iPad charger Stories February 26, 2015

Mini review: Lightning Rabbit Triforce USB charger – cute & fast

It seems pretty much every gadget in the world these days–from phones to bicycle lights–is charged via USB, so you can never have too many USB charging points in your home.

The Lightning Rabbit Triforce is a simple device with two goals: to charge your devices quickly, and to look cute (if quirky) while doing so.

At the rear, there’s just a figure-of-8 power socket (with a supplied power cable). At the front, there are four USB sockets, all of them delivering the same 2.4A power as an Apple iPad charger, ensuring that devices are charged as quickly as possible.

For lower-powered devices, there is no harm in having the extra power available–power draw is determined by the device itself, the charger just delivering whatever is requested.

I’ve been using it to charge a variety of gadgets over the past week or so, all of them charging as quickly as with their supplied chargers but with a lot less clutter and a far prettier box. At its official price of $60, you’re paying a pretty steep premium for that cute design, but it’s worth bearing in mind that most multi-port USB chargers give you one 2.4A port at most.

At the Amazon price of $47.79, it’s still not cheap, but if you have more than one power-hungry device, and share my love of the design, you may well find it worth the outlay. If wood is more your thing, check out the Truffol Station 5 charger instead.

The White Lightning Triforce 48W 4-port USB charger is available from the company’s Amazon store for $47.79.

iPad charger Stories December 15, 2014

Review: RAVPower Dual-Port, 4-Port + 6-Port USB Wall Chargers deliver fast, quality power at crazy low prices

USB wall chargers are commodities, churned out by anonymous factories and sold for low prices everywhere around the world. But chargers that are both safe and fast enough to use with Apple’s products are less common, particularly when they are capable of charging more than one device at a time. RAVPower’s Dual 2.4A USB Wall Charger ($50, currently $13), Bolt 4-Port Desktop USB Charger ($70, currently $17), and Bolt 6-Port Desktop USB Charger ($70, currently $27) have such low street prices that they seem too good to be true. But they’re all great chargers, and worked well with the large collections of iPhones and iPads we tested.

iPad charger Stories May 13, 2014

Teardown reveals the risks of counterfeit iPad chargers

A teardown by an engineer investigating the differences between genuine and counterfeit iPad chargers found that despite looking almost identical externally, there were big differences internally, impacting on both power delivery and safety.

One safety difference is obvious: the Apple charger has much more insulation. The upper (high-voltage) half is wrapped in yellow insulating tape. Some components are encased in shrink tubing, there are plastic insulators between some components, and some wires have extra insulation. The counterfeit charger only has minimal insulation.

While the genuine charger delivered slightly above the 10W claimed, the counterfeit delivered only 5.9W, meaning it would take almost twice as long to charge. The fake charger power delivery was also found by engineer Ken Shirriff to be “noisy and low quality.”

But it’s the safety side that provides the greatest argument for sticking to the real deal. For example, safety regulations require a gap of at least 4mm between high- and low-voltage sides of any transformer. The genuine Apple charger comfortably exceeds this with a 5.6mm gap, while the fake charger gap was just 0.6mm.

The Apple charger also uses triple-insulated wire, while the fake one is uninsulated but for a thin varnish coating.

The full teardown is worth a read if you want chapter and verse, but the tl;dr version is that cheap chargers are cheap for a reason.

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