Anker's Astro E5 is a dual-output power bankthat'll keep your phone or tablet going for several days on the road. Read our Anker Astro E5 portable charger review.Also see:Best power banks 2015.
Note that the 15000mAh Anker Astro E5 power bank we review here has now been updated with the second-generation Astro E5, which costs £29.99 at Amazon. It boosts the capacity to 16000mAh, ups the Micro-USB input to 10W, includes PowerIQ technology (which intelligently identifies a connected device and adapts to its recharge rate) and takes on a new slimmer and more elongated design (we much prefer it). In other respects the technology is the same as in the original Astro E5, reviewed here.Also see:how to charge your smartphone or tablet faster.
Those changes in the second-generation power bank are the difference between one that stands out from its rivals and another me-too portable USB charger. So bear in mind when reading this review that the second-generation Anker Astro E5 would score significantly higher in our ratings.
Back to the original Anker Astro E5, then, which you can still buy from Amazon US for $39.99 (around £26), and we have an easy-to-use power bank that offers pretty good value and useful capacity, without being too big and heavy to take on your travels. With 15000mAh on offer you can expect around 10500mAh to be available to your devices - roughly 30 percent is lost from the premium LG battery cells inside through heat generated and voltage conversion. This would charge an iPhone 6's 1810mAh battery nearly six times, although Android phones typically have larger-capacity batteries so expect fewer charges.
The Anker Astro E5 very much reminds us of the RavPower RP-PB13 Deluxe, a £23 14000mAh power bank that has a similar rectangular design, encased in black plastic with a silver-painted central band. This Anker has a gloss finish that's a magnet to fingerprints, however, and its silver power button and four status LEDs stand out more than the smaller black button and blue LED strip seen on the RavPower. There is little difference in their size and weight, although we prefer the RavPower's design.
The specs are incredibly similar, too. Both feature 1A (5W) and 2A (10W) fast-charging USB outputs for simultaneously charging a phone and tablet, although here they sit either side of the LED flashlight rather than to the left. And both have a 1.5A (7.5W) Micro-USB input for refilling their own batteries. There is really very little separating between the two, and your decision will likely be swayed by their design rather than the small differences in price and capacity. This Anker's 18-month warranty is also attractive.
Neither Anker nor RavPower support advanced features such as passthrough charging, so you won't be able to simultaneously charge your phone, tablet and power bank without using a pair of mains sockets. Auto-on/-off is also missing, so to begin charging you'll need to plug in your device and press the power button.
The Anker Astro E5 is a decent power bank at a good price, but there's nothing here that particularly stands out among other portable chargers. The second-generation Astro E5 looks to be a far more attractive option, both aesthetically and technologically.