Living on the Road

Four-Port USB Charging Station


Replaces multiple USB chargers for travel

While I rarely use USB for data transfers these days, almost all my portable devices use USB cables recharging. Now that I travel with my iPad instead of a laptop I needed an army of chargers to carry with me. Even if they all used the same connector, I wanted to wake up with all devices charged, meaning multiple chargers. I replaced the multiple transformer bricks with a $40 Antec USB charging station.

The USB charger provides 4 ports for simultaneous charging. Two ports can provide up to 2 amps, and two ports up to 1 amp. The 2 amps can fast charge devices that support it. I use them with an iPad 3 and an iPhone 5. The two 1 amp ports I use for other devices like my bluetooth headset and bluetooth keyboard. With devices charging on all 4 ports it barely warms up. The long (tranformerless) power cable can plug into power outlets hidden behind hotel TVs, desks or beds.

You can find cheaper USB chargers but you have to read carefully to ensure the power output meets your requirements. I found many of the cheaper ones would provide “2 amps of output power” in total. Meaning with one device plugged it the full 2 amps were available, but plug in one more and it would drop in half. Add a third and frequently iPads would no longer charge.

-- Kevin van Haaren 11/18/13

(Above: a video review of the charger. - Mark Frauenfelder — editors)