Posted on May 20, 2021
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Odds are, you probably have multiple gadgets that need recharging. Why not charge them all simultaneously with this nifty adapter from Anker? It pushes out 43.5 watts of power — that’s three times more than the brick that was likely included with your iPhone. We compared 40 different USB wall chargers to compile this list of the best third-party and multi-port offerings available right now. The very small USB port found on many non-Apple cellphones, tablets and other portable devices is a Micro USB socket. Considerably smaller than USB Type A and B, Micro USB is also half the thickness of Mini USB . Micro USB has been superseded by USB Type C on many new products.
The yellow output is wide, showing a lot of noise, combined with many large voltage spikes of about 1/3 volt. The Belkin charger eschews the minimal design styling of most chargers, with a roughly oval cross section, curves and ribs, and a cover over the USB port. The above photo shows a real iPhone charger and a counterfeit ; the two chargers are almost identical, down to the green dot. If you look closely, the genuine one says “Designed by Apple in California”, while the counterfeit has the puzzling text “Designed by California”. The counterfeit also removed the “Apple Japan” text below the plug. I’ve seen another counterfeit that says “Designed by Abble” . I assume the word “Apple” is removed for legal or trademark reasons, since the word “Apple” is often missing from counterfeits. The types of the counterfeit chargers are a mess, as they advertise one power level, actually supply a different power level, and have the charger type for a third level. For example, the counterfeit iPhone charger is advertised as supplying 1 amp, but has the 2A charger type, so an iPad will expect 2 amps but not obtain enough power. On the other hand, the counterfeit iPad charger claims to supply 2 amps, but really only supplies 1 amp and has a 1A type.
You might still find a USB Type-B port on some devices, but it’s becoming quite rare. Keep in mind, however, that the consequences can be worse than just slow charging. There are cases of people blowing up devices with the wrong type of cable, and other instances where one device may flatly refuse to work with another device’s USB-C cable for unknown reasons. The assumption, in this case, is that the device is refusing to connect through a given cable to protect itself. In the USB 1.0 and 2.0 specs, a standard downstream port is capable of delivering up to 500mA (0.5A); with USB 3.0, it moves up to 900mA (0.9A). The charging downstream and dedicated charging ports provide up to 1,500mA (1.5A). USB 3.1 bumps throughput to 10Gbps in what’s called SuperSpeed+ mode, bringing it roughly equivalent with first-generation Thunderbolt. It also supports a power draw of 1.5A and 3A over the 5V bus. There are now five — and soon to be six — USB specifications — USB 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, and USB4. The USB4 spec has been published but isn’t actually available in any shipping devices yet, so there are five USB standards for now.
The 120 Hz spike on the right is a bit lower than the iPhone charger, so the ripple filtering is a bit better. The plots also show the frequency spectrum in orange, from 0 at the left to 230 kHz at the right. The desired graph would have the orange spectrum near the bottom of the screen. Thus, the power quality exponentially gets worse as the orange line gets higher. The left spectrum generally shows noise at the switching frequency of the charger . The right spectrum typically shows spikes at multiples of 120 Hz, caused by ripple from the 60 Hz power. The iPad is a surprise, putting out less power than expected. Despite being nominally a 10 watt charger, the label says it provides 5.1V and 2.1A, which works out to 10.7 watts. However, the maximum power I measured is 10.1 watts (4.4 volts at 2.3 amps, as shown in the Power section below). Since the measured power is slightly less than advertised, it only gets four bolts.
To us it sounds like Neil deGrasse Tyson with a battery taped to his head, but apparently it helps the device to manage the power load that is placed on it by connected devices. By doing that it funnels power to exactly where it needs to be, making this something of a fast car charger. First up is the power on this model, with 4.8 amps and 10 volts spit between each port – that is an excellent level of power that will do a great job of charging up your electrical devices. It also packs the punch to charge iPads, which not all USB chargers do, so bear that in mind if you ever travel with tablet style devices. They are called “mobile” devices for a reason – you can take them wherever you want. Fortunately, we provide USB chargers, powerbanks and other portable chargers that can make sure your devices stay fully charged and powered up. Versatile USB chargers have one USB-C port rated 3A, and three USB-A ports rated 2.4A each. Also, chargers with multiple powers from two ports with different power levels prove to be a beneficial product for consumers.
I’ve heard about laptops such as the new Chromebooks that are charged via a wall charger that connects to a USB-C port. I’m quite happy that this will supposedly standardize laptop chargers but I’m a little unclear about how this works. The Xiaomi, ZTE Nubia and the Sony Xperia devices also use QC 4.0, but they aren’t sold in the US market. Huawei’s phones utilize Kirin 970/980/990 chips, which use its own Supercharge standard, but they are backward-compatible with the 18W USB PD standard. Similarly, Oppo’s phones have SuperVOOC, and OnePlus uses Warp Charge, and issue its compatible charger accessories if you want to take advantage of higher wattage (30W/40W/100W) charge rates. In 2019, Apple released an 18W USB-C Power Adapter, which comes with the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max.
A simple charger works by supplying a constant DC or pulsed DC power source to a battery being charged. A simple charger typically does not alter its output based on charging time or the charge on the battery. This simplicity means that a simple charger is inexpensive, but there are tradeoffs. Typically, a carefully designed simple charger takes longer to charge a battery because it is set to use a lower (i.e., safer) charging rate. Even so, many batteries left on a simple charger for too long will be weakened or destroyed due to over-charging. These chargers also vary in that they can supply either a constant voltage or a constant current, to the battery. The Lifepowr Car Charge-a-lot will charge your larger devices like your laptop in your car with a 60-watt USB-C port, or just top off your phone or tablet battery faster than old-style USB ports. This USB C car charger also has an older USB Type-A port and a second USB C port that reaches 18 watts — enough to give an iPad Pro a quick charge.
Charging power is quite strong with this port, offering 2.4A at every plug-in. On the other hand, you can definitely use your USB-C laptop charger to juice up your smartphone. Again, those safeguards we talked about earlier will allow the charger and battery to talk with each other and automatically default to the fastest allowed charging speed. This is what we’d generally think of as a “slow” charger, since the majority of modern chargers are much faster now. Having some knowledge regarding USB chargers and cables, you should be able to find the perfect charger to fit your needs. You can also eliminate that power-strip containing numerous individual chargers cluttering up your kitchen counter or another area of your home by consolidating chargers.
USB 1.0 is old enough that you’ll virtually never see it, so USB2 – USB 3.2 covers the spectrum for most people. Separately from that, there’s USB-C, which is a physical connection standard that devices can use. In almost every case, your PC is the host, and your smartphone, tablet, or camera is the device. Power always flows from the host to the device, although data can flow in both directions, such as when you copy files back and forth between your computer and your phone. The descriptions below apply to all versions of USB currently in-use, including USB 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, and their various substandards (1×2, 2×2, etc). Wattage Find out the wattage needed for the device you own before purchasing a charger. While most USB-C chargers will be able to accommodate smartphones and tablets, those looking to charge compatible USB-C laptops will need to ensure that their charger has enough juice for the job.