Anker’s new 2nd Generation Astro External Battery may be one of the smartest external batteries that I’ve ever used. It’s PowerIQ USB port recognizes the power requirements of your specific device and sends just the right amount of power at just the right speed for that device. The 6400mAh capacity Astro External Battery retails for $59.99.
The candy bar-sized Astro external battery is perfect for life on the go as it is compact and comes with a handy carrying pouch, which holds both the external battery itself and the included USB to microUSB cable. The sleek-looking Astro will fit in a purse, pocket, or any travel bag so it’s also great for traveling.
Anker’s PowerIQ technology is really neat in that it automatically adapts it’s charging protocol depending on the device that it’s charging. Some devices like to be charged slower, some like to be charged faster. Some devices want more power at once, while others want less. PowerIQ knows this and will deliver the precise amount of power at the precise speed that your device needs. This ends up saving almost 2.5 hours while charging an iPhone 5s as compared to charging it using an everyday laptop USB port. This is really smart way to charge your device.
Another reason that this device is so smart is that it will actually tell you, in 10% increments, how much battery life is left in the LG battery cells that lay inside the Anker Astro. This is in stark contrast to most other external batteries that only read the battery capacity in 25% or 33% increments. This helps you ensure that you squeeze the most out of your battery before recharging it. The Anker Astro has an LED ring installed just underneath the external skin, which shines through beautifully. There are 10 LEDs inside the ring that each represents 10% of the battery life.
The 6400mAh battery capacity is enough to charge an iPhone 5s 3 times, a Nexus 5 2 times, and a Nexus 7 once. Knowing this, the Anker Astro is truly capable of being the only external charger you’ll ever need, and you may only need to recharge it once a week! You can check out Anker’s graphic below which shows all the different devices and amount of charges they’ll get from the Astro.
Have you ever heard of an external battery that didn’t have any buttons? Well, look no further; Anker’s 2nd gen. Astro has ZERO buttons and is operated by shaking alone! You just shake the device and the LED ring will illuminate, letting you know how much battery capacity is left. If you’ve got your device plugged in, it’ll also start charging your device. One might say, however, that this is a bad idea and that if the Astro is bouncing around in your bag, the LEDs constantly turning on and off will deplete your batteries. On the contrary, Anker states that the LEDs have extremely low power consumption and that the LEDs could turn on 100,000 times and only use up to 1% of the battery life of your external battery. So there’s no need to worry about accidental activation affecting battery life.
The Astro is almost pill shaped, the main body is pill-shaped, while the ends are completely flat. The rounded portion is nicely colored and only marked by Anker’s logo in one spot, but is otherwise completely clean. My testing unit is a light blue that my wife loves; while the flat ends are black…it’s a nice contrast. On one of the black surfaces, you’ll find the microUSB input jack and the USB output jack. The microUSB input jack is used to charge the external battery, while the USB output jack is used to charge your other devices. On the other black surface, you’ll find all the boring stuff like model number, FCC compliance, and all that stuff. The Astro comes in blue, black, white, and green.
During my testing, I was very impressed with the Anker Astro. It’s compact and fits nicely in my bag or pocket, however its 6400mAh battery capacity can last a good deal of time. The shake-to-activate feature works well and makes it very simple to operate. I also love the idea of the PowerIQ technology, although it’s difficult to actually test in the real world. With all of its intelligent features, it’s good looks, and compact size; I would venture to say that the Anker Astro is one of the best external chargers that I’ve tested to-date.
You can purchase the Anker Astro in green right now for $29.99 at Amazon.
Source: The Anker Astro 2nd Gen. External Battery was provided to me as a review sample by the manufacturer.
What I Like: Very small; Great capacity for the size; Beautiful design; Comes with carrying pouch; Smart features like PowerIQ and 10% LED increments.
What Needs Improvement: All I would ever want is more capacity.