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How Anker is beating Apple and Samsung at their own accessory game (theverge.com)
597 points by Tomte 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 267 comments



Anker's customer service is amazing. I bought a two-port charging block from them on Amazon, and while it works great, I was disappointed to find that it's a little too easy to knock it out if the wall.

I wrote a 4-star review in which I mentioned this issue, and within an hour or two, I received an email from an agent asking if my address was still the same so they can send me an updated unit. A couple of days later, I had a replacement that didn't suffer the same issue.

I never was pressured to update my review, never asked to return the original unit, never solicited to buy more stuff. They seemed to have a genuine desire to make sure their customers are being served well, and that is the kind of thing that will make me a customer for life.


I used to feel the same way, but had an opposite experience: bought a buggy cable and, since I could find no other way to contact customer service, left a negative (not insulting) review. Cust svc contacted me and sent me a replacement...which was a much more expensive cable which wasn't even yet advertised on their site. They then asked me to change my review. So I amended my review saying the new product which they'd sent me for free was OK but I had no idea if the old one worked.

Also their Type C chargers didn't work with a MacBook + accessory adaptor, which was only described in the reviews.

It's not like one bad experience has soured me on the whole company, but now I try to spread my purchases between them and Aukey (who has also had some Type C duds -- check Benson Leung's reviews before purchasing!)


I cannot help but think that sounds like they are doing A/B testing on which strategy is more effective at making users change their reviews. Nothing wrong with that, btw.


Why would you think they are doing A/B testing from those two examples? One was a 1 star review (very detrimental to their overall score) and one was a 4 star review (very little overall effect). If they were both 2 star reviews or something I would agree with your idea.


In Amazon terms a 4,5 is positive, a 3 is neutral and a 1,2 is negative. Anything other than positive is bad so essentially it means 4,5 and good and 1,2,3 are bad.


I would argue that there IS something wrong with asking users to change their reviews.

If you're advertising & selling version 1 of a product, the reviews should be for that version. Enticing users with a newer or superior version shouldn't make them change the review for the version 1 item.

If a user does update their review, it should state that a replacement was sent that is better, yet different, and possibly provide a link to the better or updated item.


I had a mixed experience as well. An order of six micro USB cables went faulty in no time. The small springs holding the cables' micro usb plug in place tend to easily lose all tension. After that has happened the cable sits loose, slips out easily and the plug heats up due to increased contact resistance.

After having left a review on Amazon, i was contacted by Anker and got an apology and 6 new replacement cables. Alas, they were of the same bad quality :-(


Given how many people had similar experiences, I wonder why they don't fix the products before they sell them? I mean, it's nice that they replace the faulty products, but do I really need to contact them at all? I guess making reliable product at scale for acceptable price is not so easy after all.


I was annoyed that they replaced the buggy product with a different product but then wanted me to leave a favorable review on the bad one. I asked if this is really what they wanted and customer support said yes. This is a shame.


In such cases I usually change my negative review to more neutral (3/4 stars) and add a disclaimer that refund/replacement has been received.


No other way? Was https://www.anker.com/login?back=support/refund-exchange not available at the time when you needed help?

I had a faulty cable that was ordered through Amazon, and was able to receive a replacement in about two days, through their site.


Type C, and USB3 cables in general seem pretty hit or miss. Same goes for some of the "fast" chargers, depending on phone, compatibility seems to hit or miss as well.


Its a well-known fact companies monitor and will answer/address issues brought via social media to avoid possible meltdown. Be it Twitter, Amazon or Newegg.

Have you seen any of the photos from Amazon clients of Anker while their unit blew up?? I had the same issue (thank God I was home because their adapter was behind wall and within seconds curtain caught fire. Had nobody be home I would be going back to the rubble). I emailed Anker photos and haven't heard from them for three months, until I decided to go back on Amazon and gave them 1-star review (I barely spend time reviewing anything). That finally got their attention.


The difference between a company genuinely caring about their customers' experience with their product, and one who will do whatever it takes to manage their public profile isn't all that different to all practical intents and purposes.

That said, I'd consider it more carefully if i was going to engage with them beyond buying accessories. Or if they nearly burned my house down, I guess.


> The difference between a company genuinely caring about their customers' experience with their product, and one who will do whatever it takes to manage their public profile isn't all that different to all practical intents and purposes.

But it sounds like joering (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14395539) was describing precisely a practical difference: a company that genuinely cared about its customers' experiences would, it seems, have responded to attempts at direct contact, rather than responding only to a threat to its public profile.


I had the same experience. Bought a 6 port USB charger on Amazon, and randomly it would just shut off and need to be unplugged from the wall for ~10 minutes and then plugged back in. I emailed their customer support, and they just asked for my address and sent me another unit. Didn't even ask for the return. So seamless, and really made me a fan of theirs.


I think it's pretty well known that you can use reviews as leverage even with horrible companies. I'd be more curios as to how their customer service is in non-review situations


In this modern age, why bother trying to deal with customer service, when going through Amazon reviews is so easy and efficient?


That's exactly what I'd love from any company. Funny I just got an anker car usb adapter and

1) the packaging was cute, very apple-ish in sensory pleasing, the product is cute and solid, below it there's a tiny card with Happy ? on one side, Not Happy ? on the other ... it was very engaging.

2) there's a fitting issue in my car, the positive electrode doesn't connect with the socket until I put 10kg of pressure on it. Maybe I should make a review.. (I don't even need a replacement, just a tip on how to fix the issue)


I have that issue with an older Jeep I own. The cigarette lighter socket is longer than most newer sockets so some USB chargers just do not make great contact.


That's probably it, or I suspect the shape of the bottom connector to be a bit too beveled. I'll try to fit a piece of conducting metal between the two.


Crumple up a piece of tin foil around the end. Make sure it won't fall off and bridge the walls (negative) with the tip (+). Ghetto but effective if you only rarely unplug it. Alternatively, solder wires onto it and plug them into your fuse box. Add an inline fuse for added protection.


Yep, they respond to every negative review with a free replacement, in order to keep ratings afloat long enough until the product is no longer a best-seller. (I experienced this with an aftermarket battery replacement. Apple original lost its chargeability after 5 years. Anker's lost its in less than 1.) It's a "great" way to make a product "survive" (including replacements) through the warranty period, until the product is obsolete for new customers.


> I never was pressured to update my review, never asked to return the original unit, never solicited to buy more stuff. They seemed to have a genuine desire to make sure their customers are being served well, and that is the kind of thing that will make me a customer for life.

This is great, and behavious we should encourage. But lets not pretend this isn't a carefully manage strategy.

A company doesn't care about you. It cares about messages like this.


It's a carefully managed strategy to ... make their customers happy?

If a company acts in a great way (e.g. replacing slightly dodgy equipment) whenever a customer lets them know they have an issue that's great for the customer, regardless of whatever internal reasoning the company may have for acting in that way.


Jeez, wow, I guess it's hard for you to trust friends too.


How can we possibly compare trusting a friend to trusting a company that you'll sporadically buy products from?


My wife bought an Anker usb battery, which stopped charging after a couple months. They required her to advance ship it at her own expense before sending a replacement, or alternatively offered a 50% refund. Shipping from Canada back to their facility cost more than 50% of the value, so she took the half refund. Crazy to hear of others getting replacements for functioning units without having to even return them.


> Canada


Same experience here. Great customer service and the updated USB C charger I got was fixed (wasn't sending data on the old version)


I've had a ton of issues with USB power supplies and cables not allowing devices to charge properly (Improper wiring, termination, fake specs, etc) and so I started testing everything I got using a USB power meter and test load. Anker is the only brand on Amazon that Ive found to reliably meet spec. Their newer USB battery packs in particular are very interesting because they will ignore the line termination and do a TCP-like ramp on amperage until they get a voltage sag, then pull back slightly and sit there. This is especially entertaining because they'll melt really poorly designed USB supplies :)


This is why Anker is successful imho. Not because they offer a better battery / charger / cable. But because they free users from having the think about it.

