Thursday, November 3, 2016

Prudent Prepping: Product Upgrade

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.

One month ago, my boss moved me into a territory that is under-staffed, has historically been poorly managed, and can't hire (and keep) employees due to the very high cost-of-living for the area. My mileage has doubled and drive time has tripled per-week, but I'm working with a good guy three days a week and solo the other two days. I have the benefit of working with someone without being right beside them; I can listen to music or audio books and get my work done, yet still hear well enough to answer questions.

My phone is getting quite a workout connecting to streaming radio or book files while pairing to my Bluetooth headset. This has caused my Samsung Galaxy S6 to run down to less than 10% battery on several occasions, and the backup battery I used previously isn't up to the job of recharging both my phone and headset together. 

I needed something better, and this is what I found.

Antec Mobile Products LifeBar 10 
From the company web site:
Connect to this 10,000 mAh portable battery charger, and give your devices the power they need. Featuring Smart IC, our exclusive intelligent charging circuit design will automatically identify and match the fastest charging speed for your device (max 2A) for a quicker, more efficient charge. The 1A and 2A USB ports rapidly charge two devices simultaneously, providing smartphones, tablets, mp3 players, cameras, or other USB gadgets with enough power to keep going throughout your busy day. The built-in LED flash light and durable aluminum housing make LifeBar 10 an essential accessory that keeps you going while you’re on the go.

  • Micro-USB DC input : DC5V / 1A 
  • USB DC Output : DC5V / 2A 
  • Dimensions : 6.1" x 3.34" x 1.18" / 137 mm x 71.5 mm x 13 mm 
  • mAh : 10,000 
  • Standby Time : 800hrs 
  • Talk (3G) : 27hrs 
  • Talk (2G) : 33hrs 
  • Internet Time : 53hrs 
  • Audio Time Talk : 267hrs 
  • Video Time : 33hrs 
From my limited usage I believe some of the listed specifications may be optimistic, but during my lunch I have simultaneously charged both my phone and Bluetooth headset (Blue Ant Pump Lite).* I have done this two days in a row without recharging the LifeBar and still had charge left as indicated by the built-in Remaining Charge LED lights.

Top: Remaining Charge indicator Left: On-Off switch, 1A output, Input, 2A output, flashlight 
I have not yet run the Life Bar 10 all the way flat (because I've only had the unit for one week), but that will be something to be tested in the future. 

An added feature is a small flashlight (seen in the above picture on the right of the unit) built into the charger and similar to the SIIG I already own--  just much, much weaker. 

The LifeBar10 is the same length and width as my Galaxy S6 but twice as thick, so it barely fits into my phone case. I don't want to add another belt pouch (to avoid the Batman Utility Belt look), and at almost 5 oz. it can stay in my gear bag or jacket pocket.

All things considered, the AMP Life Bar 10 fits my needs and available storage options very well.

The Takeaway
  • Reasonable size and weight 
  • Ability to charge two devices at once 
  • Easy to see Remaining Charge LED lights 
  • Small built-in flashlight 

The Recap
  • Antec Mobile Products LifeBar 10 backup battery: $34.99 from Amazon with Prime.

*Not reviewed but highly recommended: the BlueAnt Pump Lite Bluetooth headset. Apple-type ear buds don't fit my ears well, and the Pump Lite comes with several different sizes of in-ear covers and also novel curved retention pieces designed to mechanically lock into the folds of your ear. Check them out!

Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon this Holiday season, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running!

If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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