by Ollie Ford on 2013-08-31
Anker Astro Pro 2

We’ve all been there. You’re out, chilling in your favourite corner of your favourite coffee shop. You’re minutes away from completing that all-important document; moments away from clicking ‘send’ on that urgent email. Your battery dies. Of course it does. You curse yourself for not having bought that larger, spare, or external battery that’s been on your Amazon wishlist for so long.

The Anker Astro Pro 2 is a beast. A real behemoth of an external battery.

And yet a slender beast. One you carry with you - to save you from another such horrific moment - with pride.

Designed by Anker - popular manufacturer of smartphone replacement/spare batteries - it is a Lithium-ion 20,000mAh battery capable of recharging your smartphone or tablet, as well as laptops up to 19v.

It comes with a slew of connections for most (though not all) major laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other gizmos. If you can charge your device over USB; you can charge it with the Pro 2.

The battery itself is charged by a compact wall plug and transformer. Though, unfortunately, this is of the two-tailed variety - it has a cable running to the wall, and another to the Astro, leaving a weight dangling in the middle. Though this can be a godsend in some circumstances - plugging your device into a wall you’re sitting a way away from for instance - I would argue strongly that the Astro will never be in such a circumstance. You use the Astro so that you do not need to carry and use the laptop charger; you charge the Astro at home. If you carry its charger it’s just.. kind of pointless. With that in mind I’d suggest that Anker could have devised a neater charging system. It’s very unlikely that anyone needs such a long charger for it - it seems that on off-the-shelf charger was used to cut costs, which is a shame, as it taints an otherwise very premium-feeling product.

Anker Astro Pro 2

“very premium-feeling product”

It’s housed in an attractive brushed aluminium casing, that’s at least somewhat reminiscent of those Western Digital Passport external hard drives. All the connections are along the top edge, with two standard DC jacks marked input/output for charging the battery and laptops, respectively, and a USB-A connection for everything else. There’s also a switch to select the DC output voltage from between 12/16/19v - so if you have multiple devices at different voltages to charge this way you’d be well advised to keep it in the lower setting to avoid accidental over-volting of any of your prized gadgets.

Furthermore, it can charge devices via both the DC jack and USB simultaneously - as well as being charged itself if needs be. While charging, four blue LEDs surrounding the ‘charge’ button signify the level of charge of the battery  - I found this to be a far neater solution than other batteries that use gimicky LCDs to display an image of a charging battery.

Anker Astro Pro 2

Overall, this is a quality device. Even down to the detail in the screws holding it together - it’s no stretch to imagine a competitor cutting costs by using some kind of internal plastic clips; but these details make the Pro 2 exude quality.

As for the function, it’s in a league above the majority of other devices in the market - just as it is in form - Anker opt for the bigger number (and standardised unit mAh), but nerds will be impressed that this battery can be rated in a whole twenty amp-hours. That’s a lot of juice. In rough testing, I could get over 4 charges of a Nexus 4 from around 10% to full, and around 3 charges of a Nexus 7. And all in a slim 185x125x15mm shell.

Anker Astro Pro 2

“a league above other devices"

The only slips I can identify in this obviously high end device, are in the charger as mentioned above, and the lightly anodised markings that seem as though they will easily rub off with time - a flat metallic logo would be more in keeping with the aesthetic here.

There’s no doubt about it - this a solid device. Beautifully designed, massive capacity, and easily portable. It’s far superior to any other external battery I’ve seen, and won’t break the bank either. I don’t hesitate to recommend it.

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