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Full speed ahead with the shake-to-wake Astro3 portable battery pack


July 30, 2013

The Astro3 12,000-mAh external battery from Anker

The Astro3 12,000-mAh external battery from Anker

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Having your smartphone battery die on you just when you need it most has to be one of today's top annoyances, particularly when you're miles from a wall socket. Anker has just released a pocket-friendly backup battery pack with enough juice to charge up most modern phones six or seven times before needing a refill. The Astro3 sports three USB output ports, one of which can auto-identify the connected device and charge it at its full speed.

The Astro3 is not quite in the same league as the yet-to-be-released Powertraveller silverback-gorilla, but it's a good deal smaller and quite a bit cheaper. The 4.4 x 3.3 x 1 in (111 x 86 x 26 mm), 10.6 oz (300 g) unit boasts a battery capacity of 12,000 mAh and has a claimed energy efficiency of 80 percent.

There are no buttons, sliders, knobs or switches to spoil its lines. Instead, the Astro3 is activated with a quick shake. This either starts a dump charge to a connected device or displays how much juice the external battery pack has left courtesy of a circular LED status indicator.

A micro-USB input for charging its own grade A cells sits on top, along with three full-size USB 2.0 output ports. The Astro3 can simultaneously charge three mobile devices, so long as they're not all iPads (the total output across the three ports does not exceed 4 A).

Two of the ports are described as max speed universal ports that are reported capable of charging most devices up to 1.5 A. The third provides full-speed charges up to 2.4 A, using smart chip technology to detect the USB pin signals and identify the device, then auto-adjusting the output to suit.

Though the universal ports feature custom circuitry designed to charge Android phones at full speed, an iPhone will only charge at 0.5 A, so you'll need to make sure the smart port is available if you want your prized Apple smartphone to receive a fast top up. When the Astro3 has finished topping up your smartphone or tablet, it will automatically turn itself off.

The Astro3 ships with a micro USB cable and a 30-pin connector. It has a list price of US$99.99, but is available now on Amazon for US$49.99.

Product page: Anker Astro3

Buy this on Amazon About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

I've had a few more than I should have tonight and I somehow parsed this as "shake weight battery charger" and my mental image was women charging their phones like this: http://i.imgur.com/BV90hXs.gif


An external battery oh joy. A portable generator would be far more useful.


If it wakes every time it is shaken, how much juice will I loose while I am carrying it in a pocket, or backpack? I'm looking for something to stay mobile with, not ride on my desk.


It's not available at Amazon now. I just have had a look at RAVPower RP-PB07. With pretty good customer reviews. I have a trip coming up in a couple of days. May get one of this before that.

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