Technology moves fast. If you look around your house at technology you only bought within the last two years, doesn't it look old, slow or dated? Certainly in the land of PCs, laptops and mobile phones you find yourself moving from cutting edge to yesterday's news in less than six months.
There are two reasons for this. The first is to do with 'Moore's Law' which states that the number of transistors that can inexpensively be placed on a transistor will double every two years. What this means is the capabilities of the chips inside your mobile phone or laptop are pretty much doubling in that time frame! This is why my mobile phone can play games which pushed the top games consoles of the mid-to-late ninties and laptops can now not only play back high definition video, but allow you to edit it without having to wait all night to see the results! The other reason things move so fast is that all this increasing power is allowing the imaginations of software and app developers to go wild and when something big comes along, we all want to have it!
One area of technology has unfortunately struggled to keep up. The humble battery. Granted, there have been developments. One of my biggest frustrations as a child was after 3 hours of joy playing my Atari Lynx handheld games console, I had to wait 16 hours for the batteries to recharge! Now it's possible to charge those batteries in 15mins! It's also possible to safely charge many batteries before they are fully depleted, which once wasn't the case, so at least you can top your phone or mp3 player up when it's convenient. That said, it's still a frustration that my (rather intensively used) smartphone will only give me a day of use before the battery is screaming for mercy and this is a problem if I'm away from a charge point, for example when camping or staying at friends (okay, friends who are tight with their electricity?).
So what's the answer? Well, when it comes to mobiles, many people will carry two batteries. This sounds pretty inconvenient to me. The only way to charge the spare is to put it in the phone, which means regularly swapping out and if left in your bag for too long before you need it, you might find it's gone flat in the meantime! They don't hold their charge forever! The other problem is, perhaps it's not only your mobile phone's battery that you would like to keep running for longer whilst away from that humble but essential wall socket!
Step up the Veho Pebble. The Pebble is essentially a high capacity version of the battery sitting inside your ipod or mobile phone, Kindle, Nintendo DS or whatever. You simply charge it up and you can reckon on being able to leave it around three months before a top up charge would be a good idea. Stick it in your bag and anytime one of your portable gadgets is in need of a boost, connect up the Pebble using the supplied cable and the appropriate, also supplied, adaptor and you can charge back up wherever you happen to be!
I picked out the Pebble because it's much more than the cheapo emergency top-up chargers that are available. In its wonderfully tactile and svelte casing is a battery with a capacity some 400% larger than the Apple iPhone's. This means it won't just charge up your device once, depending on what your charging, you may well get two, or even three charges before the Pebble starts gasping. You'll get some warning too, as the Pebble has four blue LED lights showing you what it's own capacity is looking like. I found I could charge my HTC Desire S mobile phone twice on a recent camping trip and still have enough left to give the Amazon Kindle a boost. The difference between switching everything off on my phone to try and eke out as much time as I could from it in case of emergency, to not worrying a bit and using it as much as I want is worth the price of the Pebble alone, the fact that it charges so many other devices means there's always a handy use for it.
Here's a list of the devices I've tested it with:
- HTC Desire S
- Nintendo DS Lite
- Amazon Kindle 3
- Apple iPad (only boosted the battery 20%, but many others won't charge an iPad at all)
- Apple iPod Touch
The adaptors basically cover any device that can be charged with the various USB shapes, Nokia, Apple and Sony devices and the included neoprene case will keep the
safe in your bag or case on those long journeys.
For anyone who regularly takes trips where they're away from the socket for long enough that they put down their favourite gadgets to 'save battery' I strongly recommend you carry a Pebble in your bag so you can work and play with your gadgets with total peace of mind. The fact that it's a very nicely presented little gadget in itself (first battery I've ever wanted to stroke!) only adds to it's 'must have' abilities!