Top positive review
590 people found this helpful
Best product on the market
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:
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.