Gadget Review – Anker Astro E3 External Battery (2nd Gen.)

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Having a power management strategy that works is important for most of us who are “on the go.” Whether you’re running your own company or going to the office in a sales job or you’re a stay at home mom, people rely heavily on their phones to keep them organized and need to have a way of insuring that when they pick it up, they have power to keep them rolling.

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Everything that comes in the box.

I’ve been swapping my SIM between a couple devices fairly regularly and wanted some type of power management strategy for my BlackBerry Z30 as, despite it’s sizable battery, I found that during heavy use, I needed a charge in the afternoon. In fairness, I don’t like my battery to get below 20% so I will charge it when it gets close. Without doing much research, I went to Amazon.com and found the Astro E3, with Power IQ technology by Anker. If you like to get right to the bottom line, I recommend the device with the caveat that I did not search to see if there were others that offered more functionality at the same price or the same functionality for a lesser price. Also, it appears I got a good deal since I’m a Prime member.

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Very solidly built.

Build Quality – The first thing you will notice about the Astro E3 is the excellent build quality. The device feels heavy in your hand and although it appears to be made out of plastic, it leaves the impression that it’s very well made. The seams, ports and buttons and the overall feel are impressive.

Simplicity – The device is very easy to use. There are a couple recommendations in the Welcome Guide, but other than that, you merely charge it up and plug your device into it via USB cable and away you go. There are some simple lights that serve the dual purpose of indicating when the unit is charging something and how much charge it has, and there’s one button you can press to check the charge level.

Power IQ – This automatic technology offers two advantages: 1) It allows the unit to charge a wider array of devices, and 2) Allows the unit to vary the charging output to charge a device at it’s maximum charging rate. There is a brief description of this tech in the Welcome Guide where it says the unit is able to “…communicate with any connected device by speaking its unique charging language.” So far, it has worked well for me, but I have not attached any kind of meter to measure the output or timed how long it takes to charge vs alternatives.

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Two charging ports.

Dual Ports – The Astro E3 is capable of charging two devices at once. There is a maximum output of 3 Amps, which seems pretty good since I noticed some tablet chargers provide 1.8 Amps output, and many smartphone chargers put out 850 milliAmps. Right now, I’m typing this on my BBRY Bluetooth keyboard on my Z30 while charging both devices.

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Charging my Q10 and Bluetooth keyboard.

User Notes – Anker recommends the following regarding the usage of the device: 1) Unplug the device as soon as it’s fully charged, and 2) Fully charge the device at least once every four months.

The 2nd Generation Astro E3 is available on Amazon for $23 USD with a Prime membership. It has a 10,000 mAh battery and is small enough to be carried in your pocket, having a footprint slightly smaller than the average smartphone with a 5″ display; it will likely be thicker, more narrow and slightly shorter.  It seems high quality and has given me good service in the 8 weeks that I have been using it, and I feel very comfortable that I will never be without a convenient source of power to keep me rolling.

Check it out!

james pisano

I am a student of life. Some likes: longboarding, nature, Baltimore Orioles, technology, BlackBerry, driving, music, reading, Taoism; politically independent. Not sure if I am a "geek" or not, but I love action movies and mobile tech.