive your camera longer. Remote places, where electricity is a serious issue and snowy areas where battery drains too early, I found carrying double batteries are wise. But at times, mainly in snowy mountainous region you may wish to have a little more! Little more, because you want the smart phone to function, you can go on working with your fabtab or note and for other uses.

    A nice helpful post, Nandan! You wrote after a long long time. Keep writing.

    Thanks

  • Santanu says:

    Dear Nandan,
    A very good informative post. A must read for all Ghumakkars. For DSLR camera battery, I think carrying a second battery may be a prudent option – particularly for 4-6 days continuous trekking journeys. While on tour, I normally carry a multiplug. This one helps me a lot in trains / hotels etc., where you are provided with only one input point, but you need to charge your mobile/laptop/camera/power bank concurrently.
    Regards
    Santanu

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Anupam – Thank you. I believe these days portable power banks are available having a very large capacity. As you said, enough is never enough.

    Yeah, written after a long time. Should do more. Would do

    @ Santanu – Thank you. Multiplug is a must and if you are traveling abroad then you can not avoid it.But for a local travel, this never occurred to me that usually there is only one or two plug points which are there in the room. Quite often, I unplug the TV or the table-lamp to make room for the growing number of devices, we all carry. Thank you for the tip.

  • Uday Baxi says:

    Dear Sir

    Very information post. Quite useful for people like us.

    But, I tend to agree with Anupam when he says that you have written after a long time.

    Regards

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Dearest Uday – Thank you. I agree with you and Anupam on same. :-) How much I long for writing more and I must do better on this front. Wish me luck.

  • Pravesh says:

    Very very informative.. Portable power bank is a must now a days, specially with these smart phones, which consume lot of battery due to camera, Whatsapp & other feature.

    Lat year I got 1 with a small but bright LED torch in it. this has turned out to be a very useful thing for me.

    Keep writing…

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Thank you Pravesh. Very rightly said.

  • Archana Ravichander says:

    Informative post Nandan.
    While I am not a gadget freak, I have less info to write here. However, I know the utility of these gadgets. They are becoming more than vital during travel. Car chargers are not as effective as these ones.

    The first power bank we got was a solar powered. Helpful till date.

    Best,
    Archana

  • SilentSoul says:

    ?? ????? ?? , ?? ?????????? ??? ???? ????????? ????? (about the place, for example, we went to Narkanda which is x km from Delhi, takes y hours on a scooter, its one of the gateway of Himalayas and is close to Shimla etc) ?? ??? ??? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ???? ?? ????? |

    Looks like idiotic comment ??? LOL :p I copied your comment from my Khatti Meethi series… :p

    thandi beer taiyyar rakho.. I am coming to Dilli :)

  • sunilkherain says:

    @nandanjha trying to post . but not being able to insert images / pic.. there is no option. .Help.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @Sunil – Apologies for the inconvenience but at this point of time, there is no option to insert an image in a comment. If you want to post a new story, then pls see instructions here –

    http://www.ghumakkar.com/write-for-ghumakkar/

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