USB Charger saves electrical outlets but not cables

GeekDad Review: Inateck 4-Port Compact USB Charger

Electronics Reviews
USB Charger saves electrical outlets but not cables
Inateck 4-Port Compact USB Charger (Apple iPhone recharger on the right gives an idea of relative size). Photo by Brad Moon

The bane of my existence is my kids’ constant battle over chargers for their portable devices. Who “stole” whose charger, who gets the available power outlets to plug in, who left their charger in another room… When we travel, the hassle is magnified, with fewer outlets and the need to lug around a bag of chargers. Inateck sent me a 4-port compact USB charger to try out that relieves at least some of this battery recharging grief.

This is a 30W USB charger capable of recharging up to four devices simultaneously. Two of the ports are 2.4A “Super Charger” versions and two are 1A universal ports. You supply your own USB cables with the correct connectors for your devices.

Inateck USB recharger
Image copyright Inateck

The Inateck charger has an attractive enough look (matte, white ABS plastic) with a blue LED power indicator. It’s a little on the large size (3.5 x 3.14 x 1.38-inches), but if it’s plugged into the bottom socket in a power outlet, you should still be able to plug a standard power cord into the top socket. The power plug flips out for easier carrying but does not rotate, so this needs to be the last device on a power bar or other sockets will be blocked.

It’s protected by a built-in surge protector, and, in my experience, did not get hot.

There is a cryptic note on the Amazon Product Description saying the fourth port can’t be used for an iPad (no reason why is given), but you’d want to use one of the Super Charger ports anyway. I did try an iPad Mini 2 on the other Universal port and recharging worked, but, with only 1A output, it was a fraction of the speed of Apple’s charger.

Using the Super Charger ports, the iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch we tested it with recharged at speeds comparable to the OEM Apple rechargers and maybe a little faster.

Note that while a multi-port charger means you don’t have the challenges of finding multiple electrical outlets and keeping track of multiple (and often physically incompatible chargers), you still need all those USB cables, so things can get a little tangled.

Should you buy it? There appear to be thousands of 4-port USB chargers on Amazon. The Inateck version works well enough and it’s currently just $13.99 on Amazon, putting it on the more affordable end of the spectrum. There’s no arguing the fact that it simplifies life when managing multiple portable electronic devices.

Disclosure: Inateck supplied a 4-Port Compact USB Charger for review purposes.

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