Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: PowerGen White Dual USB 4.2A (20W) Car charger Designed for Apple and Android Devices
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on November 24, 2012
I got two samples of this product, one black, one white, a few months ago and finally got around to testing them. USB chargers are a difficult product category because the USB spec was never designed for the current/amps (and thus wattage) that today's products require. In a desire to not damage computers, most high current/amp devices have special chargers that have the signal wires configured in a special way. That way, when the device connects to their charger, they'll know they can draw all the current they want. When they don't see the signal cables properly configured, they only draw what the USB spec allows, thus preventing them from damaging that charger (or computer).

It's a fine solution to a tough problem, but unfortunately some of these signal wire configurations are directly contradictory to each other, (specifically Apple vs everyone else) leaving 3rd party chargers in a bind. They can't support all devices easily, even though they all use the same plug. The result is that lots of chargers don't charge lots of devices at full potential.

To learn more about the particulars of this, see my previous review of the 10 watt PowerGen charger here:
http://www.amazon.com/review/R1BSQFGYMS2DCH/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

The PowerGen line has solved this problem by having each of their ports configured differently. This was true on the older 10 watt and remains true for this newer edition. The result is if you use the correct port, this device will work with more devices than any charger I know of. If you've got just about any Apple device you're covered. It'll cover almost all Android phones and many of the tablets, but some of the special tablets, it won't.

As yet another bonus, this edition improves on the older 10 watt version with a more visible and appropriate labeling... "A" for Apple products and "NA" for non-Apple products. On the previous 10 watt version it wasn't very obvious and was somewhat misleading being "2A" and "A".

The other area where the new charger excels, and brings itself up with the best in the market, is the mechanical design of the product, particularly on the part that plugs into the 12V adapter in the car. The older 10 watt product was a bit slippery and over time the vibration of being in a car would make it back out and lose its connection. This one is a better design and I've left it in my truck for months now without issue.

Back to device compatibility, based on my testing, their specs of what it'll work with are accurate. It charged both my Android phones as "AC" devices and my iPod touch and classic. It also does NOT work with my HP Touchpad, which is specifically mentioned in the specs.

It would be nice if it would work with the oddballs in addition to the mainstream, but seeing how it does better than any other device I know, and I've tested 6 now, it gets strong marks from me here.

(NOTE: the rest of the review was updated on 4/13/13, based on testing a new device from Anker that exposed some weaknesses in my test bench. As a result, I went back and re-tested this product):

This product has yet another impressive feature. All of the other products I have previously tested bridge the power between their ports, including the older 10 watt PowerGen unit. However, this unit has independent power for both rails. (for the techies out there: I tested this with resistive loads, and the voltage would only drop on the rails I heavily loaded and have no affect on the other rail's voltage or abilty to generate current.)

This is good, because one device won't affect the other. If you're charging your high-power phone and then you plug in your tablet, the phone's charging will be uninterrupted and not be slowed. That's very nice and something the other products won't provide.

In addition, there is some sort of load balancing going on between the ports. I can push either port to 2.2 amps and stay well within the USB spec'ed voltage value (greater than 4.75 volts). When I then tried drawing that much current from both ports, it went into it's auto-protection mode (that's a good thing, as it prevents the device from being damaged, as 4.4 amps/21 watts is beyond its capabilities) and the status LED started blinking to indicate this.

I then tried multiple combinations to see how much I could draw without going into auto-protection and I found as long as I kept it below 3.2 amps combined (over 16 watts) it would keep running like a champ. So, based on my latest testing this device can power just about any tablet in one port and just about any phone in the other, with one caveat: They can't be both from the same OS. You can have an Android phone and an iPad or you can have an iPhone and a Android tablet like the Samsung Galaxy, but you can't have an iPhone and and iPad because you can't configure both ports to support the same set of devices.

Nevertheless, until somebody creates a dual port device where both ports are configurable for Apple or Android, this is the best car charger on the market right now and gets 5 stars.
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We own a ton of electronic devices and since they are all portable they go with us in our vehicles. Toss in a couple of grandkids and add in their equipment and then you have a lot of electronic devices being used on long trips that need to be charged. You might also be limited to the number of car power sockets that are available in your vehicle. Most USB car chargers have one port and they are limited to 1 Amp or 2 Amps output. This big brother of all chargers has two USB ports and can handle 15 watts of DC power or 3.1 Amps of total charging power. That means I can charge my iPad 3 and my iPhone simultaneously without any issues and at full speed.

