Review: Anker PowerCore & Astro Slim 3

IMG_3023Anker is renowned for their battery packs but they’ve historically been tricky to get here. With that changing now that there are authorised resellers in Australia, I thought I’d take a look at two of their current range.

First up is the Astro Slim 3. This is a 6,000mAh battery that’s about the size of a circa-2009 smartphone. It comes with an integrated micro-USB cable, which wraps around the body and jacks into the input port, and one USB-A port. It’s a smart design for Android users as it removes the need to carry around one more cable, but obviously that’s no help to iOS people.

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In testing I got about 1.4 charges of my iPhone 6s Plus out of this pack, and the battery itself charged all the way up in about three hours. This one is an easy daily carry choice for anyone with limited space – it’s flat and light, so it’s easy to chuck into a pocket in your bag. The downside to this battery is that it only has one full-size output (and it’s a 1A output at that). For some light users this is a good choice but it’s not enough battery for me.

On the other hand, its bigger sibling is almost too much battery. The PowerCore packs 20,100mAh, has two full-size USB-A ports and outputs a whopping 4.8A – that’s enough to charge 2 iPad Air 2s side by side at full speed.

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But 20.100mAh is just a number – what does that actually get you? Well, how about this: I’m a pretty demanding user power-wise (I pretty much always have to charge my phone midway through the day); I managed to go two and a half days using the PowerCore as my only power source for an iPad Air 2 and an iPhone 6s Plus. That’s one full charge for the iPad and more than three charges for the iPhone.

Still not impressed? How about this: the PowerCore will charge a 12″ retina MacBook. You can just plug the MacBook in like it was a giant mobile phone, and it’ll start sucking down the juice. Even better: I charged mine all the way up once, plus up to 40% another time. It’s the kind of capacity and output that ruins you for other batteries.

It’s not without its downsides though. One is the weight – at 356g it’s more than twice as big as the Astro Slim. It’s not the sort of thing that will get lost in a bag – you will know exactly where it is just by the sheer mass of it.

The other is the charging time – you will need to charge the PowerCore overnight, and a decently long night at that. In my testing a charge time of 9-10 hours was not uncommon. This is a fairly minor quibble though – even for the most demanding user, this battery will get you through the longest of days.

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As with every Anker product I’ve tried, I can definitely recommend these. They’re extremely solid products at a very reasonable price. They’re available through Scalable Pty Ltd, an authorised reseller operating via eBay at the moment with a website launching soon. They’re carrying a pretty wide range of Anker batteries and other products – notably their multi-port USB chargers and their Bluetooth speakers. Check them out.

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The Astro Slim 3 sells for $54.99 AUD and the PowerCore for $89.99 AUD, both with free postage.

Thanks to Johnson at Scalable for loaning these out for review.

Notable Replies

  1. Thanks for the review (albeit a year ago!).

    My wife and son are headed off to Cuboree in a few months, and will evidently be out of reach of power outlets during the 5 days away. I've as such been instructed to find such a device as noted above for my wife's iPhone 5S.

    I have absolutely no reference point on the topic, so it's nice to have the above to give me a starting point.

    A quick google search, and I see there's a PowerCore 10,400 mAh version for $50... offering nearly 4 charges for an iPhone 6... Considering my wife will only be using her phone very minimally, I imagine that should more than cover her needs; will also be a nice addition for the family for when we are travelling.

    --
    I just checked out the eBay store noted above... and what I'm seeing is some reasonably priced units, and some that are set as $999.... on a product that RRP's under $100... (?) I'm guessing maybe they are out of stock, and it's cheaper for the seller to keep them listed but with a crazy price tag rather than take them off, then create a new listing...??? But to me it just is incredibly off-putting, so I'll look elsewhere for my purchase.

  2. Hi tcn33,
    I bought an anker powercore+ 20100 2 months ago - actually the reason I bought it was to power a sound Devices recorder that has a USB port on it, and I LOVE IT!

    What I like is that I can recharge an iPhone 6 Plus numerous times, my Sony camera, the Sound Devices MixPre 6 (via the USB-C port) and an iPad Pro 12.7".

    I like the little bag it comes in and that it's shipped with 3 USB cables - a micro->USB A, USB A->USB C and USB-C->USB-C.

    I'm a relatively new arrival in the world of USB power banks, but I do love the concept and am very happy with the Anker. It even helped me on the bus yesterday when i realised my iPhone was almost out of juice.

    anyway thanks again for the review.

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