During the work week, my cell phone is plugged into my computer nearly all day. That means that battery usage never drops below 80-90%. But on the weekend, and especially when traveling, I find that I can chew through the battery in what feels like a matter of hours. A couple Sundays ago I was fiddling exclusively with my phone in the morning, and by the afternoon it was completely out of battery juice.
A little poking around on the web taught me that there's such a thing as a portable cell phone charger. Essentially, this is little more than a battery that plugs into your cell phone to recharge its battery. Unfortunately, there's too many choices for which to pick! Do I want compact, inexpensive and low capacity or do I skip worrying about size and focus on one with lots of capacity?
In the end, I just went with the LifeHacker.com recommended Anker Astro 3E 10000mAh external battery. At 10,000mAh, it was supposed to charge my Galaxy SIII's 2,100mAh battery almost 5 times. I was hoping that this would finally put my battery woes to rest.
The Anker arrived and the size, as promised, is almost exactly the same as the Galaxy S3 itself:
The coiled cable, variety of tips and mesh travel bag all seem to be high quality. I thought about only carrying the one tip that I need for charging my phone, but the charger, cord and tips all fit in the mesh bag without a problem, so for now, I carry all the options. This is useful if I need to charge my Garmin GPS, which uses the large USB sized plug. Here's what the setup looks unpacked an packed:
This past Sunday, I had a chance to run the setup through its paces. I used my phone for web surfing in the morning, GPS tracking for a run, and photo editing throughout the day. By the time I was done with my run, my battery was at 44%. Throughout the day, as I noticed the battery usage dipping, I simply plugged in the phone to the battery and dropped it the man bag I was carrying. At the end of the day, I had 88% battery left on the phone, and 3 out of 4 bars still lit on the Anker backup battery.
I'm sold. For someone who uses his cell phone for a heck of a lot, this may be my best purchase in a long, long time.
As for surprises, the Anker didn't have many. I expected relatively compact size and quality, and that's what I got. The only real surprise I had was just how fast this sucker can charge my phone. I guess I'm used to USB charging, which is inherently slower than AC charging. The Anker Astro 3E must deliver AC levels of charging, because I found that in what seemed relatively short order (30 minutes?) the battery percent available would often go up significantly (say, 15 or 20%). I didn't keep any sort of detailed notes on the topic, but I was definitely surprised how quickly the charger worked.
For now, I'm happily considering my battery woes solved.