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Andru USB phone charger (review) review: Charming and useful for any Android fan

The Andru isn't just some vinyl Andy Android figurine, it's also a useful USB phone charger.

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Lynn La
Lynn_La2.jpg

Lynn La

Senior Editor / Reviews - Phones

Lynn La covers mobile reviews and news. She previously wrote for The Sacramento Bee, Macworld and The Global Post.

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3 min read

As I mentioned in my review of the Boombotix Boombot 2, vinyl toy figurines aren't my thing unless they can provide a function. And sometimes, even one function can be enough.

Andru USB Phone Charger
8.0

Andru USB phone charger (review)

The Good

The <b>Andru USB charger</b> is painfully cute and has a solid, premium construction.

The Bad

Andru takes up a lot of room on multiple-outlet power strips and it's pricey compared with third-party chargers.

The Bottom Line

If you can get past its $25 price tag, Andru perfectly combines form and function in the ideal phone charger for an Android lover.

Let's just get one thing clear: the Andru USB charger is basically a $25 phone charger from Gen. You know, that thing that essentially comes free with your phone. It's a steep price to pay for a monofunctional device, but you'll undoubtedly be using it every day. Plus, what can I say? It's as cute as hell.

Design
The Andru comes in three different colors: green, black (also known as Andru Dark), and white (called Andru Chill). When plugged in, its eyes light up, and can change color. For the original Andru, the eyes will glow blue when it's charging and white if it's on standby.

The device stands 2.5 inches tall and weighs about 1.28 ounces. It's extremely lightweight and portable, so if you plan on bringing this charger on a trip, it can easily be stowed away in a small bag or luggage.

Andru
The Andru in its fully assembled glory. James Miller/CNET

Up top is the USB port, which is flanked by two antennas. Because they're flexible and soft, you don't have to worry about them breaking off when you plug in or pull out a USB cable. However, that doesn't mean it'll live up to heavy abuse -- I can easily see how these antennas may eventually come off given enough wear and tear.

On its sides are two posable arms that rotate around for absolutely no reason but to be adorable. At the bottom are two outlet prongs. When not in use, you can insert the Andru into its stand so it can stand up by itself for maximum desk exposure and basic showing-off 101.

In addition, it comes with a 4-foot-long Micro-USB cable. Because the Andru doesn't come with its own bag or case, there's no compact way to tote the charger and cable together. However, if it's inserted in its stand, you can plug the cable in and wrap the cord around the robot figure's legs.

In general, the Andru has a dense, solid construction that I really like. It's coated with a soft matte finish, lending a more premium feeling (though this coating does not bode well for the white Andru Chill since it'll trap dirt and marks more easily).

Because it has a stand for displaying itself, however, I do think it should come with a dummy plug to cover the USB port up top. If you're going to use the Andru for charging you obviously wouldn't need it. But if it has a stand for display or storage purposes, shouldn't it also then come with a cover?

Performance
The Andru's output is 1,000mAh, putting it on par with the chargers that phone manufacturers include with their handsets. I tried charging a fully drained Samsung Galaxy Express, which has a 2,000mAh battery. In slightly under an hour, the device was completely charged.

Andru eyes
Andru's eyes glow when it's on standby and a different color when it's charging. James Martin/CNET

The Andru plugs firmly into an outlet, and I didn't feel any sort of give when I wiggled it around as it was plugged in. Keep in mind, however, that due to its shape, it will take up more space than the average phone charger.

This isn't much of a bother if you plan on using the Andru in a single wall outlet, but if you have a surge protector or power strip that has multiple outlets, depending on the layout, expect the Andru and its tiny little robot arms to block access to the outlets near it.

Conclusion
Of all the vinyl renditions I see of the Android mascot, the Andru is by far my favorite. On aesthetics alone, it doesn't feel like a cheap plastic toy, but a solid, well-constructed figurine.

But as an added bonus, the Andru is useful, too. It performs just as well as the stock charger that's included with your handset and its glowing eyes let you know it's working. At $25, it is indeed priced high for a phone charger, but if you're a die-hard Android lover, this surge is worth the splurge.

Andru USB Phone Charger
8.0

Andru USB phone charger (review)

Score Breakdown

Design 8Performance 8
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