Most people don't want to have to think about USB power delivery handshakes and resistors. And they don't want to research what they need to look for in a USB 3.0 cable vs that USB 2.0 cable they bought years ago.

Anker seems to be technologically on the ball, but above and beyond that it's a "we promise not to @$^# up the accessory we sell to you" guarantee. Which the Chinese fly-by-nights seem incapable of grasping.


In other words, they've cultivated a brand of trust through their product lineup (what they offer vs what they don't offer), product design, and packaging design.


I have their 6-port USB charger in the mudroom of the house. We plug in our phones, tablets and bike lights upon entry. Excellent performance, and yes, I never have to think about it. It just works (at US and Euro line voltage).

I did find the packaging a bit ostentatious for a USB charger. A plain corrugated cardboard box would have been more appropriate for mail-order, though I can see why they might want to "steve-job" the packaging for retail.


What's a mudroom?


> Many suburban American houses have a mud room, a casual, generally secondary entryway intended as an area to remove and store footwear, outerwear, and wet clothing before entering the main house. As well as providing storage space, a mud room serves to increase the cleanliness of a house proper.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entryway


A foyer for the back door. Usually you'll have a tile floor and rougher walls.

You do messy stuff there, like take off your winter boots, or leave your bike.


A (usually back) foyer where you take off/store your muddy shoes.


(It's common in farm houses where it's typical to be out in the muddy fields. Most of America by geographical land area is farm land.)


> Most of America by geographical land area is farm land.

No, total agricultural land is less than 1 billion of a total of 2.3 billion acres.


That's certainly why I do it.

Getting Anker products is so much easier and quicker than the old way of trawling through pagefuls of cables trying to find those that appeared spec compliant (thanks, Benson!), reasonable quality, and don't try any scams like "Fully USB 3.1 compatible" thanks to USB 2.0 fallback.


"Their newer USB battery packs in particular are very interesting because they will ignore the line termination and do a TCP-like ramp on amperage until they get a voltage sag"

This comment doesn't make sense in the context of the battery pack being used as a charger. Are you talking about when the battery pack is charging?


yes, they have to be because they said "This is especially entertaining because they'll melt really poorly designed USB supplies :)"


I read this as "some devices don't correctly signal what amperage they want, so the anker pack ramps up until it detects some change that indicates the device is charging at full speed."


I'm referring to the charge rate of the packs themselves. Amperage doesn't work the same way voltage does. You could hook your phone up to a 1000 amp supply as long as it's 5V so there's no point in starting lower and ramping up the output since the device will only use what it can take.

(for clarification, the principle is V=IR, you could hook a 5V incandescent lightbulb or LED up to that same 1000A supply and it would only draw I=V/R (Current = 5v / series resistance). Yes, there is silicon controlling the battery, but at the most basic level, if the series resistance of all that plus the battery is 5 ohms, it will only draw 1A)

Edit: math fail


The charger could push more current by increasing the voltage, but that would be dangerous and most likely damage the device--unless the charger could somehow sense the resistance of the charging cable and compensate for the voltage drop, then the output would be >5V at the charger, but =5V at the end of the cable. That would take some sorcery I'm not aware of though.

LEDs use constant current power supplies with variable voltage, and I've seen some hybrid designs with exotic combinations of constant current / constant voltage regulation.


It's incorrect to think of the charger as "pushing" current. Not only in general electrical theory, but also in the context of charging lithium ion batteries. The real 'decision' as to how much current is used is in the management IC for the battery, which converts the 5V from the 'charger' to a variable voltage and current based on the charge state of the battery and its input power specification.

See, for example, this design note from Linear Tech: [0] which describes a 20V adapter, analogous to OP's 5V USB 'charger', that can provide 2A (40W total) to the laptop. If the laptop battery charge management IC says that the battery can use up to 2.2A at 12.6V = 27.7 W, but the laptop computer is using more than 40-27.7=12.3W, it will reduce the charge current to the battery to avoid damaging the 20V 2A adapter. The problem that pdelbarba's USB battery packs are solving is that they can be plugged into various adapters - perhaps a port on a laptop limited to 500 mA, or a 1A 'phone charger' or a 2.1A 'tablet charger'. Some manufacturers solve this by adding resistors to their chargers so that the device can sense the resistance and know it can use up to 0.5, 1, or 2.1A. But everyone uses different resistors.

So Anker does a functional test rather than the electrical equivalent of user-agent-string parsing to set the current limit.

> unless the charger could somehow sense the resistance of the charging cable and compensate for the voltage drop, then the output would be >5V at the charger, but =5V at the end of the cable. That would take some sorcery I'm not aware of though.

That's pretty standard for lab power supplies. It also is used in precision metrology with sensors like load cells. All it takes is a pair of non-current-carrying wires to sense the voltage at the device. The current-carrying wires experience a voltage drop, but the sense wires are only feeding into high-impedance measurement inputs. This is known as a Kelvin connection.[1] With a device that takes an excitation voltage, you'd use a 6-wire connection.[2]

[0] http://cds.linear.com/docs/en/design-note/dn194f.pdf

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-terminal_sensing

[2] http://loadcelltheory.com/LoadCellSupportTheoryPDF/ShuntCalR...


Thanks for detailed reply with references. Knowledge enhanced. :)

Yes, I suppose it's incorrect to think of the charger as pushing current; but with a resistive load, with LEDs, with raw lithium cells, most batteries, and with most loads in general, the current can be expected to increase as the voltage increases. And some power supplies regulate output by current rather than voltage. I didn't know that about lab power supplies, very interesting!


Awesome writeup! Another thing that I should probably have mentioned earlier is that the resistors are across D+ and D-, allowing the device to know that it's A) not plugged into anything it should be talking to and B) what the output of the charger is. This get's really entertaining when you start talking about USB C where if the resistor is used incorrectly, you can start doing real damage to device and charger.


Yep, HP / Agilent supplies typically have the sense connections, and they're useful for compensation from various factors :)


My friend was going scuba diving on an island without power. He bought and tested 5 different brands on Amazon. Anker was the best. He had an extra battery, so I bought it from it. It was worked wonders when I am traveling for the day and need to charge my phone.



Can you recommend a portable USB charger of there's? I sold my wife on getting one when she needed to replace her's because of their solid reputation, only to have it break three months later.


Did you contact Anker? Among the many products I've bought from them, I've had a couple of problematic ones, but have found that in these cases their support has been very helpful and sent me a replacement, even a year or so after the original purchase.


No, but I should have. It broke during a trip out of the country and we needed to replace it then and there. Thankfully, we were in Japan, so we had no shortage of options. I'll keep that in mind if I buy from them again.


You can buy any of theirs that was manufactured in the last 1.5-2 years and you shouldn't have a problem. I wouldn't buy one that was originally made 3-4 years ago just because the cells might have lost a lot of capacity. Like the others said, if you contact them they have great customer support and will often (very anecdotal) send you a free one.


How did it fail? I have a few of the PowerCore chargers and have had no issues.


It stopped charging fully and would no longer power any devices. I just tested it the other day while I was getting ready to recycle some other electronics and it was still doing the same thing.


Maybe the typical one would have broken down after couple of hours?


Anker may make great products, but their marketing is shit. They have way too many products and no good way to differentiate. Check out this site which tries to explain the differences:

http://www.powerbankguide.com/anker-powercore-vs-astro-the-d...

Let us simplify the situation for you –

#1 An Anker PowerCore+ powerbank is BETTER and NEWER than Astro Gen 1 or Gen 2 of same capacity.

#2 An Anker PowerCore (without the +) powerbank is BETTER and NEWER than Astro Gen 1 or Gen 2 of same capacity.

#3 Anker PowerCore+ and Anker PowerCore powerbanks exist side by side with PowerCore+ usually having some extra features while PowerCore offers excellent value for money.


