Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our expert? Email him at craig@inman.com.

The pitch

My wife’s parents wonder why we don’t have a landline.

They express this opinion quite often (simultaneously, of course) while on separate extensions of their landline. With exceptional patience and hard-earned tact, my wife attempts to explain that we travel a great deal, use our phones for more than just talking, and that while certainly of better sound quality, a landline is essentially a waste of money.

Almost as if the question wasn’t due a response, they argue with one another about something for a moment and the topic quickly shifts to canned pickles.

Since we all travel so much, run mobile CRMs, capture video, control drones and text until our emoticons unionize and announce a strike, I thought it would be worthwhile to discuss how we keep our smartphones charged.

The sale

I argue that no industry, collectively, uses more smartphone data than residential real estate. Commercial agents are no strangers to mobile tech, but they’re just talking about golf handicaps and changing tailors. Car chargers are one thing, but what about all day at a slow open house? Or at Starbucks when all the plugs are taken and there’s still foam in your cup?

You need to stay powered to compete, and caffeine doesn’t always do it. Maybe these gadgets will help.


Power Practical Lithium 4400: I have to have a phone when guiding guests in remote places. I may not always have a signal, but the second I do, an emergency call needs to go out. I own this device, and it goes everywhere with me. It can hold power to charge two iPhones to capacity via USB and even an LED lantern that will run for hours. It’s also small enough to keep in your pocket while connected for charging.


Black Diamond Ember Power Light Flashlight: Maybe you were an industrial designer before you became a licensed agent? If so, this is your device charger. Sleek, ultraportable and also a flashlight, the Ember Power rotates its aluminum cylinder to reveal a touch-sensitive on/off switch for the light, then again to reveal the USB port. At the very least, you’ll have something to talk about at the next staff sales meeting.


Brunton Pulse 1500: Purely a portable power company, Brunton is who you call when the power goes out. (Or when the zombies come.) The Pulse 1500 is a palm-sized workhorse that will zap your phone back to life or keep it on this side of the ground when you’re just not ready to let the business day die. It’s a single-charge device, but for under $30, you can’t go wrong.


Goal Zero Switch 8 Recharger: Goal Zero creates an array of effective, affordable solar energy solutions that preppers just love. The Switch 8 is another front-pocket carry not much bigger than a Sharpie. It has a male USB port to charge it and a female port to deliver the goods. The LED charge meter is useful, too. If you happen to own a Goal Zero solar panel (and why don’t you?!), you can use it to charge the Switch 8, as well.

The close

There are a lot of portable chargers out there, so the decision can be cumbersome — especially if you’re like me: a person who spends way too much time researching purchases.

These specific options are targeted to the outdoor recreation world, which means they’re hardier than what you’ll find on the shelves at big-box stores, even though these are brands with which you may not be that familiar.

Who wants a pickle?

What’s your favorite portable charging device? Leave a comment and let us know!

Do you have a product for our tech expert to review? Email Craig Rowe.

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