There's no doubt about it… we're tied to our digital devices. But what do you do when the charge drops to zero and the screen goes dark?
Normally, it isn't a problem when your gadget runs out of juice. Just plug it into a handy dandy wall outlet and let it charge back up. But what if the power is out or you don’t have access to an outlet?
That’s when it pays to pack a portable charger. The Anker Astro Mini is one good example.
There are dozens of different devices that can keep you powered up when the grid goes down. I recently had the pleasure of reviewing the Anker Astro Mini. Here are my thoughts:
Anker Astro Mini: More Power At Your Fingertips
Just a few short years ago, portable batteries weren't exactly portable. But thanks to advances in technology, you can now pack way more power into a smaller footprint. There are a number of these products that have come out in the past few years from several different manufacturers. We live in an age of miracles and wonder. Take today's modern smartphone, it fits in the palm of your hand and has more computing power than the NASA supercomputers (that filled entire rooms) had fifty years ago! However, all of this wonderful capability in the palm of your hand doesn't mean diddly squat without one thing…electricity. Without energy, that smart phone and all your other battery powered devices are nothing more than paperweights.
So who do you turn to when the grid goes down?
Who Is Anker?
Up until a few years ago, I had never heard of Anker. The company was formed back in 2011 from a few Google alumni who moved back to China to create power-related products. They started with laptop batteries then began to focus on smartphones. Their “secret sauce” is technology that optimizes charging by detecting the device that is connected. The result is faster charging via an optimized current transmission. Anker has quickly become a leader in their field, although their name is not as well-known as others in the market.
What Is The Astro Mini?
The Astro Mini is a charger that uses a “lipstick tube” design. This is a bit of a misnomer because it is much thicker than a tube of lipstick, but the general format of a long, round tube is similar. It’s simple really, you have a metal tube with a series of dry cells in it topped with an interface plate. The top of the unit has two USB ports (Standard and Micro) and a push button with an LED. Behind all of this is the circuitry that detects the connected device and delivers the power to it.
The Tech Specs
This particular battery has a nominal capacity of 3200mAh. From what I have read elsewhere, it is about 90% efficient, meaning you will actually get just under 2900mAh out of it. Here is a list of some popular smartphones along with their nominal battery capacity.
|Samsung Galaxy S6||2550 mAh|
|Nokia Lumia 735||2220 mAh|
|Apple iPhone 6||1810 mAh|
For the most part, you can expect to get about one full charge out of this unit into a smart phone. Of course, you can get more charges into other devices with smaller capacity or that are not fully discharged.
The MSRP on this is $29.99 but I have seen it for as low as $10.99 on Amazon. Besides the charger, you get a USB cable and a mesh carrying sock.
I purchased one of these a while back to see if it lived up to the hype. Since I never heard of Anker before, I was a bit suspicious and wondered if their unit would perform. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. I mostly used mine to charge my cell phone when I travel since power outlets can be hard to get to at times. My experience is that it is easy to use and does a great job at charging my devices. The only catch seems to be it takes a while to charge back up. However, that is not a deal-breaker for me.
The USB cable is really good because it performs two functions well. To charge a Micro USB device, plug the standard USB end into the charger and it begins to charge. To charge the charger, take the Micro USB end and plug it into the port while attaching the standard USB cable into an open port. It’s simple but elegant, which is something I like about this unit.
My experience was so positive that I purchased two more and incorporated them into my lifestyle. I now have one in my car, one at work, and one at home. So far, I haven’t experienced any issues with them and use them every so often. The only problem with this is sometimes they lose their charge a little bit over time, which is a term called “self-discharge.” The way to mitigate this is to plug it in and let it charge for an hour or so to keep it fully charged.
In my opinion, this particular charger is a really good unit and I have been happy with it. It is well-made, rugged, and so far has been incredibly useful. Heck, the price is right too! My advice is to purchase a few of these since they represent a great power backup when you need it.
Lots of power in a small, portable package. Smart charging technology allows for quicker recharges than other similar units.
It takes a while to recharge (~4 hours), some users report quality control issues too.
Here is a video test and review of the Anker Astro Mini by the metalwithin:
I own several and I use them, which is about the highest praise I can give any product. My recommendation is that you purchase several of them and keep them in various locations where you may need a charge. Consider the Anker Astro Mini cheap power insurance for your portable electronic devices.
Overall Rating 9/10
What do you think about the Anker AStro Mini product review? Please let me know in the comments section below!
Featured image by TrustMacintosh via YouTube