Mobile gadgets are all well and good, but there's no escaping the fact that we're all at the mercy of battery life. It doesn't matter if you've got an iPhone, iPod, iPad or any other mobile gadget, because without power you're pretty much dead in the water.
There's nothing more frustrating than anticipating a lengthy music or games-playing session, only to find that your power bar is dwindling away to nothing. More crucially, if you've got a deadline looming or important work to complete and you're relying on your device to get it done, then having access to an 'always on' power supply is vital.
The good news is that there are plenty of accessories that can keep you powered up, both at home and while you're out and about. Out of the box, iOS devices come with the standard mains power source, which you can of course use in other locations - and also overseas, with the benefit of a simple plug adaptor. That's fine if you have access to a mains electricity supply. If not, the next best thing is a standalone device that'll keep you topped up until you find a plug socket.
Portable power options
The TeckNet iEP390 11000mAh external battery pack is good on the eye, won't break the bank and will keep you charged
Buying a portable charging solution will set you back a reasonable amount of money, and it's worth remembering that you'll have something extra to take with you on your travels. Nevertheless, knowing that you've got a constant supply of power can be both stress-relieving and hugely convenient, especially if you simply cannot be without access to your iOS device.
Once such item is the Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo external battery (around £80, www.mophie.com), which isn't cheap, but boasts high-output technology that can recharge two iPhone, iPad or iPod devices at a time. Not only is it wonderfully easy to use, but the mophie features LED indicator lights, allowing you to keep tabs on how much life is left in the charger itself. Better still, it weighs just 200g, and is designed to fit easily into a bag when you're going away.
An extra £20 or so will bag you the Just Mobile Gum Max supercharged rechargeable battery (www.just-mobile.com), which sounds rather grander than it actually is. Again, this offers up the capacity for powering up your iPad, iPhone or iPod, but can also be used with other USB devices. The robust aluminium housing makes it durable, but it weighs in at a little heavier 273g.
If you're looking for an altogether more muscular power supply to take on your travels, then the Veho Pebble Pro-XT (£99.95, www.veho-uk.com) warrants further investigation. Not only can this bruiser power your iOS gadgets, but it can also charge larger mobile devices, such as notebooks. It comes with an array of connector tips, but weighs 396g, so it's one of the heavier options.
The Just Mobile Highway Pro dual charger offers a slick and stylish way of recharging your iOS gadgets in the car
Those aiming for a rather more compact power solution might want to look towards the TeckNet iEP390 11000mAh external battery pack (www.tecknetonline.co.uk). This portable option comes in at just under £60 and is perfect for the Apple iPad 2, iPad, iPhone 4G 4, iPhone 3G 3GS and iPod Touch (1G, 2G, 3G). It weighs 270g and is pretty small, and offers 50 hours standby time foran iPhone 4 and 10 hours for a 3G iPad 2.
Slightly less effective, but just as portable, is the Duracell 2-in-1 USB charger (www.duracell.co.uk). From the same people who brought you the batteries, this little charging solution is handy for a quick bit of juice when you need it most. There are down sides - it takes a while to fully charge - and it's not compatible with tablets. However, for anyone looking to bring life back to their phone momentarily then this small, lightweight option is worth a look.
The rather cheap-and-cheerful-looking Momax iPower Pro 8000mAh universal portable battery pack can be found online for around £50 (at www.mobimega.com, for example) and is compatible with the iPad and iPad mini. Once out of the box, this little gizmo is surprisingly durable and packs a powerful punch. The design might not be up to the same standard as its pricier rivals, but this is still a reasonably eye-catching package that also fits easily into your luggage.
Of course, chances are that you might be out and about in a car. In that respect you've got another angle for staying powered up, thanks to a variety of in-car chargers that work with a variety of iOS gadgets. For example, at just under a tenner, you can get Griffin's PowerJolt Dual (store.apple.com/uk), which works with the iPad, iPhone and iPod. It's a nifty little thing that allows you to charge two devices while you're on the move.
The Veho Pebble Pro-XT is a beefy portable power solution that comes with a variety of connectors for mobile devices
Slightly pricier, but a whole lot cooler to look at, is the Just Mobile Highway Pro dual charger, which costs around £35 and enables you to also recharge two devices at the same time. In addition, it sports a built-in fused surge protection feature, meaning that whatever you're charging will be safeguarded. What's more, the natty aluminium head on this thing looks great once it's plugged in and is complemented by nifty green micro-LED power indicators.
Rounding out the pick of the crop when it comes to in-car recharging is the Belkin Car Charger (www.belkin.com), complete with the latest Lightning connector. This device costs less than £20 and allows you to power up your Lightning-enabled iOS device while you're on your travels. It's got a funky compact design, plugs into your car's power socket and comes complete with a generous 4ft cable. Meanwhile, the Lightning connector is also fully reversible.
The great thing about this selection of chargers is that there's something to suit just about any kind of budget when it comes to staying powered up on the go. What's more, with a wide variety of different devices available - we've only touched the top of the pile - there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to stay fully charged, no matter where you're heading.
The Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo external battery features a cool design, and is lightweight and portable. Plus it allows you to charge two devices simultaneously