External Battery – You (Probably) Need One! 1

If you have (and constantly use) a smartphone, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of “battery anxiety”. The constant need to plug in your phone wherever you can to make sure you don’t run out (or run low) of juice seems to be one of the bigger stressors of smartphone ownership (along with the phantom vibration syndrome from a few years ago). Apparently there’s even a proposed ‘phobia’ – nomophobia – to get a related issue (fear of being without mobile phone contact) into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth ed. (DSM-V). Yikes!

How I Use My Phone:

I use my phone quite a bit in my daily life and work – it holds my calendar and my email, but I’ve also started using Google Drive and Keep to keep notes about lessons and reminders for students, as well as Google Sheets to track invoices and payments from a variety of sources. I’ve even got a ‘practice log’ setup in Sheets to keep track of my own practice and warm-up routines, as well as metronome and tuner apps that I use liberally throughout the day.

I’ve got somewhere between “almost enough” and “way too many” podcasts that I listen to while doing chores or driving, and I track things like time spent on work and non-work projects, mileage for tax purposes, food, and exercise all on my phone. If that wasn’t enough, I also have some e-books that I’m currently reading at night and during breaks during the day, as well as an RSS feed to keep abreast of current events and news for a variety of topics.

I know that I’ve mentioned using apps for a tuner and metronome to lots of students as a much cheaper (and handier) alternative to a separate tuner, metronome, and recording device. These apps can drain the battery if you use them throughout your practice session (hint, hint)  – an external battery will ensure that you can still log onto FaceChatSpace when your practice is done.

External Battery: Two Recommendations

While I certainly use my phone quite a lot throughout the day, I’m not sure that my use is higher than average. I do, however, spend a lot of time not at a desk or office, so when I’m not in my car I have very little opportunity to plug my phone in.  I got my first external battery (this Intocircuit battery) on a whim during an Amazon sale and it was so useful that I eventually gave it to my wife (who goes through her battery much quicker than I do!) and got another one for myself (this Kmashi battery). The Intocircuit has a bit larger of a battery (although both are big enough for almost 4 complete 0-100% charge cycles for our phones) and a flashlight and percentage display of its charge, but the Kmashi is about half the cost of the Intocircuit and is a little bit sleeker to hold.

Aside from the minor feature differences, both of these external batteries can charge two devices at a time (one at a faster 2.1A and the second device at 1A) and fit easily into a horn case, a bag, or a purse. About the only thing that I would replace is the white USB cable that both come with – I need to get a “concert black” version so that the cord running from my case to my phone isn’t as obvious on stage (or in the pit).

By the way, these are great during long musicals or operas. And we’re entering Nutcracker season…


Here’s a quick Amazon link and image to both of the batteries that I’ve mentioned:

About Colin Dorman

Colin is a freelance horn player and teacher, as well as a fan of tech of all sorts, aviation, and increasingly complex flight simulators. He also enjoys beer, bourbon and fitness - but not at the same time. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, as well as right here at ColinDorman.com!