It's undeniable that Smartphones are one of the best inventions of the last century. We carry around in our pockets small sleek gadgets that are more powerful than the huge desktop computers that we had less than 10 years ago. But phone technology has advanced quicker than battery technology and now we're forced to compromise between power and battery life - if you want the best smartphone on the market, you can't really expect it to stay charged for much longer than 12-24 hours. Having a source of additional power on the go is becoming more and more essential in our lives. Some people address this by carrying around a variety of chargers, or even buying gadgets specifically because they use the same power cable as another gadget meaning you only have to carry one charger. The influx of Micro SD is certainly helping. But there's another solution - portable, rechargeable battery packs.
Historically, most "portable" battery packs have actually been quite large, weighty objects. Usually the same width and height of a small book and the weight of a bag of sugar. Not exactly the easiest object to carry around on your daily commute. Also a typical price for a pack would be somewhere in the £50-100 range, so not exactly in impulse buy territory either.
But now there's a solution and a very good one at that. The Anker Astro Mini is a small, lightweight, rechargeable pack that carries just enough power to recharge an average smartphone 2-3 times. The cylindrical object is only 9cm long and approximately 2.5cm wide. Weighing in at less than 75g, the Astro Mini can be thrown into your bag and forgotten about.
To top it off the Astro is now retailing at only £10 on Amazon, so it really is worth a punt. When I first ordered it I knew I was taking a risk, but the larger Anker packs have a solid reputation in the industry so for ten pounds it seemed worth trying. To my absolute surprise I was blown away with the Mini when it arrived - it comes with a neat little carry case, a small mini USB lead and an iPhone adapter (NB iPhone 5 users would still need to carry a small lightening cable). And as if it was showing off, it charged my phone 30% in around 50 minutes, straight out of the box.
The pack is simple to use - on the end of the lipstick-like object there are 2 sockets, one standard USB and another Micro USB. If you want to charge your phone, plug your cable into the bog standard USB socket, if you want to recharge the pack itself, plug into the Micro USB socket. With the addition of a power button and small indicator light, that is as complicated as the Astro Mini gets. It's simple, it's effective and it does exactly what you want it to do.
The Mini is currently on offer on Amazon, reduced to £10 from £49.99 (I'm somewhat sceptical about the actual RRP but it's still a bargain). If you have Amazon Prime then your delivery will be free too. What's not to love about this!?