This is a good car charger that features two USB charging ports that can be used at the same time. One USB port is designed for Apple products and it is labeled with an A. The NA port can charge your iPhone and any other compatible USB device. My iPad 2 and my iPad 3 could only charge in the A port. Both outputs are rated at 3.1 Amps but the total current out of both ports combined while in use at the same time is 3.1 Amps

The unit comes with no cables but since it is touted as a universal charger and there are so many different types of charger cables I cannot fault them for not supplying one. Many chargers with cables are over $20 to $25 and the cables may only fit one family of devices.

Pros
* Dual port
* Charge an iPhone in either port
* Can charge the iPad 2 or 3 in the Apple A port at 2 amps even if you are charging your iPhone at the same time
* Both ports charge up to 3.1 Amps if only one port is being used
* Nice red LED light around USB ports so you can see it in the dark, know it is in a live car charging port and you can see the USB plug location.
* Max 15 watts of charging output which will charge two iPhones at the same time quickly.
* Self-monitoring circuitry protects for over-heating, over-current and over-charging protection.
* Provides fast charging of an iPhone 4 using which is very useful if you are in a hurry.
* Features four spring loaded retention balls to securely hold the charger into the car DC power plug

Cons
* Charger body is longer than many plugs, it can be easy to bump but it is nicely designed and functional.

Products I tested it with:
* Apple iPhone 4 works in both ports
* iPad 2 worked in the Apple port only
* iPad 3 worked in the Apple port only
* Kindle File worked in both ports
* Kindle Keyboard worked in both ports
* HP TouchPad did not work in either port as the specifications state.
* It is also not compatible with the Asus Transformer or the Motorola Xoom

This is a good product and the price is good also. It provides excellent performance and it worked well in all of my testing. I highly recommend it to you.

I was provided an evaluation unit for testing and agreed to provide a fair and honest review.
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I tested PowerGen Dual Port USB Car Charger with Nexus 7 Tablet, Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet, and Samsung Galaxy Nexus cell phone, and SanDisk Sansa Clip+ player. My original test for Nexus devices was using Jelly Bean 4.1, I repeated the tests for Jelly Bean 4.21 and saw a significant difference. I updated this review to show the differences between two releases.
I received PowerGen car charger for testing from the manufacturer to write an honest and unbiased review and you will find both pluses and minuses of my experience in this review.

I am attaching a collage of 3 photos labeled with numbers 1 through 3 under customer photos that I will be referencing in this review.

The first thing I noticed that this car charger is fairly short (3 inches in length, 1 inch by 1 2/8 in width). Photos #1 shows this plug plugged in.

The plug has two ports labeled "A" and "NA" which stands for Apple and Non-Apple devices. I own all Android devices but I tested both ports to see their behavior with my devices. The charger comes without a USB cord, so tested it with the USB cords that came with my devices.

I used Battery App to determine how each device recognized the external battery pack. 'AC' status means the charging is at full charging rate. 'USB' status indicates charging at a lower charging rate. 'Discharging' status means that the charging rate is below the power that the device is consuming so it slows down the discharge rate but does not re-charge.

The key findings:
(1) Samsung Galaxy 7.7 cannot be charged with this car charger with either port
(2) "A" port provides reduced power for some non-Apple devices and does not work for others
*** Update 1/11/2013 ***
I repeated the test with Nexus 7 running Jelly Bean 4.21 and both ports are now charging it at AC rate. The original test which showed poor performance on Apple port was Nexus 7 running Jelly Bean 4.1.
I also retested Galaxy Nexus Phone running CyanogenMod 10.1 version of Jelly Bean 4.21, both ports also show charging at AC rate.

The table below summarizes my findings:

Nexus 7 Tablet
--------------
A port -- discharging (Jelly Bean 4.1)
A port -- AC (Jelly Bean 4.21)
NA port -- AC

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Phone
--------------------------
A port -- USB (Jelly Bean 4.1)
A port -- AC (Jelly Bean 4.21)
NA port -- AC

Samsung Galaxy Tablet 7.7 (photo #2 and $3 show Galaxy tablet is running battery app and showing "discharging" on both port)
--------------------------
A port -- discharging
NA port -- discharging

SanDisk Sansa Clip+ MP3 Player
------------------------------
A port -- charged at USB rate
NA port -- charged at AC rate

The behavior with Nexus devices was consistent and good on "NA" port. After upgrade to Jelly Bean 4.21 both Nexus devices are charging at AC rate on the Apple port.

Samsung Galaxy Tablet 7.7 did not work (was discharging) in both ports.

The MP3 player worked in both ports, but as USB rate in "A" port and at "AC" rate in in "NA" port. When I charge Sansa MP3 with a standard AC charger (photo #3), the MP3 player goes into charging mode, displaying the charging animated icon, the MP3 content is not played. When MP3 was plugged into the PowerGen plug (photo #3) it continued to play the content. I listen to books on my MP3 player so this caused me to move forward in my book and I had to manually reset my position by a few chapters to get back to where I was when I started charging. The positive side of this, is that is possible to continue listening while MP3 is recharging.

