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Stay Sane on the Plane

Our guide to taking the edge off the many hours of cramped airplane time with a trove of portable tech—from noise-cancelling headphones to super laptops to e-books and gaming—will keep you sane on the plane.
Steve Morgenstern
From the Print Edition:
Saturday Night Live: How it Shapes Our Politics & Culture, September/October 2011

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No matter how carefully you choose your portable digital companions, you’re going to run out of battery power at some point. And if you forget to charge your phone before leaving home, you could have a real problem on your hands when you land. The solution? A portable battery charger.

Basically we’re talking about an external battery you charge and toss into your traveling bag. When one of your digital devices dies of electron deprivation, you simply connect the portable charger and use it as an immediate power source or to recharge the device for later use. You don’t have to worry about constantly topping up the battery—they’ll hold a charge for months if not used. Do the smart thing once and you’re protected for a good long time.

Portable chargers come in many shapes and sizes, to meet different power needs. I always have a small one in my bag, since I run a smartphone with wonderful features but battery life that may or may not last through a long day. The goBAT II from Scosche Industries ($89.99) offers a nice balance between size and capacity, with the option to charge two devices at once and the higher-than-usual 2.1-amp capability required for an iPad. At roughly 3 x 5 x 0.6 inches, though, it’s a bit large to carry in a pocket.

For both smaller and larger challenges, Energizer  offers a range of choices, from pocket-size phone chargers starting at $20 through a $180 laptop charger, including models designed for digital cameras and portable gaming devices. The Scosche charger uses the USB charging cables provided with your portable device. Energizer’s has a charging cable and a selection of tips to connect to a variety of models. Finding the right connection is easier than it used to be, since most phones now use standard micro-USB ports and many other devices rely on mini-USB. If you have a more obscure connector, though, Energizer promises to send you the appropriate tip adapter at no charge.

Steve Morgenstern is a contributing editor for Cigar Aficionado.

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