Which is somewhere between irrelevant and a good thing because of the way their products are sold. Namely, consumers search "power bank" on amazon and buy something in the top 5-10 results. The more positions on that list Anker can hold (by having slightly different products) the better position they're in.


What you describe sounds like search result spam, which is neither irrelevant or a good thing for the consumer.


There are a number of people who won't buy a micro USB cable unless the product has the name of their phone in the name. So you see the exact same product listed multiple times with different names.

If amazon would extend their car parts search functionality -- letting users put in their phone model and then giving a curated list of compatible devices, it would be awesome.

It works pretty well for car parts, although you're at the mercy of the seller to determine compatibility for less prominent things.


Don't hate the player, hate the game. Amazon is to blame for this state of affairs.


The guide tries to make things seem really complex but the reality isn't so bad.. Anker fully replaced their single-tier Astro line with their two-tier PowerCore line.. that's way simpler than the branding situations with the vast majority of consumer electronics companies. The only real cause of confusion here is retailers continuing to sell their older Astro products as if they were the latest models, which is hardly Anker's fault.


> Anker fully replaced their single-tier Astro line with their two-tier PowerCore line.

Where do you see that?

First I want to know the feature difference between Astro, PowerCore, PowerCore II, and PowerCore+. (WTF are PowerIQ, VoltageBoost, QuickCharge, etc.) Next I want to see something that compares product dimensions, weight, and mAh between all of their products. Recharge times would be ideal as well, but I understand those can vary based on ambient temperature and other factors.

It seems like that should be Step 1 for any decent marketing department, but either their website doesn't have this information or it's hidden very well: https://www.anker.com/products/taxons/107/Batteries


> Where do you see that?

In your post. The bit about "BETTER and NEWER".

I've never had an issue finding out any metrics about their products from the Amazon page. That includes what all of their trademarked features mean. Having a chart that compares all of them doesn't really make sense when each one has the relevant info.


It would help if the Anker site didn't still list the Astro products alongside PowerCore.


> The only real cause of confusion here is retailers continuing to sell their older Astro products as if they were the latest models, which is hardly Anker's fault.

It's surely Anker's fault if they list the two generations of products side-by-side on their own website (which, as can be seen at jobu (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14395302 )'s link https://www.anker.com/products/taxons/107/Batteries , they do).


That webpage looks to be an affiliate seller page, so their lack of clarity benefits them if people click on their links to figure out what's really going on. All they need to do is get that referrer cookie set and their job is done; understanding powerbanks is secondary (if that).


their marketing may be getting a revamp, since this piece is a massive submarine that's been at the top of HN all day.


An insignificant minority will care about the website of a power bank product.


It's somewhat similar when you search for their products on Amazon.

I can decide which product is best for me. My family and friends? Not so much.

(They may get "good enough" and put up with it, but e.g. not experience fast/fastest charging that their device can actually support. As one example.)

P.S. Even then, I'd prefer not to sort through so many products / product specs.

I assumed part of this was older product inventories staying up on Amazon. But apparently, the Anker product line is just confusingly diverse and overlapping.


Yeah, I'm a fan and own a bunch of their products, but I think it's crazy how inept their own web site and Amazon listings are at just listing the damn specs for the devices or offering useful comparisons.

What input does it draw? Does this support PD, and if so what modes and how fast? Will this cable work for Thunderbolt 3? How much amperage is it rated for?

These are some of the easiest products to quantify in technical terms; make that information easy to find, and give me the marketing pitch afterward.


I dunno, making it to the top of HN is pretty great content marketing.


No different than shopping on Amazon.


I'm still waiting for a time when UPS or Fedex will come up with a Prime option where I pay $99 a year for 2-day shipping through them, and all these companies like Anker would ship through major carriers directly. Buying third-party stuff from Amazon is always a hit and miss experience..


Amazon 2-day shipping is just regular ground shipping. The trick is they've strategically located products in various warehouses throughout the country and then spent a bunch of effort optimizing the lead time so pickers can get them out as soon as possible.


That's basically what https://www.shoprunner.com/ is trying to be, I think?

It's not as integrated as it could be, but it accomplishes the same thing.


I use Shoprunner where it's supported, because I get it for free with Amex. My experience is that it's not as good as Prime. Prime is supposed to give you free delivery in 2 days. Shoprunner is supposed to give you free 2-day shipping. These are very different things. Yes, the Shoprunner package is shipped via a 2-day shipping method, but the merchant often takes several days before they ship it. I've had Shoprunner orders take a week or more to arrive. Every once in a while Prime misses its promise date, but it's pretty rare, and usually only by a day. I don't think I've EVER had a Shoprunner order arrive in 2 days. Unless the merchants are all prepared to start passing orders off to the carriers more quickly, a carrier program will have a hard time matching the Prime experience.


This is pretty typical for most not-amazon (or amazon-competitor) stores, I've found. It's why I am so reluctant to use third party sites, even though I know it's for the better if I do.

Newegg I've found to fulfill the Shoprunner "two day" shipping promise pretty reliably. I actually get a lot of stuff the next day due to being relatively close to their Indiana drop-ship partner/warehouse/whatever.


The problem with shoprunner is that not every store supports it,but all stores can ship with ups "prime".


What's to stop someone from sharing their UPS Prime membership with everyone they know?

Verified address(es) sound like the only answer, and that brings up another set of problems to solve.

Beyond that, just because UPS offers a membership doesn't mean that retailers will have it integrated into their checkout flow/logic. In a lot of cases that would be a re-work and could take a long time before it was practically usable.


Maybe it's strictly associated with the address: every time UPS ships something to your address, it gets flagged for express treatment. Seller doesn't have to know about it at all.


This would actually be significantly harder than you would think - definitely much more difficult than a 'flag' on your address.

Below constitutes my (limited) experience working as an engineer at a company with a big logistics component (not Amazon).

When you run an operation the size of Amazon (or even muuuuch smaller) and are putting out a lot of freight for UPS/FedEx, you batch up your outgoing material based on ship method and 'next hop'. In order to speed up the delivery from a 3-5 day window to a 2 day window, you would have to explicitly purchase the '2 day' shipping option for that customer, or it would get batched in with all of the other 3-5 day goods, which could get sent to a totally different distribution center than the 2 day.

We're talking huge numbers trucks all going to "Indianapolis 2 day" versus "Lexington Ground" or whatever - once it gets on that ground shipping truck, I don't think it matters a ton what your address is flagged, as it's going to go that shipping method.


It would still be hard to implement. The shipper still has to make an additional request to UPS to make sure they get paid for the label.

The first and largest complaint people will make is that they can't use UPS Prime while on vacation or to ship gifts.


As andrewflnr said, it would be tied to your name and address, or maybe two addresses (home and vacation/business) and four names (family) the same way USPS offers Informed Delivery[0] based on name and address. It offers the carriers a double dipping (charge shipper standard rate and then charge you subscription fee) but there's definitely a market for it.

[0]https://informeddelivery.usps.com/box/pages/intro/start.acti...


ShopRunner is also free if you have an American Express card.


ShopRunner is also free, forever, if you ever sign up for one of their free trials - I think they tend to happen around Black Friday.

I signed up for a free 1 year trial 5+ years ago, and it's still active. I don't know if they're desperate to goose their user numbers or what, but I've never heard of anyone's trial expiring.


The Prime service only works because Amazon is able to negotiate shipping prices due to their volume of pickup. Maybe if you were getting a high volume of delivery everyday, then shipping companies would consider it.


Also because they basically have warehouses and distribution centers in one. Instead of shipping your box to a distribution center and from there to your home, they just put it in the truck that delivers it to your door. At least that's what I've seen in Europe, but wouldn't be surprized that that is what they do in the US, too. I think they have direct 'peering' arrangements with DHL and others, in that the truck actually starts at Amazon or goes there the first thing in the morning.

