Anker Baby

This hotel room seems to have a Destructo Field Emitter in it somewhere. I’ve had to replace of fix a bunch of my stuff since checking in.

Though maybe my Anker PowerPort 5 USB charger was broken before I left. A couple of its ports stopped working. I’d been skipping around the problem by just treating it like a 3-port charger, but it’s hard to figure out which are the dead ones until you find yourself with a dead phone and watch the next morning.

I did a search for the problem. It turns out that early copies of this thing would have a fit if you used a cheap cable with it and it shoved electrons through the port in an un-ladylike fashion. Anker (supposedly) fixed it with revised hardware.

I could have sent it back, I suppose. But I was looking on their site and found a newer version that has six ports, and is rated at 60 watts instead of 40. And (like all Anker products, it seems) it’s agreeably affordable. Instead, I ordered the upgraded one and had it shipped to my hotel.

It seems to be conducting electricity, which is really all I could ask it to do. I like this sort of device a lot. It travels well and this single thing charges damned-near everything I need during a trip. When it’s not in my suitcase, it’s usually on a sideboard in my house, acting as the central charging station for lost sheep.

True, the first one did crap out on me. I chose to keep trusting Anker because so many of their products have worked so well. As both a consumer and someone who recommends things to consumers, I also like their “produce inexpensive tech that doesn’t look and feel like junk” business plan. It doesn’t seem normal for me reward a defective product by buying more of the same, but human beings are unpredictable.

It got me to thinking: would you rather buy from a company whose products break less frequently than the average firm’s, but their support and customer service is not as good as the average…or a company that has those two things reversed?

As Mac users, we have the best of both worlds. But imagine one laptop maker whose PCs were as well-built as Apple’s, but the customer service was like a typical Windows PC maker. Imagine another maker that builds typical Windows laptops, but their service is as good as Apple’s. Who would you buy from?

Assuming the company with the better service is still making decent hardware…I go for the better service. One terrible customer service experience will put me off a company forever. But a bad experience with a piece of hardware? I’m inclined to chalk that up to life here in Paradise and be grateful that the service person diagnosed and fixed it quickly.

Apple Store Line

I was at an Apple Store early this morning to pick up a purchase. There was a huge line of people there waiting either for Genius Bar appointments that they’d already booked, or carrying dead hardware and hoping for a walk-in slot.

The sight initially made me wonder if the iPad Pro was being released this morning and I just hadn’t heard about it.

It’s an interesting visual that might make uninformed people conclude that Apple makes fussy hardware that often needs fixing or adjusting. Instead, it’s a sign of how well they handle their customers. Everyone comes to this one place because they know it’ll all work out well in the end.

(Either they’ll fix your MacBook, or all of that perfect lighting and natural wood will hypnotize you into just buying a new one with bigger and better features. Hey, at least you walked out of there with a working MacBook. Action item completed!)

9 thoughts on “Anker Baby

  1. Michael

    I have had very good luck with the 40W 5-port Anker USB power supplies. The previous models had some issues that were resolved with the latest model.

    The price and 18 month warranty is excellent. I gave these as gifts last year and now need a new “must have” gift to give this year to keep my geek cred with friends and family.

  2. Chris

    I had / have the 40w 5 port and experienced the same issue. I called them and they sent me the updated one and told me to keep the old one, they didn’t need it sent back.

    I tend to think “Apple makes fussy hardware that often needs fixing or adjusting” is the more correct analysis. My son’s MacBook Pro (required by the school he attends) developed a loose ram socket when it was just outside of the warranty period. I have owned plenty of “cheap” windows laptops and never had an issue with a loose ram socket. Within 90 days of getting the MacBook back from the repair depot (with at $250 repair bill) the wifi module died. Fast forward a couple of more months and the hard drive is dead…. I think the Apple stores are always packed with people with issues because Apple has some real reliability issues that they just ignore because they have such a high mark up.

  3. Robert

    I’ve had good experience with Anker ever since you recommended them. We’ve bought 3 of the chargers, a battery, cables, and I’m not sure what else. The products are well priced and I just like them. I’m glad you recommended them (and the blu-ray drive currently ripping Hunt for Red October sitting beside me). I’ve not had to deal with their customer service, but they seem to prowl Amazon looking for problems.

  4. Brandt

    I’ve bought a cable and two keyboards from Anker, all arrived beautifully packaged, and work excellently. Glad to know they have the Ihnatko seal of approval (patent pending). Would love to see them make an iPad Pro focused product.

  5. Rebecca

    I like Anker and had an excellent customer service experience with them as well. I don’t know if their 60 watt 6 port charger hadn’t come out yet when I found mine, or I just didn’t see it. But I ended up with one from a manufacturer is never heard of, Key. Several months later, it’s holding up well.

    It was also the first 12 amp smart charger I’d come across, sending whatever amps needed to all the ports. I always hated having to make sure the tablet wasn’t plugged into the phone port.

    I have to say, though, that if I continue to have no problems with this thing I will go to them in the future before Anker. Because as excellent as Anker’s service was, replacing my item quickly, my original product was defective and this one is not.

    So I guess the place I go to first is the one who I have no idea what their customer service is like because I’ve never needed to find out.

  6. RIck DeNatale

    I had an even stronger “what did I miss” experience last week when I visited an Apple Store in Charlotte NC last week, and all of the employees were clapping, just like they do when the first customers for a first day product enter the store.

    As it turns out, they were saying farewell to one of the managers who was moving to another nearby Apple Store.

  7. Ihnatko Post author

    Many products (USB batteries, chargers, cables, hubs) are commodities, aren’t they? You get used to the idea thta you’ll be buying them periodically. I’ll check out Key. I keep defaulting to Anker or Amazon Basics because I’m pretty comfortable with them by now.

  8. Ihnatko Post author

    That’s all you can really ask for. Does the company leave users to fend for themselves, or do they at least present the appearance of wanting to get ahead of potential problems?

  9. Ihnatko Post author

    I think it’s a stronger illustration of the limits of perfection. I’ll buy a 98% perfect product instead of a 70% perfect one, regardless of price. But the difference between Apple and many competitors (for certain products) is often 95% and 90%. When it’s that close, I can be swayed by a lower price. Sometimes you’re paying extra money for that legendary “terrific paint job on the side of the fence the customer never sees.”

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