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Top ten Android tablets with the best battery life available today – March 2015

If you’ve ever found yourselves pet peeved by smartphone battery shortcomings, odds are tablet energy efficiency makes your skin crawl and blood boil. Generally, these laptop replacements can last longer than their larger, physical keyboard-sporting ancestors, and in many cases, they infuriate their owners far less than meager handhelds as they don’t tend to be used as much during a normal day.

Android battery

But let’s picture the following scenario. You’re on a train, all alone, no power plug in sight, no travel entertainment offered, just you, your tiny phone and Full HD video-ready 10-inch slate. Or maybe you’re on a non-stop plane from New York to Hong Kong and the in-flight movies make up an homage to the “best” of Adam Sandler.

At first, you feel no boredom or irritation with your airline’s poor Hollywood taste, but after binge-watching a couple of House of Cards episodes, you realize there’s no way you’ll get through the spanking new special edition “Interstellar” DVD.

Tablet on train

An external power bank would come in mighty handy at this point, but why spend extra on accessories and struggle to remember to carry them with you everywhere when you can simply buy an “always-on” tablet? No, there’s no such thing per se, however these ten autonomy champs will certainly feel like they can keep the lights on no matter how long the trip:

Lenovo Yoga 10 HD+ – $421

Quite expensive for a non-Samsung iPad rival with a little green robot running the software show, the Full HD+ 2014 Yoga is rated at an 18-hour “average” battery life by its manufacturer, which drops to roughly 13 hours in Laptop Mag’s tests.

Lenovo Yoga 10 HD+

Basically, even with high-quality movies continuously played at maximum brightness, you should be able to squeeze out north of 10 hours from the somewhat bulky 10 incher. Which brings us to its main flaw. It weighs 615 grams with a built-in “3-stage” kickstand, so a whopping 180 grams or so more than the iPad Air 2.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 10 – $290

It’s weird, but this baby is a lot cheaper than the Yoga 10 HD+ and it’s actually newer, thus standing a better chance of scoring Lollipop eventually and further improving its stamina via Project Volta enhancements.

Lenovo-Yoga-Tablet-2

It also features a similarly high-res 1,920 x 1,200 pix res screen, and the design is virtually identical, with all that entails, both good and bad. The only noticeable difference is the Yoga Tablet 2 10 replaces its cousin’s Snapdragon 400 chip with an Intel Atom, losing a few energy-saving points in the process. Not many, though, and you should still get 11, maybe 12 hours in “mixed” use.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 – $235

Okay, so an 8-inch 1,280 x 800 panel is hardly ideal for on-the-go entertainment. But it’s still better than the 5 incher you’re holding in your pocket, and thanks to a secondary cell-tucking kickstand once again, autonomy is estimated at 18 hours.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8

More like 10 or 11 in real-life, uninterrupted use. Which is awesome, given this is a fraction of an iPad mini’s price.

LG G Pad 10.1 – $219 outright in Wi-Fi-only configuration; $150 with Verizon contracts and LTE speeds

13 hours and 55 minutes. That’s not a figure fabricated by LG in a “controlled environment”, with casual web browsing or occasional low-quality gaming. It’s Laptop Mag’s record-setting test result. And it’s not surprising in the least, since there’s really nothing here to quickly drain the massive 8,000 mAh pacemaker.

LG G Pad 10.1

Just a 1,280 x 800 display, frugal quad-core S400 SoC, 1 GB RAM and KitKat software. Of course, once LTE is added in the equation, a good few hours of juice evaporate.

LG G Pad 7.0 – $129 outright with Wi-Fi; $100 and up at AT&T with 4G LTE

A 4,000 mAh ticker doesn’t sound like a workhorse, but LG manages to pull off another sensible, ultra-low-cost system capable of lasting over 11 hours on a single charge. It goes without saying you’re pretty much buying a phablet here, and those Adam Sandler flicks on the larger screen are no longer the worst case scenario.

LG G Pad 7.0

But hey, if you want to catch up on the news, read a book, play Candy Crush, that sort of thing, the G Pad 7.0 is your guy.

Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 – $379 and up

Fire HDX 8.9

Costly, not exactly pretty and the worst nightmare of Android purists, this was found to be good for 10 hours+ of “mixed use” by Trusted Reviews, including 5 hours of video and 1.5 hours of gaming. Not too shabby for that Retina-topping 2,560 x 1,600 display, zippy 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 805 processor and generous 2 GB RAM.