I would love to see "independent" fulfilment centers. E.g. I order at my favorite company a few cities away, and my local fulfilment center (the former huge amazon warehose) processes it, and I get it next day. I could imagine a shipping flat, for all packages that go through "my" center. Note, I am not thinking "mom and pop" centers, I am imagining local joint ventures beween logistics/delivery companies and these huge warehouses/goods transportation centers. But still a few orders of magnitude smaller than Amazon. (For the Germans: all my Amazon packages go through Bad Hersfeld. Imagine that logistics center would be it's own company, maybe backed by DHL / Schenker / Trans-o-flex / ... I believe it has a critical size to be viable.)

Unfortunately, the free market is not going to bring me that...


This is kind of the idea of Fullfilment by Amazon (FBA). You send your stuff to Amazon in bulk, they keep it in their warehouse, and when you sell an item, tell them where to deliver it to. You can use it even if you don't sell on Amazon.


Prime works because not everyone makes frequent purchases and they get a flat $99 a year. People with prime are going to shop at amazon first because of the sunk cost of prime.


Prime from a customer standpoint is indeed about the shipping. But Prime from a seller standpoint (usually) means Fulfillment By Amazon. That means Amazon stores the product until there's a sale, then they pack and ship the product, and they handle most of the customer service. Those things are quite a ways outside the wheelhouse of UPS or Fedex, I think. You need a proper fulfillment center for those things. There are a number companies providing these services, so theoretically, Anker could use them instead of Amazon already. But alas, Amazon being Amazon is probably too large of a marketplace to ignore.


FYI UPS has a Supply Chain division that will do warehousing and fulfillment for other companies:

https://www.ups-scs.com/logistics/warehousing.html

First I heard of this is when I found out that some "mail order" companies let UPS handle their returns. (I think it was Lands' End.)


Oh, wow. They seriously haven't redesigned that site since I helped build it at Studio Archetype in 1998. I swear some of that is still my (very, very dated) HTML, especially all the IMG SRC="1.gif" WIDTH=123 stuff. Yikes!


I agree with you.

While it is true Amazon does negotiate very good deals for themselves, they have been moving more and more into UPS/FedEx's business of shipping logistics and delivery. If these shipping companies want to survive they need to find a way to support Amazon's competitors.


Amazon isn't moving in on UPS/Fedex really, yet. Their "in house" Amazon Logistics is mostly third party vendors who are doing a terrible job at it too. So much so that I've had to call Amazon enough that they've explicitly flagged my account to never use it as an option for shipping me anything.


One of their drivers called me at 9am telling me to meet them outside on the corner because they couldn't find the apartment building entrance. There are only four sides to the building, not that hard...


Glad I'm not the only one. Every shipment I've had using Amazon Logistics has showed "out for delivery", then an hour later "back at carrier facility". The next day, same thing. They can't find my address, even though it comes right up on Google Maps, as well as Mapquest, Bing, and TomTom.


Currently Amazon "owns" the customer, plus it owns very large fullfilment network - i.e. a caching for the physical world - making it's cost per packet the lowest. This is a powerful combination.

Furthermore, if Fedex/UPS will start to find sucsess in this "prime" project, Amazon could instantly change it's software to add a box "only from branded manufacturer's store", or some other software change, and solve this hit and miss experience you speak of.


Isn't retail margin usually 50%? Doesn't Amazon use some of their savings from not having a retail store front to subsidize shipping? I assume the Prime fee doesn't actually cover the cost, it simply is a mechanism to lock people into ordering.


We sell a product through Amazon on their vendor program. After all the deductions we come up with about 50% more cash per product than through the one traditional retailer we have. We only make few more percent through our own website as Amazon's own margins are so thin. They offer a much better deal than the rest of retail.


I feel like I have a hard time justifying Prime because I never need anything that fast. I'm happy to wait until I have 25, 35, or 50 $ (or whatever value) of purchases in my cart and wait a week to get my stuff.


I dunno about the US, but in the UK Anker sells direct through Amazon. I do agree with your overall idea though, but then there's like 3 or 4 major delivery services..


Hrm, so a premium, tiered access for the "last mile" to your house?


Apologies for going off topic but, this trend of hiding the content until you scroll down is getting ridiculous. I stared at that stupid animation for 15 seconds thinking the content was to appear at some point, before realizing I was supposed to scroll down.


It's the Verge, they're one of the one worst offenders of content-hiding web gimmickry. If you haven't seen it already, check out their Apple Watch review for a thorough list of everything not to do with a web page.


I'd say they're one of the worst offenders of tech reporting.

Apparently on their Google IO podcast they complained quite a bit how one of them installed the new developer preview of Android and "none of the new features worked".

Because of course it's as though they expect the new APIs already being used out of the box in a build meant for developers to use. It's not called a "customer preview"...


At the risk of sounding like a glorified Amazon reviewer…

Checking my Amazon order history, I can see purchases for wall socket chargers (mains to 2x USB), a 3-port PCI-E to USB 3 card, and a mains powered SATA to USB 3 adaptor. All used frequently, never had a problem with them. The wall charger is the best one I own: fast charging, reliable, gets the job done. As a computer tech person, their stuff works for me.

[No affiliation to Anker, customer since 2015; all products Fulfilled By Amazon.]


I got some usb cables some time ago. fancy models. both got broken wires in less than a year. their lifetime warranty was taking forever until I updated my 4 star review to a one. got and email instantly saying they shipped new ones to me and if I could change my review to 5 stars. this was via amazon, they even used the same Shipping address as the purchase. never heard from the warranty email.

they did send new ones of an upgraded design that even had a pouch. but why not do that when I contacted via the regular way? that lowered my respect for them.


I had a different experience. I had a charger that stopped working. When I emailed them they immediately sent a new charger (through Amazon) and didn't even ask me to return the non-functional device. Very fast and excellent service.


I've had the same happen. One of the chargers I bought from them was defective. Got a new one in couple days, no questions or return asked.

Edit: they may have asked trying different cables first, now that I think about it


By wall socket chargers so you mean replacements for the outlet itself that has a USB jack?

If so, which do you recommend? Would be nice to get rid of the wall warts for the charger blocks.


Apple's own USB-C to external monitor options are horrid. They have an USB-C to HDMI/USB/USBC dongle that is notoriously buggy locking up the new MBP. We ended up with a 3rd party cables to connect to external monitors.

Some balls definitely dropped over at apple's product teams.


Apple doesn't even have an option for connecting to DisplayPort screens. I need it because the UP2414Q runs 4K@60Hz over DP with multistream transport. It will only run at 30 Hz over HDMI.

Apple sells a USB-C to Thunderbolt 2 adapter that looks identical to the mini-displayport connector on my previous laptop but is only thunderbolt, no video modes supported. A lot of unhappy reviews on that one.

They dropped just about every ball possible with monitor hookups. I actually haven't bought a USB to DP cable yet because last time I looked they weren't well reviewed, had gone out of stock, or cost like $40. I'm debating whether I should get one or hold off for the TB3 docks to show up.


Apple sells a USB-C to Thunderbolt 2 adapter that looks identical to the mini-displayport connector on my previous laptop but is only thunderbolt, no video modes supported. A lot of unhappy reviews on that one.

I made that same mistake, but it's also broken the other way around.. turns out you can't use a 2015 iMac as a display using DisplayPort, it has to be a Thunderbolt :-D So now I have two connectors with the same socket but two totally different uses.


That's not broken. The iMac is not a general-purpose display. It's a computer.

If you plug a Dell laptop into a Mac, would you expect to automatically get to use the Dell's monitor as a secondary Mac display?


iMacs did support this, called Target Display Mode. Similar to how macs can be mounted as external hard drives in Target Disk Mode.

