On power and charging


Over the last decade there has been a massive societal change.

Back in 2006, most of us didn’t have smartphones (the first iPhone was released in June 2007). We had mobile phones that we used to make calls on. The batteries used to last for ages. A couple of days? Three?

Now we live our lives on mobile devices. Their batteries don’t even last a full day of use. So suddenly, access to power is a major issue. Managing battery life is a vital skill in the modern world.

Suddenly, plug sockets are a major commodity. The battery icon, showing how much power is left on my laptop or phone, has great emotional significance – almost as much as the icon indicating wifi availability/strength.

I travel a lot, and even with a MacBook Air which boasts some 10 h battery life (what luxury! How did I live without it?), I’m often on the look out for a power socket. Especially at airports, because sockets in airports are still a rare commodity, even though 95% of passengers are looking for one. One of the joys of lounge access is the plentiful power sockets (in addition to bad food, poor coffee and low quality wine).

It’s an amazing feeling knowing that you have more than enough battery life on your phone and laptop. It’s a big warm emotional kick. Conversely, knowing you are running out and trying to nurse your battery through the day is so frustrating. It makes a huge difference if you are on a night out and you have enough battery, because getting home – whatever the hour – is so much easier with a smartphone and GPS signal.

And talking of power, one of the most frustrating thing about travelling is how few accessible plug sockets most hotel rooms have. It is just bonkers. You often find yourself reaching behind furniture or moving the bed, or unplugging lights or TVs just to charge your phone. Sensible hotels offer a USB power supply next to the bed. There are so few sensible hotels.

Happiness for the modern traveller is full charge on all devices.

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