The Anker Astro E1 has a 6700mAh capacity, which is enough for at least one complete charge of any of the latest smartphones. It won’t be enough to completely charge a tablet, but could typically provide a 50% charge at least. And unusually for a smaller portable charger, it offers a fast charging current of 2A, comparable to a wall charger.
It’s a compact but dense unit, just fitting into the palm of my hand and weighing 125g. It has a glossy black finish, which easily picks up fingerprints – personally I’d prefer a matte finish. It comes with a soft mesh pouch and an Anker branded 55cm or 21″ micro-USB cable. I’ve purchased a few Anker cables and they are good quality – this one doesn’t feel as premium and there’s no velcro strap but it’s more than adequate.
There are just two ports, a micro-USB input port for charging the device itself, and a standard USB output port for charging other devices. The supplied cable can be used for both charging the unit and the other way around to charge any device with a micro-USB port. Or you can just use your existing lightning cable or USB-C cable to charge an iPhone or a GoPro for instance.
Around the side there’s a button to display remaining charge – each lit dot representing 25% of charge – so 4 dots indicating 100% charge remaining. I prefer the digital display of the Cygnett Powerbank I reviewed a while back, but it’s good enough. For some devices I found I had to press this button to turn the unit on and start charging, but most devices started charging automatically.
Charging the device is quite slow with only a 1A input – it takes approximately 6 hours for a full charge. It’s not a major issue since this is more of an emergency charger, but larger capacity devices with a 2A input for example, can charge twice as fast. The lights turn off when you get to full charge.
The quoted capacity of 6700mAh is good for a device this size and the 2A charging current is double that of a lot of comparable chargers. In fact, some tablets like iPads won’t reliably charge off less than a 2A charger.
That doesn’t mean all devices will charge at the full 2A – measuring the charging current with this USB current meter, a iPhone 6 Plus charges at 1.6A, a Samsung Tablet at 1.5A and a GoPro Hero 5 Black at 1.1A. I compared these results against these devices with their original packaged wall chargers and the optional GoPro Supercharger and got similar results for the Samsung and the GoPro and only 1A with the Apple “slow” 1A wall charger unsurprisingly. Compared to the more expensive Cygnett charger, which also delivers up to 2A the results off the Anker were actually better, perhaps down to Anker’s PowerIQ technology doing a better job of identifying the device connected to it to deliver the optimal charge.
6700mAh is a decent capacity and enough for at least one complete charge of any of the larger smartphones currently on the market including the Plus variants of the iPhone 7 and 8 and the new iPhone X, the Samsung S8+ and the Google Pixel 2 XL; with batteries ranging in capacity from 2700mAh to 3500mAh. Smaller phones like the iPhone 8 with only a 1820mAh battery should achieve two full charges. I would want more capacity for a long journey or a trip away, but considering its cost and size, it’s a good compromise.
The Anker Astro E1 is good value with a decent capacity and a relatively compact size. As an emergency charger to have on you when you’re out and about it’s almost perfect. The capacity is sufficient for at least getting you through the day and the fast charging port is welcome at this price point. It could be slimmer, and charging the device is slow which could be an issue if used regularly. But if you’re after a portable charger and don’t want to spend too much money, I would recommend it.
- Very reasonably priced
- Good build quality
- Comes with Anker branded cable and soft pouch
- 6700mAh capacity decent for its size
- Fast charging 2A port, also suitable for tablets
- Could be thinner
- Slow charging of device itself – only 1A
- No wall charger (although not really expected at this price)
- Glossy plastic not to everyone’s taste
I hope you found this article useful. If you have any specific questions, please do ask below in the comments section – I do my best to reply to any questions.
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