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 – $650 and up

Speaking of slightly overpriced and this time overgrown Androids, the Note Pro is as travel-convenient as a mini-laptop. It’s clearly not as productive, but on the plus side, it delivers jaw-dropping 2,560 x 1,600 pixels resolution on a humongous 12.2-inch Super Clear LCD glass, and yet survives running times of at least 8 hours with grace.

Galaxy Note Pro

Also, it can be had with a neat Samsung Bluetooth keyboard stand/cover accessory for $575 in used, “like new” condition. Not that overpriced in that combination.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 – $499

You’d think the ultra-crisp Super AMOLED 2,560 x 1,600 pix res panel would go through the less-than-gigantic 7,900 mAh cell like a knife through butter, especially with a potent Exynos 5 Octa chip under the hood. But amazingly, Trusted Reviews got a staggering 14 hours out of the uber-bright pad. With KitKat, not Lollipop just yet.

Galaxy Tab S 10.5

That’s with certain sacrifices, of course, a few features turned off and no gaming. Then again, Wi-Fi was on the whole time, and so was “high-quality” video. Time to get some “Interstellar” plot clarifications from Chris Nolan himself.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet – $400 with Verizon pacts; $440 international Wi-Fi-limited version

More than a year old and about to be replaced by a crisper, punchier, slimmer new kid on the block, the 10.1-inch Z2 remains a smart buy for folks always on the move. It’s only 6.4 mm thin, weighs 439 grams, withstands dust and water contacts, produces Full HD+ images and vids, and above all, can be charged from 0 to 60 percent in half an hour.

Xperia Z2 Tablet

And yes, the battery is tiny, at 6,000 mAh, but GSM Arena reports it’s capable of amazing things. Nearly 13 hours in web browsing and 12 in video playback.

Asus Transformer Pad TF701 – $270 standalone tablet; $330 keyboard bundle

It feels like Asus is cheating, and in a way it is, providing roughly 10 hours of energy on the TF701 in slate mode, and boosting the number to 14 hours or so with the dock attached. But if you don’t mind the extra bulk, what’s the harm?

Asus TF701

 

Too bad the TF700 line hasn’t been refreshed in a while, and so the 2,560 x 1,600 LCD screen is outstanding, but the Nvidia Tegra 4 processor a tad disappointing compared to newer Snapdragons. Oh, and there are no Lollipop update hopes. Well, it’s still considerably cheaper than Sony’s Xperia Z2 Tablet, even when purchased alongside an autonomy-enlarging keyboard.

Not easy to pick just one, huh? Be sure to evaluate exactly what you need a new slate for, and stay tuned for a top gaming options roundup.

Got juice? Here are the best external battery power banks available today

We’ve all been there. Smack-dab in the middle of a critical phone conversation/argument with the GF or wife. An important business call. The longest, most rewarding Temple Run gaming session yet. Lost in traffic, trying to retrace our way back home on Google Maps. On the slowest train in the history of public transportation, doing everything possible to preserve our mental sanity on Facebook.

Android battery

All of a sudden, you see darkness. Just as she was starting to buy your excuse for forgetting about her birthday, just as you were closing the month’s biggest sale, a few feet away from a new personal record. Oh, and what was that, left or right at the next intersection? You’ll never know, because those lazy jerks couldn’t be bothered to put a decent battery on their latest “flagship”.

How could they when they made it thinner than a pencil and “lighter than air”? Heck, even the best of the best (we’re looking at you, Droid Turbo) can only enjoy limited continuous use. It’s an inconvenience we’ve begun to accept since phones became too smart for their own good. Smarter than their owners and manufacturers.

Android low battery

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s this magical universal accessory working as the answer to all your prayers. It’s called a power bank, portable charger or external battery and offers to prolong the life of your smartphone or tablet to the point you won’t be able to keep up with it.

And typically, these things are fairly cheap. Without further ado, here are the ten best such contraptions available on Amazon for literally any and all Android devices:

Second-gen Anker Astro Mini 3,200 mAh – $12.99 in black; $15.99 in blue; $19.99 in three other colors

Anker Astro Mini

For the record, we’re listing these in no particular order. So we’re not saying the Astro Mini is number one. But Amazon claims it’s the website’s top-selling external cell phone battery pack, and the glowing customer reviews leave little room for doubt.

4.5 stars from over 12,200 opinions. This baby is a must-buy. It’s incredibly inexpensive, tiny and light, resembles a lipstick tube (hello, ladies), and vows to add almost a full charge to a Galaxy S5 in no time.

