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[How To]: Use Those New Portable Chargers
Rentable portable charger. They've suddenly exploded around town. Here's where to find them, and how they work.
By Jun 13, 2017 Tech
Have you ever found yourself muttering excuses to the table so you can check your phone behind the bar where you've left it to charge? Have you ever found your day ruined by an almost pathological urge to get back to your designated USB cable because you're at 7% charge? Presenting ANKERBOX, which could indeed be attached to a stout rope and used to moor a rowboat, but mainly lets you charge your phone whenever and wherever you want without having to beg the bartender for the charger. Basically, it's a rentable portable charger. They've suddenly exploded around town. Here's where to find them, and how they work.

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So maybe you've seen this futuristic-looking thing on bars and counters around the city;



It's not a server farm, nor the world's beefiest external hard drive, it's a sextet of portable chargers for your phone. For a nifty 100rmb deposit, you can get your very own to take with you to your table. Or anywhere, actually. Yup. You can just walk out with that thing and they won't even stop you. All you need is Alipay or WeChat Wallet. (Note: we tried both iPhone and Android, but since they're largely the same process, we're showing the Android version here.)

Step 1: Scan The Appropriate QR Code





Right, Alipay. Left, WeChat Wallet.

Step 2: Follow the Official Account





Step 3: Hit RENT





... or hit the option in the bottom left corner and select the option marked "借充电宝."

Step 4: Select Android or iPhone



At this stage, our quest for a portable charging diverges a tiny bit depending on which phone you have; basically, your iPhone won't let you select Android. Makes sense.



Step 5: Make Your Payment





Step 6: Retrieve your assigned ANKER charging thingy





And there you go. Enjoy your charging thingy at your table. They look pretty stylish, there's even a difference in the colour depending on whether yours is an iPhone or Android charger;





Note that means that each charger is only useable with one type of phone. It's why you have to select which version you're using back there at Step 4.

So how it is? Yeah, it's all right. It works. We charged it for about half an hour on both Android and iPhone and it charged a good solid 25% or so each. That's pretty good.

How Do I Return the Charger?



Easy:

Step 7: Go Back To The Official Account And Hit RETURN





... or hit the option in the bottom left corner and select the option marked "借充电宝."

Step 8: Scan the QR Code Again



You have to hit the blue button at the bottom to get the scanning mode.



Step 9: Return the Charger to the Right Slot



Go home little charger, where you belong. You don't need to force it, by the way, it's like a CD disk tray, just a gentle push and it'll engage and get pulled in.



Step 10: Check Your Payment





... and hit that little button at the bottom;

Step 11: Get Your Money Back





Whatever amount you didn't spend on charging gets taken out of your wallet.

Where do I find these charging devices?



This is where this all starts getting a little crazy; they an entire miniprogram in there that'll tell you where the nearest charger box is, how to get there, how many chargers are currently available and even the operating hours of the venue. They've even got little short-cuts to scan to borrow or scan to return these things. Seriously, we could do a separate article just on this mini-program. It's got depth. It's got intrigue.




Now you'll never have to speak to a staff member at Perry's again.

So how much does it cost?



If it's less than half an hour, it's free. Any more than that, and it's 1 RMB per hour. It's 10rmb per day (yes, you could use these for a day if you wanted to).

All of this money is taken out of your initial 100rmb deposit, which means it's more like a downpayment. Also, and this part is important, they can never charge you more than 100rmb for that charger, no matter how long you take it for.

Wait, so I can just steal it?



Yup. Sure. Take it. 100rmb for a charger's kind of a lot, but it's nicely designed, it's got a little USB plug so you can charge with another cable (we didn't try using another cable to charge an iPhone with an android charger or vice-versa) and it's got a mini-USB slot so you can charge it like a regular portable charger.

But then you'd have to carry it around everywhere all the time, and if that's the case, what the hell did you need this thing for in the first place?

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