To summarize:

I liked:
---------
1. Good behavior with Nexus devices.
2. Solution for MP3 player with built-in battery
3. Can charge two devices (but one at a reduced rate for non-Apple devices)

I did not like:
--------------
1. Did not work with for my Samsung Galaxy tablet
2. (Not applicable after upgrade to Jelly Bean 4.21) For non-Apple devices one port has less power or does not work
3. (Not applicable after upgrade to Jelly Bean 4.21) For non-Apple devices the less useful plug takes up a little extra room

Overall, after upgrade to Jelly Bean 4.21 this plug has an excellent performance on both ports for Android devices.

Ali Julia review
review image
3030 comments| 378 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I've had the opportunity to test several PowerGen products recently and this PowerGen Dual USB Car Charger follows in the tradition of the other products I've tested. It is well-built, performs well and provides a lot of value for the price particularly when compared to competing products.

This is a dual-port USB car charger. It will power and/or charge most, but not all USB powered devices such as smartphones, GPS units, tablet devices, MP3 players, etc. It is 4.2A which is quite a bit more than most standard AC or car chargers that normally would provide either 1A or 2.1A charging. Another nice touch with this charger is the LED light placed between the two USB ports that indicates power is reaching the unit. This lets you know that the charger is securely in the power outlet and receiving power.

What is somewhat unique with the PowerGen car charger is that it has a USB port (clearly labeled "A") that is specific to Apple products to ensure optimum performance to those Apple devices. The other port is clearly labeled "NA", or non-Apple, and is to be used for most other devices. You're able to charge two devices at the same time and Apple devices can be charged in the "NA" port, they just may charge more slowly.

I was able to use the PowerGen as a power source for my Garmin and TomTom GPS units in my cars. So not only did it charge the internal batteries in those GPS devices, but it continued to power them just as if I were plugging the GPS into the power port of my car, with no USB car charger interface. I've also used this to charge my Kindle, iPhones, and bluetooth speakers, iPad, Samsung Camcorder and a couple different digital cameras that allow in-camera battery charging via USB.

The PowerGen is very solid in construction and incorporates an LED between the two USB ports to give an indication that power is reaching the charger. What is also reassuring is that the circuity has charging protection built-in and will stop charging when the device has been fully charged. I've had other USB car chargers and the PowerGen seems to be of higher quality than any of the others.

I was provided a sample for review.
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on January 17, 2013
Excellent charger. Helps us charge both me and my wife's iPhone at the same time. Nice design and good material. Also fits very snug into your car adapter and wont come off if you accidentally hit it.

UPDATE: It stopped working after about 3 weeks. Fuse was still intact, but charger smelled like smoke.
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on March 18, 2013
It failed when I needed it most - on a trip out of town and no other way to charge my iPhone. It literally melted - I tried later to change the fuse in the unit but it still does not work. I will not buy another.
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on August 17, 2012
After reading many reviews I finally purchased this PowerGen 3A car charger and a PowerGen 2A charger http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0073FCPSK/ for use at home.

It is quite difficult to find a non-OEM charger for home or car that will charge a smartphone at a fast speed (AC rate) as many chargers are designed to meet the charging specs for Apple devices despite claims to be compatible with Android smartphones. Apple uses a configuration that is completely different/non-compliant (not a shock considering its Apple) from the USB standards used by nearly all other manufacturers for identifying a source as AC (1A+) vs USB (500mA) to signal the device that a higher amperage charging rate is available.

I tried several locally available chargers including a couple of different Griffin chargers that were advertised as 2A smartphone and tablet compatible. All delivered a USB rate (500mA) charge according to the battery monitoring app on my phone.

Both of these PowerGen products provide an Apple and non-apple charging port. Unlike many other products, however, the NA charging port on both this car charger and the home charger in the link above provide true AC rather than USB charging rates for smartphones as the manufacturer has chosen to abide by the USB specs. The two middle data pins are "shorted" together on the NA port so that it is identified by the phone as being capable of supporting more than the 500mA draw that would be available from a computer's USB port. I can't speak to if the Apple port works correctly with Apple devices as I don't own any, but the A port is certainly capable of charging a "dumb" cell phone at the same time an Android device is charging.

For anyone who has a charger already that seems slow, check your charging rate to see if it says USB or AC in the System settings on your Android device. If it reports USB, you can make a charging cable by cutting into a micro USB cable and clipping the white and green data lines. Twist and solder the white and green wires together on the side leading to the mini USB plug but do not connect the two on the side leading to the full sized USB plug.

