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Charge to the next level

A lot of portable USB charging batteries advertise that they give your smartphone and other power-hungry devices a full charge on the go, which is typically true.

The Anker Astro3 external battery takes it to another level with its 12,000mAh capacity to charge most smartphones six to seven times before it needs a charge itself.

It's has three USB ports for charging three portable USB devices simultaneously.

One of those ports is a Smart Port, which is capable of charging high-powered devices such as the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

A neat thing is that there isn't a button or switch on the battery. To get it going, just shake it and plug in your device to begin the charging.

There is a small circular LED power indicator dial on the front indicating how much power is left in the Astro3.

It's also built with smart-chip technology to determine full charging speeds, so your device will be safe and charged properly.

It's built with a cool-looking black matte finish and is small enough to easily find a home in a computer bag or pocket for power on the go.

Details: $49.99; an accessory bag to store the battery is included; www.ianker.com.

Thinking outside the case

SMARTPHONE storage solutions kind of bore me at this point, but Otterbox always seems to have iPhone accessories that stick out from the rest. The company's newest product to prove that statement true is the Commuter Wallet phone case.

The multi-functional case for the iPhone 5/5s and the Samsung Galaxy S4 protects the devices as well as any case on the market, if not better. But what takes it to the next level is a sliding compartment on the bottom for a few credit cards or driver's license.

It makes your phone a little bulkier, but when you consider you eliminated your wallet, it's a pocket space-saver.

Otterbox also recently announced the Preserver Series line of waterproof cases.

They are available for the iPhone 5 and are coming soon for the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5s.

The cases are designed for spontaneous drops in the snow, puddles or an unexpected rainstorm. They are also designed to protect your phones from drops up to two metres.

Details: $44.95 for the Commuter Wallet, $89.95 for the Preserver, both available in multiple color combinations; www.otterbox.com.

Follow Gregg Ellman at Twitter.com/greggellman

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 17, 2013 A15

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