2009 and 2010 models supported vanilla DisplayPort, 2011 to 2014 cut that for Thunderbolt only.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204592


FWIW I've been using this one with my Dell u3417w (3440x1440 curved screen) and haven't had any issues: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EXKDRAC


MST is a whole separate disaster. That cable advertises support for it at least. On the Windows side, I've had DP to DP cables not work even though they were supposed to. I only have the single DP to miniDP (and my 2011 Air couldn't drive it with MST anyway), but I assume it was a similar boat there. Maybe things are better by now.

Guess I'll snag a cable and try my luck. Looks like they're generally around $15-20 right now, which isn't too bad.


>> Apple doesn't even have an option for connecting to DisplayPort screens.

I'm still pissed that I can't connect with my 2014 MBP over DisplayPort without knocking out the wifi with interference.


The one on amazon for $20 works well... pluggable I think.


not to mention there's no apple way to connect usb-c to displayport 1.2. Honestly should have been one of the main adaptors they made. HDMI is great but unless it can pump 4k at 60hz it's no good.


They make a dirt cheap (~$20) vertical mouse that helped me correct wrist problems from bad posture overnight. I don't use anything else for long periods of time, they singlehandedly (pun not intended) helped me fix my wrist problems. And I use it for gaming just as well.

Anker is dope.


Yeah they have the only quality, reasonably priced vertical mouse. I have a bunch of them, wireless and wired.


Accessories are either $1 for random brand, or $30 for Apple/Samsung. Providing them for $10 while spending a bit more time on QC is a sweet spot, of course they're beating Apple and Samsung.


There is no guarantee that that is a successful strategy.


Anker has some serious quality issues now, or at least it feels like that with fakes on Amazon. It's hard to tell what's geniune Anker anymore, but I've had really bad luck w/ low quality build of some stuff I've bought there. It's not expensive enough to bother sending back, but I used to automatically buy Anker and now I look for other newer brands that aren't potential counterfeits yet due to the copying of the name.


That's really Amazon's fault. To get around Amazon's issues, I just buy everything off of Anker's store[0].

[0] https://www.anker.com/products


I bought an Anker speaker for my office (which I really like BTW - https://www.anker.com/products/A3143011), and was comparing to different model on their site. To purchase, there was only an Amazon button: https://www.anker.com/products/A3142011

Some of their products are offered direct. Others are Amazon only.


I purchased a different bluetooth speaker from them - https://www.anker.com/products/A3102011 and I really like it too. I use this speaker at home in the kitchen and it's amazing how well it sounds for a 35$ gizmo.


The battery life on the SoundCore is superb as well.


It's funny, but I've done the same for about 6 orders in the past month or so... Amazon's level of trust has really gone down at least for me.


I'm glad that works for you, but it's too bad that trick only works in a single country. :P


Amazon has a huge problem with counterfeits. I've noticed that it's especially bad for two things: almost anything that you'd typically find at a place like CVS or Walgreen (e.g. toiletries), and cheap electronic peripherals like USB drives, SD cards, and cables. I avoid buying things from these categories on Amazon whenever possible.


Seriously - it's gotten so bad that I buy those things on eBay of all places. Even though there's counterfeits there too, at least the reviews tend to be better about weeding them out.


I had the same from Amazon. I've always used Anker screen protectors and have been very impressed but the last time I ordered one I ended up with something that definitely wasn't Anker. May not be Anker's fault but it reflects badly on them.


Does this mean that even if you buy from the AnkerDirect Store on Amazon you run the risk of getting a counterfeit?

I'd purchased several PowerLine cables that all died within a month or so of purchase. I attributed it to being a cheap cable.


Look for this on the Amazon listing:

  Sold by AnkerDirect and Fulfilled by Amazon
Edit: formatting.


My understanding is that not even that is safe. Amazon mixes stock for the same sku product from all their suppliers, so even if only one of them is selling fakes, you can get one.

Not even "Ship from and sold by Amazon.com" is safe for the same reason I believe.

To clarify: This is based on experiences I've had en AmazonES buying things directly from Amazon (Gillete razors from the top of my head) and them being obviously fake. Also from previous discussions in HN

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12061288

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13955981


This happened to me with a Steam Controller. Ordered "Ship from and sold by Amazon.com" and received one without retail packaging and accessories and was defective. Had no issues with it getting replaced by Amazon. I assume some sellers use FBA to let Amazon deal with customer service so they can get away with selling bad products.

Really wish they wouldn't mix SKU and stock. Perhaps its cheaper for them and if the customer notices they can replace it and still come out ahead. But it doesn't seem fair for someone who can't identify a fake product.



I believe Amazon does co-signing when you buy "sold from Amazon". Are you sure they also do so when sold directly through supplier , and not under prime ?


If it's not fulfilled by Amazon, then it's not coming from Amazon's warehouse. It could be subject to counterfeit by the seller, seller's supplier, or possibly even the sellers fulfillment center.


Interesting. My experiences with Amazon UK fulfilment is the exact opposite.


I believe for Amazon UK commingling is off by default, where as in the US its on by default.


That is where they came from...as long as it is from AnkerDirect they should be genuine?


My understanding of FBA is that each SKU can have multiple suppliers, and stock is assigned to its supplier as it arrives in the warehouse (e.g. 250 Anker chargers with SKU ABC123 from AnkerDirect arrived May 22nd and are stored in warehouse X, unit Y, location Z). An order for a SKU from a specific supplier (e.g. ABC123 charger from AnkerDirect) will be taken from that stock, and the quantity remaining is reduced accordingly.

So, to answer your question: if that all happens, and assuming AnkerDirect doesn't have shady stock, then yes, it should be genuine.


It depends on whether the "commingle stock" option is enabled for Anker's listings.


It depends even more on whether there are any sources other than Anker Direct for those branded products. If they're the only source and Amazon is their only channel, then any other seller is either counterfeit or purchased through Amazon and is now trying to resell.


Losing that "we are the only source/seller for our branded products" factor is likely to be a downside of expanding to other retailers. If you know you're the only possible source it should make it much easier to detect and shut down any possible counterfeit sales on Amazon.


It was interesting to see this headline because I don't even use the official charger on my MacBook Pro. Anker does a combination USB/USB-C high power charger block that's 1/3rd the price and works perfectly well. I never found any good/reliable third party chargers for Apple equipment before.

Further, when I did once have a dud Anker battery pack, they just sent me another one next day delivery, didn't even ask for the broken one back.


One thing the author doesn't mention are the legions of loyal Ingress players that have contributed to the rise of Anker ( years before Pokemon Go launched). Many hours are spent walking around from portal to portal and socializing with other players.


A counterpoint -- For the price of one Anker lightning cable, I can have a dozen lightning cables shipped to me from China still in their original Foxconn bags. They will last just as long as the Apple cords, and are much, much cheaper. For a little more, or a few less cords, I can have the same cords delivered to me by a US based box shifter.

The same thing goes with chargers -- I can get high quality, OEM level stuff for pennies, directly from China, or, for a small surcharge, from the US.

I understand Anker is trying to be "better" than OEM, but realistically, they're not 10x better -- maybe 10 or 20% tops, yet they charge significantly more. I personally do not see the appeal, other than maybe convenience.


No, you emphatically cannot get "OEM level" chargers for "pennies". This is not close to being true and has been well documented. Cheap, knockoff chargers are substandard and dangerous.

http://www.righto.com/2014/05/a-look-inside-ipad-chargers-pr...

http://www.righto.com/2015/11/macbook-charger-teardown-surpr...

http://www.righto.com/2016/03/counterfeit-macbook-charger-te...


Ken does some pretty cool teardowns. However, you can, assuming you know where to look. If you're buying gas station knockoffs, of course they're a fire hazard.

The problem is counterfeits are all labeled as one homogeneous group, when they most definitely are not. Some are very, very good, some are not.


