When you travel away from the home zone, your phone is in roaming mode.  Roaming mode is a big drain on puny cellphone batteries.  The constant need to provide instant updates makes cellphones a necessity in our way of life; selfies, instagram, fb tags and foursquare location updates

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stealth creeper shot of a guy on his cellphone lugging a large battery to charge his dying phone.

Cellphone companies keep releasing phones which are thinner and faster than before.  Thin phones require small batteries and in the quest to appease the horde, design becomes the sole avenue to dictate change.  My first cellphone had a battery which would last for days.  My current cellphone has a battery which will last for 12 hours if I am lucky.  The ability to call up any and all information at my fingertips comes at a cost of humanity’s constant battle with battery life.  There is only one real way for ensure cellphone usage is adequate is to increase the size of the battery.  Cellphone manufacturers will not do this so there is a large aftermarket industry to cater to this need.

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phone sits in a tray

Mophie is one such company making extended battery packs for the masses.  Apple verified.  The problem with Mophie is the sheer amount of fakes.  In my quest to a extended battery for a non-Apple phone, I was lead to ZeroLemon.  ZeroLemon via Amazon has high failure rates, from a engineering and manufacturing standpoint they are scrimping on materials and using poor quality products.  Que Mugen Power.  A niche player making quality products.  They use battery cells manufactured by BYD (the Warren Buffet China Electric car company and the maker of the electric taxis you seem plying the trade on HK streets).  BYD manufactures batteries that go into OEM products found in China cellphone manufacturers and GoPros.

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it’s the size of a spyderco knife, pm2 for scale.

There is no avoiding the fact your slim state of the art phone is now a brick.  This is the question you will need to ask yourself, do I want my phone to work at all costs or do I want my phone to look sexy?  You can’t look sexy if your phone does not work.  The extended battery packs that become one with your phone are not available everywhere.  The phone banks are readily available everywhere.  It must be the convenience issue of holding costs and supply.  Mugen products are special order.  I need the battery pack as my phone doubles as a wifi hotspot provider to my visiting friends.  Power banks are a poor solution as the first picture will show.  The cables become a tangled mess and you are carrying 2 items to assist 1 giving you 3 things in your purse for cellphones.

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well thought out design, some even have trays for SD cards and NFC charging

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once you plug it into a wall outlet to charge, a red light turns on similar to cellphones. The light will turn green once it is ready to go.

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the only problem with this design is it connects to your phone via a micro-usb cable. you pull out and plug into your phone. the new models mimic the mophie design where it encapsulates it like a box.

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pull out design.

If you are traveling on your own, the extended battery pack is a must-have item especially if you plan to use the camera function.  If you are traveling in a group, another option to save money would be to buy the wifi boxes.  When you run the phone on Data it drains the battery quick but if you turn data off and run it on WiFi the drain is manageable.  Que pocket wifi, these egg shaped devices are popular in Asia.  You can buy it at most computer and cellphone stores.  Avoid buying from a carrier as they lock you into a contract.  The device takes a sim card and broadcasts a wifi signal so you have data everywhere you go.  It will increase your phones battery life as your phone connects via wifi, enabling the phone battery to concentrate on powering the screen and everything else.

pocket wifi

pocket wifi

Pocket WiFis are a good product if you are traveling in a large group.  Everyone can share the wifi signal so the group saves money by not having to buy individual SIM cards.  Pocket WiFis share the same risks as cellphones, constant use will drain the battery quickly but before it fails your cellphones battery life is preserved.  Japan is one area where I see many users carrying pocket WiFis.  I don’t see it anywhere else but I have slowly started to notice more tour groups using it.  It’s smart.

For Hong Kong travel, the government has a Discover Hong Kong SIM card pack – $69 for a 5 day pass and $118 for a 8 day pass (Macau data roaming included).  The Macau data roaming being included is cheaper than one day of roaming via Smartone.  The goons at Smartone charge $300 per day to roam in Macau.  The plans are available at the airport so you are ready to go as soon as you land in Hong Kong.  7-11, Circle 7 and PCCW also sell the tourists travel packs.


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