Name: Jackery Giant
What it is: An external rechargeable battery for backing up portable devices, such as smartphones and iPads, when you run into a power desert. The Giant has two USB output ports (1 amp and a 2.1 amp) for powering two devices at once, plus a charge-status indicator. The maker claims the battery will hold its charge for six months. It comes in orange or silver.
The good: I normally wouldn't care what a battery looks like, but this one is Space Age gorgeous, and its slick aluminum body, measuring 4.3 by 3.1 by .08 inches, slides easily into a carry-on pocket. The real plus, though, is that it packs a punch. Having abandoned a travel netbook that couldn't last more than a few hours without being plugged in, I switched to an iPad. Now I rarely get caught low on power, because the iPad's internal battery can go days without charging at my use rate. Nevertheless, this backup battery can power up my iPad to at least 60 percent of capacity — and sometimes a bit more — so this is one powerful beast, and I never fear losing power while traveling. For phones or MP3 players, you would have a seemingly bottomless pit of power. Or Jackery makes smaller versions, such as the Jackery Mini ($19.95), a little bigger than a roll of Lifesavers but rectangular.
The bad: Though the battery delivers its power quickly, the Giant itself takes a while to charge fully; it seemed to average about 12 hours for me with a wall charger, not included. Also, the Giant is a bit weighty at slightly more than 10 ounces.
Available from: jackeryusa.com or
— Ross Werland, Tribune Newspapers