I'm not sure where you're getting the Foxconn cords from, but for the most part this just isn't true anymore. I used to be a huge advocate in my family for buying the generic brand since my parents and relatives were wasting a lot of money on things like Monster cables. But I've personally been burned so many times I just tell them to buy Anker since you don't have to worry about it even though they are a little expensive. Its not worth the hassle


I came here to say something similar.

I've become genuinely disturbed at how substandard generic peripherals have become. What's especially disturbing to me is that the problem often seems to be drifting from spec standards, adhering to specs just enough to be functional for most products for just long enough.

I have a audio system that I went through like 4 generic cables on. I was just about to get a replacement system when I saw Anker enthusiastically recommended somewhere, and thought I'd give it a last-ditch chance. It's worked beautifully, no problems.

I've seen similar issues with other types of cables. The scope of the problem is astonishing to me--it's like the manufacturing standards at 85% of producers just suddenly went out the window over the last 5 years or so. I suspect there's a good newsstory somewhere there.


If you already know how and where to get those stuff that's great. But for most people, they just want a quality product at a reasonable price with out much thinking or research. Amazon is full of fake Apple/Samsung cables and chargers or no-name brands that might fry my phone or start a fire. So I am paying for the convenience but it is at the price I'm willing to pay because I'v been burned (not literally yet) too many times trying to be cheap..


I agree with the sibling replies. All the Chinese chargers I got were terrible, one even passed mains voltage to USB. I've also watched videos by bigclivedotcom et all, and, invariably, the cheapo chargers have abysmal separation.

I'd rather pay a bit extra and have peace of mind.


Where do you order these from?


Exactly! I wonder the same thing. The counterfeit accessories are insane and most of those fake ones pose a fire/electric shock hazard. At least Anker products are thoroughly tested and designed.


I just get the Amazon Basics one. $5-7. Good compromise.


They've done a great job with tough competition, which isn't discussed. Apple is pretty easy to undercut, but there are a lot of competitors like Belkin, especially AmazonBasics. It's hard to stay on top of a commodity space for a long time. (especially when your distributor is a potential competitor with its own massive supply chain, a great brand, and real-time data from you and all your competitors)


One thing that makes Anker stand out to me is that they pay attention to the unboxing experience, which I haven't seen from any other company in a non-premium market like cables and car docks.


My unboxing experience with Anker cables is always "oh they've sent me another pointless faux-suede pouch, I wonder how many tonnes of these have gone on landfill this year".

Good products though.


I <3 Anker products, own quite a few of them. You can tell the R&D has been done... Every single product I've bought from them continues to function flawlessly. They're a breath of fresh air: a startup with a focus on quality/price, not flash.


I'd argue that Ingress (the game before Pokemon Go) is part of the reason why Anker became so popular during the last few years. If you asked any random Ingress player which battery pack to buy then 9 out of 10 would recommend Anker above everything else.


As a Pokemon Go player, I picked up an Anker battery pack because of the Ingress player reviews. It works really well, I can fully charge my Pixel XL 3-4 times before it's empty.


Absolutely agree. I've bought 10 Anker products and to this day still operate and function as intended. Best price to value products.


Any reason why?


Because they're really high quality and gained traction within that community.


Anker, Aukey, Choetech, Ravpower, the 4 heavy hitters. Save for some of their weird stuff like dash cams and vacuums you can't go wrong. Those brands make up just about every cable, charger, or battery in my apartment.


Yeah, i'm the same. Couple of observations:

1. Anker - started buying them for their HTC Sensation batteries, which were superb. Bought a load of multi USB ports for the home, last couple of years they've been flaky with ports dying. Customer service used to be superb, now not as mich.

2. Aukey - only bought a car multi USB charger, thing broke apart in a week. Like everything else, may just be Amazon comingling.

3. Ravpower - only bought one of their big battery packs, 28000mah or whatever. The thing is bulletproof, well made, and works. I need to test the capacity at some point, but it's not given me any surprises.

They're all examples of Chinese companies going direct and emulating the Western companies who used to rebrand their stuff. As long as they do it properly, I do not have a problem with this.


From the branding, I think Aukey is a knockoff of Anker. Which I suppose should be considered a sort of flattery


This article claims our phones don't last any longer because of some fundamental science with Li-ion batteries. But that's horse crap. The 24KWh battery pack in my Leaf is Li-ion. My laptop has a bigger battery than my phone, also Li-ion.

The real reason our phones don't get much more battery life than 5 years ago is packaging; every step forward on efficiency or battery capacity is consumed by making the phones thinner. Because the manufacturers have decided lasting one day is fine. They don't recognize any consumer demand for longer lasting phones as significant.


If I am not mistaken, this is one of the rare Chinese (Designed in China, made in China and owned by a Chinese company) consumer electronics brands that is also a famous household brands in the U.S.


Lenovo fits that bill.

I would guess the reason is that a Chinese company has plenty of market in China already and if they expand they would expand to other Asian countries first for language and cultural similarity reasons. Same reason US companies expand into Canada and Europe first.


For those that hate Anker's relationship with Amazon, please note: many items Anker makes is also sold first party through Walmart.com now and is even in some Walmarts.

Anker has finally arrived.


I use a cheap, no-brand 7x 18650 cell USB battery with a seemingly gimmicky solar panel that actually works from Amazon. It both charges and discharges slowly, but it works good enough for now and it's TSA-compliant to pack in carry-on. It's really poorly designed in that all sides are symmetric and the manual power button lacks an affordance... it does have automatic power-on based on USB draw.

As a similar potential business model, Monoprice seems like a great business for the customer, as cables are/were the highest margin items in electronics store, but I wonder if they're making enough money to be viable: anyone can knock-off cables and compete to the bottom worse than DRAM ($.75 USB cable, where's the profit in that?)

I'm wondering if Anker is potentially investable or if it will at least earn a comfortable living for workers, suppliers and owner/s. Differentiating a-la Zappos but beware of an inherent lack of long-term defensibility and brand-crowded marketplace.

I'll give em a try when I need that next thing that normally would be an Amazon/Newegg/Fry's purchase.


I purchase almost exclusively Anker. When my cheap Bluetooth headphones had a hard time connecting to my phone they just sent me a more expensive pair. I have their cords, wall charger, battery pack, headphones, outdoor speaker, and indoor speaker. All work well and when they stopped or seemed to function inadequately they just sent a new or updated version.

I can't recommend them enough.


+1 for their ~$20 bluetooth headphones. I'm not sure why wired headphones still exist unless you're an audiophile.


I must be living in another dimension, because my experience with Anker's products and customer support has been horrible. I purchased a Lightning cable from them in August that lasted a month before dying. From there on, it was a sh#tstorm to have it replace.

Step 1. Contact Anker (okay so far)

Step 2. Wait

Step 3. Wait some more...

Step 4. Three days later they finally reply, but want me to provide a serial number from the cable? WTH? A serial number 4pt type.

Step 5. Wait some more. When I didn't get a reply that day, I contacted them again and received an email with this lame excuse:

"In our continual effort to provide the best and outstanding service to our customers, we will be conducting an important training program from Sept 30th (Wednesday) through Oct 9th (Friday). While we are making our best efforts to respond to all messages in a timely fashion, we will be slower than usual for the upcoming days mentioned."

Step 6. Wait some more until they shipped the cable, which lasted another three months before failing.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...


You are indeed living in another dimension if you believe that waiting for a reply from customer support for a few days, because of a cable, is bad and that they asking for your product serial number is unreasonable.

/rant Sorry but the entitlement of some people just throws me off.


Waiting, having to provide a serial number, and then waiting a little longer doesn't seem that traumatic, especially so if this case is an outlier.


Yes - I agree.

If this were a TV ad there'd have to be the word 'Dramatization' in soft white lettering at the bottom of the screen because this is definitely going overboard.

I've gone through this process and it's pretty damn easy - contact anker, send the the serial number (the rep even tells you it's so they can do proper QA) and get a new one in the mail.

