There isn't any question about it. The second biggest concern with mobile after reception — iPhones, iPads, Droids, Atrix, Evo Shifts — is battery life. People are genuinely concerned with running out of power, which defeats the purpose of portability.
Some people even trade quality for battery life, but they really don't need to. There are plenty of rechargers that can extend the lives of portable devices for several hours or even days without too much concern for finding an outlet.
So I asked some friends what are their top three recharging solutions. The most common answer was solar rechargers, with the exception of one from Callpod. Callpod is a design and development company that specializes in intuitive mobile necessities.
And while their recharging solution does not include a solar charging feature, the Uno and Duo FuelTanks are among the most versatile, considering they are about the same size as a cell phone. Although they cannot be charged by the sun (which is a cool concept), the Fueltank design stores enough power that keeping the charger full is never an issue.
Callpod's FuelTank carries four to eight times the capacity of an iPhone.
Compatible with more than 3,000 devices, it does more than charge a mobile phone. It charges everything from PDAs and headsets to cameras and Mp3 players. To handle any portable device, you might need to purchase additional adapters.
But for the most part, the standard package meets the needs of most people. The Uno includes a mini-USB and iPhone/iPod adapter. The Duo also includes a micro-USB, which has the added benefit of not only being able to charge two devices at once, but also carries twice as much battery life.
Neither FuelTank is overly large. The Uno weighs four ounces; the Duo weighs eight ounces. Given it's roughly the size of a phone, you can pack it inside a spare set of shoes for a trip, pop it in a car glove compartment, or pocket it easily enough.
Some other inventive solutions to portable recharging.
While the Dexim P-Flip doesn't support every mobile device, it is a solid solution for some iPhone owners. The Dexim P-Flip extends the life of the iPhone 4, 3GS, and 3G models for up to six hours of talk time or 10 hours of gaming.
The design is smart, because it the flip works like a dock or even a case (although I prefer my iPhone naked). When you do have an outlet available, you can charge it with a cord. They also have a car charger (sold separately). But solar seems to be the way to go with one limitation, which is why the edge goes to the FuelTank. A full solar charge takes about 15 hours.
Another variation in design is the Premium Solar Charger by XTG Technology. The initial design was obviously a car charger solution, given the unit comes equipped with suction cups to affix to a windshield. The USB connector allows anyone to hook up using their existing connector cords (assuming it is USB compatible). It also comes with a USB to mini-USB connector.
It also has a built-in twistable LED flashlight, giving it a secondary, although possibly unnecessary, function. Like the Dexim P-Flip, the device doesn't fully charge portable devices as much as it extends their life. XTG Technology says it charges most iPhones to 50 percent. Among solar chargers, this one seems to have the best consumer feedback.
Among solar chargers for iPhones, the Dexim P-Flip has a slight edge but the Premium Solar Charger is better for more versatility. Neither has the charging capacity of the FuelTank.
The FuelTank By Callpod Powers Up To 7.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
The difference between solar and stored power solutions is the purpose — as a traveler or for boating solutions, the FuelTank is the smarter buy all around. The solar charges are cool, especially if you are looking for a survival solution because you can always recharge the device without any source of power.
You can find the FuelTank direct from Callpod, along with dozens of other portable and mobile solutions. The Uno is available for about $50 and the Duo for $70.
The Dexim P-Flip is a specialty item at Amazon. It retails for about $80, which is a big investment. The Premium Solar Charger is the more affordable solar option at about $30. You can find it on Amazon.
Some other quick battery saving tips: turn down the ringtone, turn off vibrate, power down Bluetooth and WiFi when not in use, reduce the background brightness, and skip the screensavers. All these tips are proven effective in lightening the load on batteries.