Portable power packs for charging your gadgets on-the-go have been around for years. They can be extremely handy in a pinch, letting you top off your phone or tablet no matter where you happen to be. You can, of course, also charge your Apple Watch with these, as well. Unfortunately, they also require you to carry at least two additional pieces of gear with you: the battery itself, and the charging cable for your device. This isn’t always convenient, obviously. Luckily, several startups are attempting to come up with more elegant solutions to the potential problem of having your watch die on you in the middle of the day.
Amber Charging Case by ClearGrass
Amber, by startup Cleargrass, is one example. Amber is a fairly simple box on the outside, but it packs some neat technology and features on the inside to help keep your Apple Watch charged and functioning. Let’s start with that outside. Amber is designed to protect your Apple Watch while it charges, so you can tuck it in a bag or suitcase while on the go and not have to worry about your baby getting all dinged up. It is essentially a hinged box made out of aluminum and plastic; it looks like it could be a jewelry box, which is fitting. It is available in four colors, to match your Apple Watch case: Space Gray, Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold. Up on top is a single button; pressing it will show how much battery power the charger has left, similar to the old pre-Retina MacBook Pros. Around back are a full-size USB port for connecting a phone or tablet, and a micro-USB port for charging Amber.
Inside, you’ll find a spool to wrap your Apple Watch charging cable around. This keeps the cord neatly out of the way; you do have to supply your own cable though. You plug the USB end of the charger into the spool, and a special connector on the bottom supplies it with power from the battery pack. It’s a pretty clever solution, really, and with the spool’s cover, you’ll never even see a charging cable unless you’ve got the Amber unit itself plugged in. The watch fits neatly around the spool, with plenty of room for your strap. The 3800 mAh battery pack is good for 8 full charges of Apple Watch, which is impressive. It’ll also fully charge your iPhone once before running out of juice. It can even charge them at the same time, if you’re in a pinch, and it’ll route the power so that the watch, phone and internal battery pack are all charged simultaneously. Finally, there is also an iOS app for Amber that will notify you when your watch is fully charged, show you how much juice is left in the battery pack, show you the health of the battery, and even locate the Amber unit if you lose it. Nifty!
Amber appears to be available only for preorder through Indiegogo at the moment. The company has met their fundraising goals, and units are being produced and shipped, but it isn’t yet available through retail outlets. The cost will be $99 on release, but the current preorder price is just $69, which isn’t a bad deal at all for what you get.
Pocket by Unity
Pocket is another on-the-go charging solution for your Apple Watch. Made by startup Unity, Pocket is a charger and carrying case for Apple Watch, much like Amber. Like Amber, it can also charge an iPhone or other device in addition to your watch. What makes Pocket unique is its modular design. It doesn’t just charge your iPhone; the top comes off and functions as a dock for your phone while it charges it. The bottom, where the battery is located, is also removable; you can pop it off and have a small, highly portable power bank to take out with you or share with a coworker or friend. This gives Pocket a big advantage in terms of utility. It also sports a bigger battery than Amber, allowing for 10 full charges of Apple Watch. Pocket is available in two styles: Black Jaguar, which is silver with black trim, and Rose Gold, which is rose gold with white trim. Pocket is currently only available for preorder on Indiegogo. Again, there are several options for purchasing, but the basic preorder cost is $62, which is quite reasonable.
A different take on the portable Apple Watch charger comes from Joostcube. Joostcube is a tiny cube with a built-in battery and magnetic charging disc that can charge Apple Watch up to 5 times. It really is small, too: 30x30x35mm. That’s about as wide as the Apple Watch case. It also has the distinction of being the first third-party charging accessory to have the magnetic charger built-in. Typically, you would have to supply your own charger and hope your dock provided some solution for cable management; this is a major selling point for the Joostcube. On one side, you’ll find a push-button battery meter, similar to the Amber charger, and on another you’ll find the micro-USB port, where you’ll charge the Joostcube’s 1500 mAh internal battery. It also has an anti-slip base, so if you set it down on your desk, it won’t try to run away. The whole package is available in a multitude of colors: black, white, red, purple, blue, green, orange, and pink. You can find the project on Indiegogo; no word on a date for retail availability. There are different purchasing options, but the basic cube with charging cable is $99.
If you frequently find your Apple Watch battery low during the day, each of these gadgets will do a lot to ease your pain. Whether you’re after style, utility, or just pure portability and ease of use, there’s a portable charger out there for you and your Apple Watch. Hit the links and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with always having your watch charged and ready to go!