The alternative would be for them to make you send the old one back which would be significantly more annoying. I think asking for the serial is reasonable on their part. Helps them verify you have the cable, prevents people from filing multiple times on the same cable, and allows them to control quality better.


Where? I've contacted them through Amazon and they're quick. Maybe they direct contact isn't prioritized.


I've been using their ergonomic mice for a while. I think they might just be labeled versions of a generic Chinese product, but the ergonomics relative to price make them a pretty attractive product.

One thing I've noticed is that they do launch bad/mediocre products from time to time, but they kill them pretty quickly if the Amazon reviews come back weak.


Bought a Lightning Powerline+ cable 4 months ago. While Apple's Lightning can feel a little premium, Anker's kick their ass. It has a nice thingy to carry it and I know it won't break in the foreseeable future, different from the 5+ Apple cables I already broke in some 3 years. Also, their power banks are really good as well.


I remember this debacle:

https://plus.google.com/+BensonLeung/posts/TkAnhK84TT7

The cable has long since been recalled, but it is worth mentioning that Benson Leung is a Google employee and Anker was formed by former Google employees.


I have purchased one of those multiple length USB cable packs by Anker months ago and all problems due to poor quality cables were gone. I usually don't have high current demands, but I was short on good quality cables and some RPi and similar boards I was playing with required more current than the usual cellphone so I had to get something better. So far the only Anker cable that failed to supply one board (can't remember if the RPi3 or a different one but wasn't a low power board) was the longest one at almost 2 meters (6 ft) but I can live with that: it works 100% with everything else and all other cables do their job with all boards.


I see this recurring theme of "I bought some Anker product and it wasn't good, but their customer service replaced it with a better one and now I really like them!"

I guess it's working for them, but it sure seems like an odd strategy.

(For the record, I'm in about the same boat, I have probably half a dozen Anker products, and they replace for free the one battery that failed. My wife really likes their super-duper iPhone cables because she destroys regular Apple cables, and the Anker ones seem to hold up much better.)

I'll also give them props for consistently having not-annoying packaging. Basically just cardboard boxes that are easy to open.


There is an inevitable failure rate but if they proactively manage the customer's moods the failure rate can instead turn to their advantage as it will produce these sorts of stories which will be read by other prospective customers and create the perception of good customer service.


Could be one of two different strategies there. The first is that the product is of high quality, and so the manufacturer can afford to replace the item since the failure rate is so low. The other is that the product is low quality, so the manufacturer can afford to replace the item since the product is so cheap to manufacture.


The packaging is definitely a great thing... given how much is just drop shipped these days, I hope more companies move away from the sealed clamshell blister packs.


Their packaging is very closely modeled on Apple's. Which was a good idea.


I have never heard about Anker. I don't even think their brand exists over here...


I have also never heard of Anker. My first thought was that the article was written by them.


I have an early Anker battery, from a few years back. It sees use constantly, and still kicks ass. Their backstory is interesting, thanks for posting.


I recently picked up a USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet adapter from them - was pretty impressed that a little $5 USB dongle could match a $30 Thunderbolt.


I was looking to find a lightning cable replacement for my mother. I think first to look at Anker since I have two older battery packs from them and they've been working great for years. But I did find some reviews to shy me away from them so I naturally stuck with the Apple original. If this was a case for micro-USB, I likely would have gotten an Anker cable instead.


I've purchased 4-5 anker battery packs and usb chargers, very happy with quality of product, however recently switched to ravpower because of lower price for, as of now, comparable quality, so far I purchased battery pack and USB charger (6 outputs) for 30% cheaper than anker.

I have no connection to either company, this is my personal experience, and both make great products.


I'm surprised how much love there is for Anker. The only product I have from them is a vertical mouse, which I'll admit looks nice and has a solid feel, but within a week the scroll wheel became nearly useless due to some hardware/software issue. The only reason I still have it is because I was too lazy to go to a USP store to mail the Amazon return.


They are in a risky business at this point. Finally after the users begged for years, new phones start to be a little more thick but with whole day battery life even with non trivial screen on time usage patterns. This will not make aux battery packs go away, but will reduce the use case from "almost everybody" to "people with special needs".


Expanding into more product categories is a logical evolution for Anker, but it’s also a response to a looming existential threat: Yang says he foresees a future where portable chargers won’t be necessary due to advancements in both fast charging and wireless charging. “I think we all agree that the portable charger isn’t forever,” Yang says. But consumers will always need wall plugs and cables, and Anker sees its goal now as keeping pace with changing standards, like the introduction of USB-C. In the meantime, Yang says it’s diversifying with a future expansion into audio, smart home, and automotive product lines.

It looks like something they are already taking into consideration


They make VASTLY more than just aux battery packs. They also make (or rebrand) a ton of other phone and computer accessories. They've built amazing brand loyalty through their customer service. They aren't going anywhere.


Phones will (and should) always optimize for being as thin and small as possible. Battery cases and packs can make the battery of a thin/light phone meet the needs of heavy users, but there is no accessory that can make a thick/heavy phone thinner and lighter.

The lack of success for the Moto Maxx is a testament to the idea that there isn't really a substantial power user segment that doesn't care about thin/light,


Do you have any examples of phones with battery life like that?


Most Anker products are not actually manufactured by them. They - like many others - buy from chinese OEMs and put their name on it.


Two things: (1) of course they don't manufacture their products. Neither does Apple. They use contract manufacturing. (2) if you mean they don't _design_ their products, you have cause and effect reversed.


Do you have any evidence of this?



How is such a similarity conclusive, though? How do you know Blitzwolf didn't copy Anker? Even if Anker released their product later, how do you know it wasn't an improvement on the Blitzwolf product?


Because that's not how things work in China. An off-brand copy would be a literal copy of the PCB with cheaper and /or missing components (especially EMC-related ones). An "improvement" from a different OEM would have obvious differences in parts like the heatsinks (they are literally the same part, with extremely similar cutting marks) and various other generic interchangeable parts (e.g. the input MOV, the IEC connector, the optical feedback package on the top etc).


They are not the only usb supplies using that design. Ankers is probably the newest design with the electronic protection, the other designs use fuses.


Those designs are not identical.


It's the same OEM with the same basic design, slightly tweaked because the Anker has individual output port protection. Otherwise it's the same basic design produced by the OEM.


Interesting you should post those pics as I am just about to open up an Anker 5 port USB charger as two of the ports have failed (well, one is dead and the other gives out a weird low voltage). Do you know if it's easy to get hold of the output chips or what they are - admittedly I haven't even begun to look at the design/spec yet. Are there any schematics or service manuals out there!?

I have had two (out of 3 purchased) Anker 5-port units replaced within the warranty period, and this one has now failed a couple of months outside of warranty, so I don't particularly rate Anker in any elevated way.

I supposed I should also try contacting Anker first to see if they will stump up a replacement - I think my unit is less than a year old, but was a replacement for another that was about 10 months into its warranty when it died completely.


The output control ICs/MOSFETs are surface mount and quite hard to replace. Even with a hot air rework gun the cramped location and small pitch don't help.

Not to mention that I can't find what type of chip this is from the markings (most likely an integrated overcurrent protection chip with high-power mosfet build in but eh...)


Anker has 18 month warranties. As long as you purchased it from them or an authorized reseller, they will honor it.

I've personally had zero issues with the very few things (literally 1 cable, and the oldest one of all of them; they don't even produce this design anymore) I've had to get warranty on.


I own their low profile USB charger for use inside the car and recommend it.

Also purchased their led desk lamp, has good qualities but they unfortunately used bright blue leds on the indicators, which made it practically unusable in my room. They have a good rep for listening to customers, so I made a request to change to orange leds, let's see if it happens.


My trouble with Anker cables is I'm not able to buy them in a reasonable way. If I go on Amazon, most of their products "do not ship to your location (Europe)". For the few that do, Amazon wants to charge me $16 in "import tax deposit" (when the item cost is way below the threshold for import tax) plus $15 for the cheapest shipping. That's on a cable costing $4.99.

