This is my favorite power pack ever, as it simplifies every aspect of the device-charging process.
This is an update of a deal I wrote about earlier this year.
Given how utterly indispensable our mobile phones have become, it's no understatement to say that everyone needs a good travel charger. Of course, many of them can be kind of a hassle, in part because charging the charger itself often requires a USB port, and you usually have to pack along USB cables to charge your device(s).
That's why I've loved the MyCharge Summit ever since I first laid eyes on it at last year's CES. Since then it has become my most prized travel accessory.
Alas, it was always on the pricey side, but now you can get one for cheap -- like, really cheap: Ice Monkey has the refurbished MyCharge Summit 3000 mobile charger for $18 shipped. List price for a new one: $59.99.
Update: Apologies, everyone, looks like this is already sold out. The link now just takes you to Ice Monkey's main page. However, over at Amazon there's a third-party seller offering the Summit 3000 for $26.95, and it's new not refurbished. Still a great deal!
The Summit packs a 3,000mAh battery, which can recharge an average smartphone twice. Even better, you recharge the Summit's battery by plugging the entire unit right into an AC outlet. Its fold-up wall prongs tuck neatly out of the way when charging is complete.
How do you know when that happens? A voice tells you. In fact, it tells you all kinds of things, like "Apple device connected" and "battery is full." That's in addition to the five-LED power indicator that lights up with a press of the status button. Don't like the voice? You can switch over to tone-based notifications. No hablo Ingles? The Summit also speaks Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Thankfully, there's also a silent mode if you'd prefer it to just pipe down already.
Those are neat little amenities, to be sure, but the key reason I love the Summit is that, unlike the vast majority of mobile chargers, it doesn't require me to travel with a bunch of tips or cords. That's because it has three built-in connectors, all cleverly engineered onto fold-out arms: Apple 30-pin, Micro-USB, and standard USB.
Now, if you have a device with a Lightning or Mini-USB port, you will need to bring along your sync cable, which can plug into the Summit's USB port. (Indeed, that's how it insures compatibility with pretty much every mobile device there is.)
Thankfully, if you have multiple devices (say, a Kindle and an iPhone), the Peak can charge them simultaneously. And the USB arm allows the Peak to recharge via, say, your laptop's USB port (handy if there's no spare AC outlet available), but also affords syncing of your connected phone or tablet. To sum it all up another way, this thing does everything you could possibly want a mobile charger to do, all in a compact, no-accessories-required package.
Although this is a recertified Summit, it comes with a one-year warranty, same as new ones. I should note that MyCharge has discontinued this product (as well as the 6,000mAh Peak version), for reasons I can't possibly fathom. This right here: Best. Charger. Ever. Get one before they inevitably sell out.
(Update: According to a company rep, the Summit and Peak charges have not been discontinued, though both are listed as "sold out" on the MyCharge Web site.)
Bonus deal: Slingboxes are popular items for folks who want to watch live and DVR-ed shows when they're away from home. Alas, they've always been expensive, even the older, discontinued models. But here's a rare deal: 1Sale has the refurbished Slingbox Solo for $49.99 shipped. With it you can "sling" just about anything from your home TV to your laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc. The current entry-level Slingbox (the 350) sells for $179.99.
Bonus deal No. 2: It's not quite Tablet Tuesday, but today only, Amazon has once again slashed prices on its Kindle Fires. For example, you can get the Kindle Fire HD (16GB) for $135.20, about four bucks less than the 8GB model. Or the HDX (16GB) for $183.20. Both are the Special Offers versions, which can actually be a good thing, as Amazon often delivers exclusive deals to them. I'm honestly not sure why anyone would choose an iPad Mini over one of these. (Discuss!)
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