battery

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 powers the Null 2 RetroPie gaming handheld

As a kid, I never had a Game Boy, Game Gear, or any other handheld console. Heck, as luck would have it I've never owned a Nintendo Switch, either.

I've played console and PC games, I've only used handhelds twice: once in middle school, when a friend let me borrow his Game Gear for a day, and last year year when my dad brought over his Nintendo Switch—which my kids quickly commandeered.

I guess out of a sense of jealousy, I decided the first thing I should do with Raspberry Pi's latest hardware, the Pi Zero 2 (see my review here), is build myself a handheld retro gaming console.

Null 2 kit on Tindie

And what better way than with the Null 2 kit (pictured above, from it's Tindie page), a kit integrating off-the-shelf components on a custom PCB, wrapped up nicely in a custom acrylic case.

Review: AUKEY 30,000 mAh USB-C Portable Charger (with USB A, USB C, Micro USB)

Jeff's Rating: 3/5

tl;dr: Slightly pricey, could use a better interface for charge status, and holds 20% less than the advertised capacity, but the still-plentiful amount of stored energy and the ability to charge via USB-C or USB-A makes this a versatile and potent power pack for the price.

Ever since the mid 90s, when I was able to lug around 'power bricks' with my then-amazing PowerBook 190 and 180c (hand-me-downs from relatives), I've been hoping for a reasonably-priced power brick that would double my laptop's battery life, affording me the ability to work all day even when I'm doing a ton of crazy things, like building a ton of VMs and Docker images.

AUKEY 30000 mAh Portable Charger

Review: Intocircuit Power Castle 15000 mAh Dual USB portable charger

Jeff's Rating: 4/5

tl;dr: Slightly pricey, but it'll be worth it when you need it!

I've carried a small external USB battery pack with me for the past few years, ever since I started relying on my iPhone as my only camera, phone, reading device, and emergency-backup-Internet device. And there have been many times where I would've been up a creek (or more literally, lost in the middle of an unfamiliar city!) without it.

But the little battery pack I tote around is only really for emergencies—it can barely top off my iPhone when the phone is already at 50% capacity, and if the iPhone gets below 10%, it'll struggle to even maintain the current charge if I have to use the iPhone while charging!

Intocircuit Power Castle - Front

Making an old iPod Mini Awesome Again

What's better than having every song you've ever purchased available wherever you are, without worrying about an expensive MP3 player getting stolen?

I've had my music library on my iPhone and iPad for some time now, but I find it cumbersome to listen to music on one of those devices, and I don't like taking them with me for a run, or setting them somewhere they might get stolen (like at a party, plugged into a stereo or sound system).

And I'm not going to buy a brand-new iPod mini or iPod touch just to play some tunes from time to time.

Enter the iPod mini—The best little MP3 player I've ever held (the click wheel was perfect, the texture was smooth, and the size was just right for my hands).

I just bought one for $20 from eBay (a 6GB silver edition), and the battery was dead. Plus it only held half my iTunes library. So, I wanted more storage space, and a longer-lasting battery (10 minutes of listening to music is rather boring).

Review: Phottix MB-D80 (D80/D90 Battery Grip)

Jeff's Rating: 4/5

tl;dr: You can (and should) pick up one of these things if you have a D90 or D80, and shoot vertically or need extra juice for the camera. The Nikon MB-D80/OEM model is a bit more solid, but you can't beat the Phottix's price!

Phottix MB-D80 Vertical Battery Grip

Take a look at what's hanging on the neck of almost any professional photojournalist, wedding photographer, or camera guy—you'll almost always see the tank-like and bulky body of a Nikon D1/2/3/X-series or Canon 1D-series SLR. The Phottix MB-D80 takes your D90 (in my case—it also works on the D80, though) and gives it three of the tank-like bodies' functions:

  1. A vertical shutter release/controls: When shooting portraits, this is immensely helpful.
  2. Double the battery life: You can stick an extra Nikon EN-EL3e battery in the grip (bringing your total to 2 batt's!).
  3. Look like a serious photographer: 'Nuff said.

The battery grip performs great, it can take a beating, and the shutter release and controls feel almost as good as using the controls on the camera body itself!