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Cool chargers: No, really

Ahh, the humble battery charger. It’s the utterly essential accessory without which not a single bell or whistle on your shiny clever phone would work. More often than not, these worker-bees of the mobile phone world are reviled or – worse – ignored. Be ambivalent about chargers no more, as we’ve rounded up the cream of the charger crop, from clever eco-chargers to simply beautiful concept designs. Enjoy.

Ripcord charger
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to charge your mobile phone anywhere, anytime? No plugs nearby? No problem. Convert your own personal body power into juice for your phone with the YoGen Charger – just pulling the rip cord generates power which is output to the handset via a mini-USB port. It works with a whole bunch of handsets, and costs around £30 from

Charge using Wi-Fi from the air
This is the ultimate in wireless power. The RCA Airnergy, which it describes as a “Wi-Fi hotspot power harvester” can now store energy harvested from Wi-Fi in a rechargeable battery. We’re hazy on the details but rest assured, there’s some super clever technological power harvesting going on here. Just think, all you have to do is be near a Wi-Fi router and the clever little gadget will be refuelling ready for your next charge. Considering that Wi-Fi is pretty much everywhere in cities these days, it couldn’t be more convenient. The Airnergy Charger isn’t out yet, but reports from CES suggest it’ll be out later this year in the USA – let’s hope we’re not far behind.

Twirly whirly finger charger
Fidgeters, this one’s for you. Don’t waste your time fiddling with your hair, twirling your keys or tapping your fingers – if you’re feeling restless, pop your phone battery into the case and swirl this handy little charger around 130 times instead. This will generate 24 minutes of standby power or 2 minutes of talking on your phone (model dependent, of course) so if you’re in dire straits and out of power it’s the ideal solution. Unfortunately, as a concept product, the finger charger is still relegated to the realms of fantasy.

Wind charger
Renewable power is great because it’s good for the planet and all that, but it can also save you a few quid in the long run. The HYmini range converts energy from the sun and the wind into phone calls and twitter updates via your phone. Referred to as a ‘Personal Wind Generator’, the wind-powered charger is less gaseous than it sounds and can take energy even from the lightest of breezes. If you’re heading somewhere calm, never fear: it can also store up power from the mains to refuel your phone later. Pick it up for around £39.99 from

Beautiful toaster charger
This is our favourite of the bunch, given our love for both toast and phones. Sadly still a concept, this cute-as-a-button charger would require you to remove the battery from your phone for charging. But, we can overlook that lack in practicality because, well, it’s a toaster!

Bio Battery – Charge your phone using Coke
Alright, this one’s not massively practical. A concept Nokia phone, designed by Daizi Zheng, can be re-charged with sugary drinks – the battery uses the sugar to generate electricity so it could, feasibly, be recharged using Coke. Not sure we’ll be rushing out to buy one if it ever goes into production, but it’s certainly a neater approach to charging than all those wires we’re used to.