PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – You’re on the road and your phone goes dead.
Does that sound familiar?
Nearly half of vacationers say dead phone batteries are a problem, according to a Consumer Reports’ survey.
For those times when you can’t plug in, Consumer Reports checked out some smart new ways to keep your phone alive.
Phone batteries always seem to run out right when you need them.
Now, smartphone cases with a built-in battery are coming to the rescue.
Consumer Reports tested four made for popular phones.
“The cases promise to protect your phone and add extra battery life, and they all do that,” Consumer Reports’ Bernie Deitrick said.
For the iPhone 5 or 5S, testers found the $180 Mophie Space Pack almost doubled battery life. It also adds extra memory.
For Samsung’s Galaxy S4, the $70 U-Nu Unity Case also nearly doubled the phone’s battery life.
“It is a little awkward to set up, but you never have to do it again. That double battery life is there forever,” Deitrick said.
If you can’t find a case that fits your phone, the Samsung Galaxy portable battery pack can charge any phone that uses a USB cable, as long as you remember to power up the pack ahead of time. It costs $100.
If you can’t get to an outlet or don’t have electricity, Consumer Reports also tested some gadgets that actually generate power like a solar panel with a USB port.
Unfold it in the sun to restore power to your phone.
It’s the Goal Zero Nomad 7 for $80.
Goal Zero’s Lighthouse 250 Lantern is also $80.
Besides being a lantern and an emergency light, it has a large internal battery to charge your phone.
When that battery is spent, you can use the hand crank to power up your phone.
Consumer Reports also has some tips for conserving battery life when you’re far from power.
- Try lowering your phone’s screen brightness and turn off auto-updates.
- Use the GPS sparingly.
- When there’s no signal, put your phone in airplane mode.
That last tip will stop it from trying to connect, and turns off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and mobile connections.