It says a lot about the state of the gadget market that there are so many portable power packs around. We’re clearly in a kind of power drought, with phones and tablets which require too much juice and not enough supply to go around. In other words, battery life stinks.
Hardly surprising then that there are gazilions of companies offering portable battery packs to take up the slack, and one of the most popular is Anker. This new updated Anker Astro E4 Portable Battery Pack features 2nd generation battery tech, offering 13,000 mAh in a box smaller than a pen case. It’s an impressive feat, and what’s more the company backs up the product with an 18 month warranty. Confidence.
The unit comes in a nice brown box, which we’ve seen before with Anker products, along with a USB cable, and a nicely produced user manual. Not that there’s much to learn. You charge up the unit using a standard microUSB cable (yay, no dedicated proprietary power charger block), and then you’re ready to go. It takes around 6 hours to charge up to full from empty, which is not bad. See the video for our hands on of the unit.
Once it’s charged up you can attach up to two devices to be charged at a time, and since the unit features what they call PowerIQ charging, it will automatically select the optimum charge rate for your phone, tablet or whatever, and charge up safely and quickly.
The battery pack also comes with an integrated LED flashlight, activated by a button on the side. These torches are becoming a kind of standard thing on these portable batteries nowadays, which kind of makes sense. One of the major selling points of these Anker products is the fact that they’re supposed to deliver more ‘real world’ charge than other lesser products – there’s always some sort of energy loss through heat etc – so although it’s not strictly 13,000 mAh available for your gadgets, there’s apparently around 11,200 mAh which is pretty good in comparison.
We love the fact that you get enough charge out of this unit to keep your gadget going for a weekend easily, and also the fact that it doesn’t need a special cable to charge up itself. This makes it so much more convenient to use. The size is also a bonus, as it’s small enough to be pocket and small bag friendly, yet with a lot of juice, and it also looks pretty slick as well with all that shiny black.
The blurb says you’ll get up to 3.5 charges for your Samsung Galaxy S5 and nearly six charges for an iPhone 5S, so it’s going to make power users very happy on their travels. At 10 oz it’s not exactly light, but that’s the price you have to pay for this much battery power in a box, and it’s one that most people will willingly pay. We’re pretty sure this will be our travel charger of choice from now on, since it’s so convenient and powerful. Nice bit of kit. Recommended.