2013 means loads of technical advancements in portable devices, but it also translates into a ton electronic clutter around the office. Smartphones, tablets, external hard drives, flash drives, and other gaming devices and gadgets litter our desks. Each device operates on an internal battery and every time we drain it, we recharge them. But there are times when we simply can’t get to a wall outlet, and while most devices are using USB connections for charging, some devices can’t charge from a standard USB port on a computer or laptop. That’s where the Anker Astro3 battery comes into play. Here’s a device that features 3 USB ports capable of charging just about any device and then some.
We put the portable battery through a number of tests over the last couple of weeks and have to say I’m pretty impressed. If you’re looking for a portable USB charging station capable of charging multiple electronic devices while on the road, the Anker Astro3 fits the bill perfectly. It also comes with a great carrying case and a short USB cable to charge itself before travel. The texture of the device is soft almost leather like feel and it only weighs 11oz – which is pretty incredible for a 12000 mAh battery. To put the battery size in perspective, most smartphones will have a 2000 mAh battery, so the Astro3 is about 6 phone batteries worth of juice.
On the top of the Astro3 is a small illuminated LED which showcases how much charge the battery has remaining. If you shake the device to illuminate it and if devices are plugged in one of the 3 USB ports, they’ll begin to charge. In my testing I was able to charge my new Nexus 5 from empty to fill and it only used one blip of power. We also tried powering a PlayStation Vita which went from empty to fully charge used two blips. With a total of ten blips on the display that means I only used thirty percent of the total available charge after fully charging two devices.
The Anker Astro3 will give you three distinct USB ports for charging. While Anker claims that you can use all of them at the same time, it just seems to be more dependent on the devices connected and the overall configuration of the ports. For example, with a Nexus 5, PlayStation Vita, and a Samsung Galaxy S4 plugged into the device, the PlayStation Vita failed to charge except when it was connected to the “Smart” USB port on the device. But in doing so the Shield didn’t appear to be charging properly. One Smart USB output port is rated at 5 VDC and 2.4 Amps and the other two are rated at a combined 5 VDC and 2 Amps. Overall though, this is a pretty impressive charging device from Anker. We have seen a few other similar devices, but none offer the amount of power or multi-charging capability the Astro3 offers. Best of all you can buy it from online retailers like Amazon for just $50.