Ankers Aweigh: A Quick Look at the Astro 3E External Battery

My accessories bag will be a little heavier this weekend, as my better half and I spend Easter in New York City. We’ve relied on portable battery chargers while on holiday for a few years now, but the ones we’ve been using—all the rage in Hong Kong in 2011—have lately started to fail us.

So I’ve decided to shell out the big bucks for a brand name that I recognize, Anker. I ordered a pair of Astro 3Es from Amazon Canada. At the time they were on sale for $49.99 CAD; as of this writing they’re now ten bucks cheaper.

Anker Boxes

Here’s the pair of them, fresh from Amazon. First impression: they’re heavy!

Note the blue charge/discharge lights on either side of the centre button, which you press to send power to your device. Seems simple enough.

Anker Insides

The contents of the box… I really like that Anker includes a soft carrying pouch, so that the E3’s glossy finish doesn’t scratch so easily. In my mind, the only thing they cheaped out on is the USB to micro-USB cable; it’s awkwardly stiff and just long enough to be cumbersome when in use.

Anker Thanks

A message on the inside lid of the box… You’re quite welcome!

Anker Ports

The backside of the 3E: one micro-USB input on the side and two USB outputs along the bottom. According to Anker, each output has “special circuitry” tuned specifically for Apple or Android devices, so I guess you can’t charge two Droids at the same time…?

Anker Size

See what I mean about the awkward USB cable?

Size-wise the 3E is a perfect compliment for my Nexus 5 but it’s a lot heavier, like orders of magnitude heavier. According to Anker it weighs in at just under 1/4 kg—at least as much as a first-gen Apple iPod.

Anker Charging Lights

Those blue charge/discharge lights are bright enough to defy being photographed—so bright, in fact, that they shine right through the carrying pouch! And don’t let my crappy photo fool you; the lights are all of uniform size.

So far I’ve only managed to drain the factory charge on both batteries; doing so gave me at least a half-dozen partial charges on my Nexus 5. Bringing the E3 back to full capacity can be done overnight.

The big test for these bad boys is yet to come… Stay tuned!