Omaker Intelligent 10,000 mAh – $19.99

Omaker Intelligent

Another best seller (in touch screen tablet cases?!), with a 4.6 star average and whopping 10,000 mAh capacity, the Intelligent is slightly pricier, but it can juice up a tablet, any tablet, from 0 to 100 percent. Pretty impressive for 20 bucks, and the 2.1A charging speed is also quite staggering. Oh, yeah, there are two USB outputs as well. Double whopper!

Second-gen Anker Astro E4 13,000 mAh – $29.99 and up

Another Anker? Man, these guys are good. You can say that again, and close to 5,000 satisfied buyers will confirm it any time. It goes without saying 13,000 mAh is enough for a high-end slate and smartphone, and E4’s pair of USB ports let you easily load up two gadgets simultaneously. With up to 3 amp speed.

Anker Astro E4

Sufficiently light and thin to fit in the palm of your hand, the Astro E4 is also fairly robust, withstand drops and contacts with hard surfaces.

Third-gen RAVPower Deluxe 15,000 mAh – $39.99

They say bigger is better, and so this 15,000 mAh beast shines bright like a champion, with a couple of 4.5A USB connectors for synchronous two-tablet charging. Obviously not our slimmest contender, the Deluxe stands out nonetheless with iSmart technology, as well as premium A+ cells good for over a thousand charging cycles.

RAVPower Deluxe

RAVPower Luster 3,000 mAh – $12.99

Only got the one phone, a limited budget and favor portability and style ahead of muscle? The Luster might be the ideal choice for you, especially if you’re a lady who wants her external power bank to go unnoticed among typical make-up instruments.

RAVPower Luster

Lipstick-shaped, weighing less than 3 ounces and made from a long-lasting aluminum alloy, the Luster automatically detects and delivers the optimal charging current for your connected device, and is guaranteed for 500 cycles.

Xiaomi Mi Power Bank 10,400 mAh – $23.58 and up

Let’s be honest, Xiaomi entered this market with an unfair advantage over its lesser known competitors, having quite the reputation in the smartphone business for respectable, affordable products.

Xiaomi Mi power bank

Respectable and affordable is the best way to describe the Mi Power Bank, what with its outstanding aluminum casing, relatively compact form factor, optimized charging/discharging efficiency, stellar device compatibility (not just Xiaomis), and, of course, staggering capacity, as well as fast 2.1A acceleration. Way to branch out and bring your A game to this tricky niche, Xiaomi!

IOGear GearPower 11,000 mAh – $44.99

Does 45 clams feel a little rich for your blood? Then be sure to check out the 7,000 mAh model, available at $29.99. But hurry, quantities are limited. Back to the 11,000 config, it actually provides decent value for money, given the 12,000 mAh version is an exorbitant $62.95.

IOGear GearPower

And once again, customer reviews don’t lie – 4.6 stars for a simple, minimalistic, hefty external battery capable of keeping the lights on for two separate devices, courtesy of 2.1 and 1A USB ports.

Poweradd Pilot 2GS 10,000 mAh – $19.99

Whoa, now that’s an outstanding bang for buck factor! Think about it, you’ll be paying a dollar per 500 mAh energy. With 12-month worry-free manufacturer warranty, dual 2.1/1A USB connectivity, aluminum construction, auto detect technology and an attractive, lightweight design.

PowerAdd Pilot

Zilu Smart Power Basic 4,400 mAh – $15.99 in black; $17.50 in pink; $24.90 in white

Equipped with a handy LED flashlight, made from premium, durable materials and resistant to surface scratches, this somewhat bulky (given the capacity) accessory delivers more than a full charge for your Galaxy S4 or S5.

Zilu SmartPower

And it does so with 93 percent efficiency, temperature control, overvoltage and short circuit protection, plus a useful reset mechanism. Let’s not forget the extended two-year warranty, 1000 life cycles promise, and, oh, that incredibly low price point. Darn it, it’s getting harder and harder to pick just one.

AmazonBasics 2,000 mAh – $12.99; $14.99 with 3,000 mAh capacity

We realize this is no way to wrap up an exceptional list of uber-convenient, powerful smartphone/tablet accessories, but Amazon’s own petite line of power banks is affordable, low-profile and lightweight enough to be worth a shot, despite being, well, a smidge too basic.

AmazonBasics

Besides, if you’re wary of shopping brands you’ve never heard of, like Anker or Zilu, these things are Amazon-backed and certified. Plus, a USB cable and carrying pouch are included in the $13 and up package. Not so bad after all, huh?

That’s all for today, folks, so as usual, we’d like to get your feedback now. Own any of the above? Thinking of buying? Which one and why?