Our smartphones and tablets have become integral parts of our everyday life, but this has meant we are forever monitoring battery usage and making sure we are never too far away form a power plug. If you’ve ever found yourself worrying about your remaining battery charge then this post could solve that problem.
Having recently got caught short I looked into what options there were for portable emergency back up power supplies, and after some investigation I ended up buying the Anker Astro 3E.
This post gives a brief overview of how a backup battery pack might be a life saver, and why I would recommend the Anker unit to others.
What is a Portable Battery Pack?
A backup portable battery pack allows you to get some additional power once your Nexus’s own battery has given up on you.
The idea is simple enough, your tablet or phone runs out of juice and you can’t get yourself to a power socket. No problem, just plug your device into the portable power pack using a standard USB connector and you’re good to go. Your phone or tablet will begin charging and is, as usual, fully functional whilst powering up.
I don’t expect this to be something that I use regularly and I won’t be carrying around a battery pack on my daily commute. However, if travelling on a longer journey or heading to a weekend festival then this device is clearly an absolute must.
It’s not something that’s going to be used regularly, but when it is needed, boy am I going to be grateful that I have it with me!
Anker Astro Review
There are several external battery pack options available and they generally seem to do the same thing. The only real choice seems to be the units capacity, after that you just need to make sure it’s compatible.
I ended up going for the Anker Astro external battery as it was clearly powerful enough to charge my Nexus, it was available on Amazon and the price seemed reasonable. The Astro also allows for two devices to be charged simultaneously, although I can’t see this being the most useful facility right now, but maybe one day it will prove useful!
The pack is fairly chunky, especially when compared to the Nexus 4, and it’s heavier than I expected. So it really isn’t something you are going to slip into your pocket as an everyday backup. But if you pack it in a bag on your travels then you’re really not going to notice it in amongst your other clutter.
Charging times are impressive, the pack has a 3A output so has the grunt to supply all the power needed. Whilst writing this I’ve done a quick test of charging up my Nexus 4. I’ve plugged it in at 50% and it’s taken just over half an hour to get to 75%. So a full charge is going to be a few hours which certainly meets my expectations. The Anker works fine with my Nexus 7, and although I can’t test it, it should be fine with the Nexus 10 too.
Charging up the Anker itself is going to be a case of plugging it into a standard USB charger and leaving it on overnight. With a 10000mAh capacity the pack promises around 6 charges of the average smart phone. I’ve done three full charges and the capacity indicator lights tell me that it’s still half full, so I guess we’re on track to meet that prediction!
The Anker’s two ports are “optimised” for either Android or iOS, although it isn’t clear to me what the difference is. Either way, both ports can charge both types of devices.
Unfortunately I’ve just checked back at Amazon.co.uk and the Astro is currently marked as unavailable (although do click through and check!), and it doesn’t seem readily available elsewhere. However there is a smaller model which should be well worth a look and still good for a few emergency charges. Some related products are listed below.
US buyers can still get the Astro 3E from Amazon.comYou might be interested in: