First, let's divide up different kinds of battery-powered USB hubs. There's one category where the hubs still need to draw computer power but can add a little extra juice of their own. If you've got a netbook you're probably carrying around some kind of external drive that needs more power than it can get through a single USB. Usually this is solved by giving you a USB Y-cable where one plug is just for power. These hubs have rechargeable batteries and extra ports to provide the needed extra power. But they won't work unless they're plugged into a computer.
Then there are standalone batteries that can charge USB peripherals without any help from a laptop. Cell phones with proprietary plugs have had these kinds of "emergency chargers" for years. But convenient universal USB solutions - charge, unplug, and carry - are still relatively rare. After the jump we discuss a few of the newer ones.
In the first category you've got hubs like the slightly mediocre but quite servicable Cyberpower CP-H420s. They've got the requisite rechargeable batteries and the requisite four ports. Useful but not exactly earth-shattering.
In the more useful category, the Tekkeon product line recently caught our eye. The TekCharge Rechargeable Li-Poly Battery, for instance, is a standalone Li-Poly battery that comes with connectors to just about any peripheral. It can provide hours of power. It has a cheaper rechargeable-battery cousin, the TekCharge Mobile Power and Battery Charger. Tekkeon even makes a more heavy-duty version that can provide power to laptops.
Dedicated Apple fanboys can purchase something like the reviveLITE. This does what the Tekkeon products do except it's slightly clunkier and works only with iPods and iPhones. But it's painted white! Don't say that we never did anything for you.
· Options for Minimizing Your Travel Gadget Chargers [Jaunted]