This is a major beef I have with Amazon in general, and the reason I almost never buy stuff there. Most stuff I want doesn't ship to my location, there's no way to filter out unavailable items from search, and shipping is usually horribly expensive. When AliExpress offers a better experience, your ecommerce store has some serious issues...

Now, I can go on eBay and get an Anker cable more reasonably priced, but then it's 85% likely I'm getting a Chinese knockoff. Then I might as well buy 10 straight-outta-Guangzhou $0.99 cables and get 1 that works well for a year. Which is what I do now.

Does anyone know a quality yet reasonably priced micro usb cable brand available in Europe/Scandinavia?


I often bought Anker chargers and cables while traveling in the US and brought it back home to Norway - even had them replace or refund broken stuff for me a couple of times (excellent customer service!)

Wanted to buy a new car charger recently, and got really annoyed at how difficult it was to find someone who would ship to Norway without breaking the bank on shipping or risking a fake item.

Then I discovered their official AliExpress store - https://anker.aliexpress.com/store/1710553

They won't ship batteries to Scandinavia - but chargers and cables are fair game, and decently priced. All original stuff.


Thanks for the tip! Just ordered a cable to try them out, $6.99 and free shipping is more like it.


Anker's website states that they have distribution in Belgium and Germany, and they have a UK contact number. They must be available through some other stores over there, somewhere.


Have you tried amazon.co.uk and amazon.de?


Try buying Anker stuff on ebay?


I like to think of Anker, RAVPower, Aukey, etc as high quality generic goods. They aren't dirt cheap like AliExpress goods but not expensive either compared to well known brands. They certainly seem to have decent quality control is helping build their brand/reputation.


Well, they don't do much that's original, but the respond to market demand and make things of reasonable quality. They're one of the only third-party brands of random lithium-ion battery-containing accessories that I trust not to randomly burn my house down.


Not to mention google. My nexus 6p charger broke, I wanted to buy a new one. Turns out google doesn't sell usb-c chargers in my country anymore (they used to). Anker was pretty much the only decent other option for a usb-c fast charger that was up to spec.


This completely failed to work. It charged up OK, but when connected to a cellphone or touchpad, it charged them for no more than a minute before switching off. Repeated attempts failed. I had an Anker charger before and that worked OK.


Anker's battery charging docks are why I'm still using a Note 3.

I know it seems silly, but it is amazing to be able to just swap batteries whenever I get low. I never have to leave my phone somewhere plugged in and charging.


I tried to order an Anker power bank through Amazon but they don't ship to Sweden. When I found a local e-shop the prices was almost twice as high. I assume they don't want the Swedish market.


I order my Anker stuff straight from China. On second thought, IIRC the Anker charger I bought from AliExpress was delivered from a warehouse in Estonia, so there wasn't even the typical wait involved.


"From there, Anker ventured into smartphone batteries…"

"Yang says he and Anker’s small team “definitely saw the explosion of smart devices”…"

This quote made me smile in light of recent issues with exploding batteries.


The customer service on Anker products is why I keep buying Anker products. These are smart people who realise that spending money on creating trust pays off. They also happen to make solid products.


Why do I but Anker over alternative? Reliability and predictability. I could save some money on a knockoff, but why suffer uncertainty for little in the way of price reward? Just not worth it, to me.


After getting maybe a dozen cables and a few battery packs from Anker, I bought a bluetooth speaker. It looks like the Soundlink Mini from Bose, but it was a fraction of the cost. However, when playing base heavy songs at very low volume (which I had to late at night due to house sharing), it would sound distorted. I didn't mind too much, but in the end I emailed them about the problem.

Two or three days later, I had a replacement unit in the mail. When asked how I was supposed to return the faulty unit... I was told to keep it. So now I have two units, both work perfectly fine in most situations and I'm one happy customer. Like below - I was never told to update a review or buy more stuff.

Highly recommend Anker.


How much did Anker have to pay to have this full page ad on The Verge?


Nilay Patel, who's the editor in chief at The Verge, in the comments:

I asked Nick to go write this piece myself, after realizing all my nerd friends all carried around Anker battery packs and charging blocks. "Where did this company come from?" is a pretty good tech story pitch, you know?


Where's the balance? I mean, TheVerge is a tech blog. When does writing about tech cross the line into advertising the tech?


What bothers me is that there's no way to know whether it's a paid advertisement, or a legitimate piece. This thing reads like astroturfing to me.


HN posters never seem to believe anything is genuine unless it's negative ;(


Not sure that Apple really competes in the low-end accessory "game" - I don't think they see it as worth their time/brand value to offer cheap dongles at low margins.


They mention their portable batteries at airports. Is that allowed? I thought I heard spare lithium ion batteries were banned from planes, both checked and carryon.


I think that only applies to cells with exposed contacts. You could say that "Power banks" aren't technically batteries - they're phone chargers that have built-in batteries, so they're more akin to a phone or tablet with a built-in battery from a safety point of view, with all the same physical and electrical protections against short-circuits.


You shouldn't check batteries but it's fine to carry them. They're as safe as they are in your laptop.


I bought an Anker laptop battery four years ago. It still works great. I don't remember any other non OEM laptop battery lasting that long.


Very true. I prefer anker over oem parts. Part of that is because of fakes from those brands and anker can actually be contacted.


I just ordered another item from Anker last night! I have tablet/phone stands and several usb connector types. I love them.


The Anker USB-ethernet adapter worked when the Apple one didn't work on both an Apple and a Windows computer...


I bought a battery pack that could jump my car let alone charge my phone. I didn't expect much but was impressed with it from the start. Everything was quality made. (My truck doesn't start easily in cold temperatures) Right after I got it I happened by someone on the street in -30 temperatures that ran down their battery. Anker's battery jumped it in less then 10 seconds and the battery was at half charge.


I've had apple chargers due. I've yet to have Anker chargers die. Anecdotal, for sure, but... ;-)


Anker products are of great quality and the great service is their competitive edge


All of our chargers and cables at the office are Anker, so far pretty happy with them.


This looks useful. I'll have to keep an eye on this.


Too bad I've never heard of them.


I'm a security conscious buyer. I haven't bought Anker so far because they do not have GS, TÜV, CCC or UL certificates.


I've got nothing but praise for their battery packs.

EDIT: Previously linked to AUKEY cables that were defective, not ANKER. Sorry about that. Benson has only reviewed two ANKER USB-C cables, and both followed the spec, as far as I can tell:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/review/R26RCODZS6VUEF?ref_=glimp_1...

https://www.amazon.com/gp/review/R3DGG0QBAYCT1N?ref_=glimp_1...


Do you have a source for Anker and Aukey being the same company?


They aren't, but Anker seems to be the OEM for some Aukey and Ravpower products.

And yes, I mean Anker as the OEM, not sharing Anker's OEMs (because they build stuff like how Apple uses Foxconn (and like literally every single electronics manufacturer does)).

Aukey and Ravpower always seem to be a generation behind, but keep up with Anker quality. So either I'm correct, or what is actually happening is still very similar.


Those are all reviews for Aukey products, not Anker. Is Aukey another brand Anker sells under?


You know Samsung made it when it's mentioned with Apple in the same sentence as a part of a click bait. Still, Apple is mentioned like 12 times while Samsung only twice...

I do own more than a few Anker products and am happy with them.


> You know Samsung made it when it's mentioned with Apple in the same sentence as a part of a click bait

That scrappy, eighty-year-old company has certainly made it.


I think they made it when members of the Samsung family got pooched when the whole Presidential cult thing came to light.

You know you're somebody when you're basically the mafia running a country.


Apple will finally have makde it when they get mentioned alongside Samsung in an article about Samsung washers, or apparel, or semiconductors, or cargo ships, or telecom equipment.




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