Amazon sells a charging cable http://www.amazon.com/Naztech-Micro-USB-Charging-Cable/dp/B003VYBCAY/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=20C2BFV6B1WUU&coliid=I23ZHJ3HLNQAQE if you don't feel up do making one yourself.
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We own a ton of electronic devices and since they are all portable they go with us in our vehicles. Toss in a couple of grandkids and add in their equipment and then you have a lot of electronic devices being used on long trips that need to be charged. You might also be limited to the number of car power sockets that are available in your vehicle. Most USB car chargers have one port and they are limited to 1 Amp or 2 Amps output. This big brother of all chargers has two USB ports and can handle 15 watts of DC power or 3.1 Amps of total charging power. That means I can charge my iPad 3 and my iPhone simultaneously without any issues and at full speed.
This is a good car charger that features two USB charging ports that can be used at the same time. One USB port is designed for Apple products and it is labeled with an A. The NA port can charge your iPhone and any other compatible USB device. My iPad 2 and my iPad 3 could only charge in the A port. Both outputs are rated at 3.1 Amps but the total current out of both ports combined while in use at the same time is 3.1 Amps

The unit comes with no cables but since it is touted as a universal charger and there are so many different types of charger cables I cannot fault them for not supplying one. Many chargers with cables are over $20 to $25 and the cables may only fit one family of devices.

Pros
* Dual port
* Charge an iPhone in either port
* Can charge the iPad 2 or 3 in the Apple A port at 2 amps even if you are charging your iPhone at the same time
* Both ports charge up to 3.1 Amps if only one port is being used
* Nice red LED light around USB ports so you can see it in the dark, know it is in a live car charging port and you can see the USB plug location.
* Max 15 watts of charging output which will charge two iPhones at the same time quickly.
* Self-monitoring circuitry protects for over-heating, over-current and over-charging protection.
* Provides fast charging of an iPhone 4 using which is very useful if you are in a hurry.
* Features four spring loaded retention balls to securely hold the charger into the car DC power plug

Cons
* Charger body is longer than many plugs, it can be easy to bump but it is nicely designed and functional.

Products I tested it with:
* Apple iPhone 4 works in both ports
* iPad 2 worked in the Apple port only
* iPad 3 worked in the Apple port only
* Kindle File worked in both ports
* Kindle Keyboard worked in both ports
* HP TouchPad did not work in either port as the specifications state.
* It is also not compatible with the Asus Transformer or the Motorola Xoom

This is a good product and the price is good also. It provides excellent performance and it worked well in all of my testing. I highly recommend it as a good product.

I was provided an evaluation unit for testing and agreed to provide a fair and honest review.
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on October 4, 2012
**********************

I just bought the iPhone5 and wanted to be able to charge it on the go in my vehicle. This works great. It holds securely in the 12V rounded plug in my vehicle. It does not wobble once in. It does not stick out too far, only extends to the end of the flip cover over the plug, not beyond it. It has a little red light to indicate connection. Actually you can see a bit of red glowing from the two USB ports in lower light. The USB ports are clearly marked for Apple "A" and non-Apple "NA". I connected the lightning to USB cable to my phone and this charger and my phone immediately sprang to life to indicate it was charging. It seemed to charge rather fast too, compared to the charger I use in the house. Great little charger and seems well made.

2/18/13 Update - I have been using for over 4 months now and it is a fantastic charger. I can leave it in my vehicle even in sub-freezing weather. It works perfectly as soon as I plug it into the socket.

4/28/13 update - looks like my photos have been removed. Not sure what that is all about. Looks like a different amazon product pic than what was on here before so don't know if they removed photos in the process. Hmmm.
review image review image review image review image
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on August 13, 2013
This is the first time i giving such a bad review to someone. I had a very bad experience with product. And it is not because one of the pieces could be faulty but more because the quality is poor.

I used this device in my car to charge my samsung galaxy s2 phone. When i plugged in this device and connected my phone, there was a spark and smoke in the car while i was driving. I had to emergency stop my car. On a freeway this was pretty dangerous.

Now my phone's charging point is totally melted and i cannot charge it. I had to buy a new phone just because i used this product.

As a buyer of this product it is my responsibility to share my experience and warn people who are buying this. Due to cheap price you may get tempted to buy this but honestly when things go bad due to negligence you may have to pay much bigger price.

I strongly recommend NOT TO BUY this product.

I contacted the seller of this product and service was as cheap as their product. They are giving an explanation that my phone is faulty which i am using for 1 -1/2 years.

This seller needs to be taught a lesson. Horrible Horrible experience. Highly disappointed... :X :X
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