Review of Anker 2nd Gen Astro E4 13000 mAh ext battery w/lots of pics!!!
This is a review of Anker 2nd Gen Astro E4 13000 mAh external battery. http://www.ianker.com/product/79AN13K2-BA
, also available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BQ5KHJW/
With 2nd generation refresh rolling out for various Astro models, Anker just introduced a new version of their popular Astro E4 external battery with 13000 mAh capacity. Even before reading its spec, I was already expecting to see addition of PowerIQ technology to both of their ports. But all other changes and improvements came as a surprise. That's how it is with every new product I receive for review from Anker - they constantly surprise you with new details and continue improving their product with unique design feature to stand out from the crowd. Here is more about their new E4 ext battery.
The environmentally safe package it arrived in was not a surprise since Anker been using it with all of their products. Inside of the package, beside a new E4 battery, you will also find a mesh storage pouch and usb to micro-usb cable, and user manual. The big surprise was not just an updated spec, but the actual change in the shape of the battery. When you go up in a capacity, there will be more internal cells which results in a weight and a footprint increase. Quite often when I'm on a go, I find taking a smaller capacity external battery more convenient since you get an easier to handle grip. Original E4 and E5 where good, but it wasn't as comfortable to grip and operate with one hand. The new 2nd gen E4 footprint solves this problem easily by changing the shape to be slimmer and narrower at an expense of being just a little bit longer. With dimensions of about 6" x 2.5" x 0.75" and an evenly distributed weight of about 10.4 oz, this battery is very easy to handle with one hand and it goes easier into your pocket, though you will feel the weight.
Other significant improvement was relocation of power button to the side for convenience of single hand operation. Pressing it once brings up a battery status with up to 4 blue leds indicating the capacity. Pressing it for 3sec turns on a cool white led light located between USB ports. I know that 4-led indicators are not as cool as 10-segment round indicator used with Asto 2/3, but the vertical orientation of these small blue leds makes them look actually cool. Moving to the edge-end of the battery, you will find 2 full size USB ports, each powered with IQ technology, a micro usb port for charging, which apparently been improved with a more rapid charging speed to get E4 recharged faster, and LED light to use as a flashlight. This LED light is actually not just a gimmick, but actually a very useful feature if you loose a power in the house and reaching out to charge your devices.
Now, about the charging itself. As I mentioned before, Input to the battery can charge with up to 2A which is quite impressive to be able to charge up 13000 mAh in half of the usual time. Power IQ feature makes each usb port to be completely device independent. Doesn't matter what model or brand you are using, the port will determine the most optimal charging speed for your particular smartphone or a tablet or BT accessory. Between both usb ports, you have 3A of shared current which should be plenty! Once you start charging, you will discover another big improvement - the efficiency of the battery which went up by over 10%. Of course you have to realize that 13000 mAh of battery charge is what's stored inside of E4, but when you are charging your phone and the current goes through all the usb and micro-usb conversions, you will loose a bit of the original capacity. About are year ago it was typical to have efficiency of about 75% and some other brands still have this low efficiency. With Anker E4 the efficiency goes up to almost 85% enabling your phone or tablet to access a little over 11000 mAh of the actual capacity.
Overall, I was very impressed with a number of improvements introduce with this new E4 battery. Everything from a high capacity to a very impressive 85% efficiency, and more ergonomic design to hold it in your hand with a convenience of side placed power buttons, and offering universal Power IQ mechanism per port - this is one amazing battery which Anker just introduced for a very good price of $29.99.
Here are the pictures.