Cheap Portable Power to Feed Your Smartphone

by Barrett

goes for your tech… and your smartphone. If you can keep it going all day, that takes it a long way to “happy.” Can the Anker Astro E1 power stick do the job in a pinch? Let’s find out!

Happy Vs. Not Happy. That’s much of what life boils down to, right? And so it goes for your tech… and your smartphone. If you can keep it going all day, that takes it a long way to “happy.” Can the Anker Astro E1 power stick do the job in a pinch? Let’s find out!

My 83-year-old father likes to keep up… technologically speaking. Every time we have dinner together, he pays attention to each piece of tech I’m carrying. And then he invariably decides he wants to get it for himself.

One day as we were having tea after dinner, I checked my email and realized I needed a little more juice for my iPhone. So I pulled out a tiny battery-driven ‘Innergie’ charger out of my briefcase.
(I don’t use a Mophie Juice Pack battery case for my iPhone 6 Plus only due to size considerations. The Plus is bulky enough in my pants pocket!)

“What’s that?” my dad asked.

“Oh, this? It’s just a rechargeable battery to help out my iPhone.”

“Do I need one of those?”

“I don’t know. Do you?”

Power Sticks are a Must
Well, you can imagine how the conversation went from there. Before I knew it. I was on the hook for helping him figure out which portable charger to get.
No big deal…

These little power sticks are everywhere. Like little sticks of gum. I figured it shouldn’t be too difficult to quickly choose one for my dad.

And in fact, I’ve been somewhat consumed in recent years by how to generate my own power, especially if I’m off the grid…

So where’s the harm spending a little more time on this mini obsession…?
(But not too much time)

Anker Astro E1
So it wasn’t a big deal to simply go to Amazon, type in ‘portable smartphone charger’ and see what quickly rose to the top.

It was the Anker Astro E1.
(self described as ‘The Candybar-Shaped Powerpack’)

19.99 at Amazon
That’s so cheap!
It’s highly reviewed- 4.7 stars.
And it comes in multiple colors- black/blue/white.

The E1’s capacity is 5200 mAh
(Which can charge an iPhone one to two times)

The truth is there are plenty of other choices, and I’ve always liked my own Innergie ‘battery bank,’ power stick but I must admit I didn’t do much more competing research.
(Okay… None.)

The Anker seemed just fine for what it was.


Powering Up Takes Time
But when I opened up the box, the Astro E1 seemed more than just fine…
I was pleasantly surprised by its sleek black design, its practical, spongy carrying bag, and an enigmatic little card at the bottom of the box.
(More on this in a moment)

My father will love the Astro E1… if he ever ends up using it!

A word of minor caution:

  • A 1-amp iPhone charger is supposed to take 5 hours to charge the Astro E1.
    That said, I spent more than 6 hours charging mine before I packed it in to go to bed. So think of it as needing an overnight charge…
    (Anker of course sells its own charger, which does the job much faster.)
  • Don’t forget you’ll need buy/provide a separate USB cable to connect the Anker.
    (The Astro E1 doesn’t come with one.)

Happy/Not Happy?
Remember that little card in the bottom of the Anker box?

There was a “Happy?” on the front with a little icon for the sun.
And “Not Happy?” on the back with a rain cloud.

Hmmm. What was this?
I was simultaneously confused and invigorated.

What was I supposed to do with this card?

I quickly imagined I could have hundreds of these little cards and carry them with me as I moved about my life, placing them in choice locations to reflect my experience.

After attending a two-hour meeting that was scheduled for only one, I would get up and leave a card behind, positioned appropriately to display my sentiment.

“Barrett, you forgot this ca….. Oh. Oooh.”

Or when I leave a movie theater after watching a great flick… I would deposit one on my seat with the right side up.
(That’s far more polite than leaving behind an explosion of popcorn, right?)

I wasn’t immediately sure what Anker had in mind with the Happy/Not Happy card, but I liked it!

Then I realized the card actually opened up…
And inside it invited me to share my happiness online or how to reach customer service should I have a frown on my face.

Of course.
(Now I felt I needed a ‘Silly/Embarrassed’ card.)

Survey Says…
All right, then.

So they say money can’t buy you happiness.
But sixteen bucks for the Astro E1?