Regular Cheapskate readers (or "cheeps," as I affectionately refer to them) know that mobile chargers come in all shapes and sizes, and sell for pretty close to peanuts these days.
Ah. But the vast majority of them can charge only small devices: phones, maybe a Kindle. A smattering have enough juice to help out a tablet.
What of my poor laptop, though, which barely manages 3 hours anymore? Why won't somebody make a mobile charger that can power an actual computer?
Someone did. And it's expensive -- but a lot more affordable today. For a limited time, StackSocial has the ChargeTech Portable Power Outlet for $166.50 shipped. That's after applying coupon code cheapcharge12 at checkout. Price on Amazon: $269.95.
That's for a 12,000mAh unit; if you really need a lot of go-go-juice, there's also the Portable Power Outlet with 18,000mAh for $184.50, this time with code cheapcharge18. And you may well want to consider spending that extra $18, because the bigger unit gives you two USB ports instead of just one.
Whichever version you choose, you can charge multiple devices simultaneously. And that AC outlet is good for more than just a laptop; it can actually power small appliances like tools, lamps and curling irons -- anything that draws less than 65 watts (or 85 if you go with the bigger one).
I've had the chance to test these, and I must admit I get a charge out of both. Ha. But seriously, they're great products, and you can look to the stellar user reviews on Amazon for further proof. (The black model is shown there; StackSocial offers only the white ones.)
At this price point I realize these won't appeal to everyone, but if you travel a lot and really need extra power for your laptop, this is a compact, lightweight and quite affordable solution -- especially compared with most competing products. Thoughts?
Bonus deal: The Burg 12 is a little-known but very cool-looking smartwatch, one that's far more capable than most. For one thing, it's actually a phone. For another, it sports a lovely color screen, a built-in camera, even an FM radio. (I suspect it also slices and dices.) Want to win one? The folks over at TechSpective are offering you the chance, just for signing up for their newsletter. (P.S. Do you want me to share more contests like this? Let me know in the comments.)
Bonus deal No. 2: A quick rerun for those who missed it last time: While supplies last, DigJungle (via eBay) has the refurbished Samsung Chromebook XE303C12-A01US for $129.99 shipped. It features an 11.6-inch screen, 16GB of solid-state storage, and the mostly hassle-free Chrome OS. That's just a crazy-good deal. Crazy good.