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    Biopsidy's Avatar

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    Default External Battery Reviews

    Well, I ended up trying out 3 different external batteries and I figured I'd at least share my initial observations in case anyone else was considering a portable battery charger over carrying an extra battery.

    Why do I try an external battery
    1. I hate having to remove my case to swap in a battery.
    2. Was curious to see if there was any major difference having an extra battery in your pocket versus having a battery charger in your pocket.




    I used the following:
    • Motorola P893
    • Anker SlimTalk 3200mAh Backup External Battery Pack and Charger
    • Anker Astro 5600mAh Backup External Battery Pack and Charger with Flashlight




    Motorola P893




    Pro's
    • Thin and Small
    • Lightweight
    • Built-in MicroUSB cable


    Cons
    • Slow charge rate
    • Doesn't seem to be adequate in fully charging the S3, especially when using the S3 simultaneously


    I actually got this as a gift. I fully charged it (took about 4 hours) before using it and I tried it out twice. The first time I tested it, I tested the S3 with about 63% battery, 4G, Wi-Fi off, GPS on and limited phone use. It took a little over 2 hours to get the phone to 97% before the charger died. Disappointing, but I wondered if maybe it needed to be broken it. Charged it again, the next time I charged it when S3 was about 30% and it took 4 hours (this time the battery uptime lasted longer than the first's 2 hours) to get the phone to high 80's. Either way, though, I simply don't think this charger will cut it for this phone. The P893 only has an 1850mAh battery, which is smaller than the S3's 2150mAh and while I'n not sure if that matters, it definitely doesn't seem to be able to charge the device fully, nor at a reasonable pace.



    Anker SlimTalk 3200mAh




    Pros
    • Thin, Lightweight
    • Stylish
    • Flashlight
    • Built-in Coiled MicroUSB connector
    • Can charge devices other than MicroUSB with small adapters (though USB connector that's also built-in)


    Cons
    • Somewhat slow charge rate, but seems adequate


    I tested this out only once so far when at the movies to see The Dark Knight Rises. My Phone was around 45% and I plugged in the SlimTalk and when the movie was over, my device was fully charged. Estimated charge time for that was about 3 hours (given the length of the movie and some of the credits). It also said it had about 25% battery left once it was done charging my phone. I like the build quality of this device and it's stylish and light and doesn't get warm or anything when charging. The coiled microUSB connector is a nice touch, but it's wound real tight, so the SlimTalk and your phone will be real close together in your pocket because it doesn't stretch out and stay.


    Anker Astro 5600mAh



    Pros
    • Quickest Phone Charge Time of the 3 tested
    • Auto-Off feature once phone hit 100%
    • Enough power for much larger devices (tablets) or multiple charges


    Cons
    • Bulkier than the rest (double the thickness of the phone)
    • No built-in microUSB connector means you either have a lengthy cable or need to invest a couple dollars into a shorter one
    • Although it comes with a billion adapters to charge virtually anything, adapters suck. Who wants to carry that all around? Can also become easily disconnected when in your pocket and not realize it.


    First things first, this charged the S3 the fastest. From 15% to 100% in about 2 hours. If you're looking for a quicker charge, this is the clear winner. The downside is that it's bulky, being double the thickness of the S3. It's shorter than the rest in vertical dimensions and it's also noticeably heavier as well. Depending on the person, though, and your size of pockets I wouldn't necessarily say this is a deal breaker. The major upside of this is that even after adding 85% battery in 2 hours, it still said it had 50% (or more, keep in mind that the LED's show 4 charge levels rated at 25% each, so it's possible there's more or less charge left than what's indicated) it auto-shut itself off and still has more charge for a second device (think: people who carry more than one device, or a family friend, etc.). The only real downside for me is no built-in microUSB, as it means you'll have a cable in your pocket as well. granted, if you buy a really small one (like 2 or 3 inches) then it's not that much different than say the Motorola P893 since the cable is technically that length as well.


    Conclusion
    This is by no means a very thorough review, but more or less initial observations and it's possible these chargers will vary (hopefully for the better) after being broken in a little more. Still, from my quick testing, I'd scratch the Motorola P893 off the list entirely. It simply took way too long to charge the S3 and also never made it to 100%. I also noticed that if you're using the S3 while charging, the P893 is not strong enough to actually continue to charge the device. Instead, it'll just hold its charge level where you're at until you put the device down and turn off the screen.

    The Anker SlimTalk I feel is best all-around charger. It's thin, lightweight, stylish, supports adapters for other devices if you need them and while it's S3 charge time was not the fastest (second to the Anker Astro 5600mAh) it wasn't poor by any means and still had a little charge left afterwards.

    The Anker Astro 5600mAh was king of speed and power. It charged the fastest and I liked the auto-off feature. I'm not sure if the Anker SlimTalk had this feature since I didn't get the device to 100% in my testing. It's thicker and heavier though so some will like it and some won't. If you plan on using this while in your pocket, you'll most definitely want to buy a short cable (something 2 or 3 inches).

    If you're curious what I plan to do, it's probably going to shock you. I'm definitely not going to use the Motorola P893, as it just wasn't sufficient. However, I think I will keep both of the Anker's. The SlimTalk will be my daily rider because it's simply more portable and it's sufficient enough. The Astro will be my travel buddy, as it's much faster at charging the device and definitely has enough juice for multiple charges for heavier use days or for secondary devices.
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