Jan 222015
 
The six port Choetech high speed USB charger.

The six port Choetech high speed USB charger.

Well, never say never, but this six port high current USB charger from Choetech sure looks like it can handle the needs for most individuals, couples, and possibly even families.  We like it for both at home/in office use and also for when we’re traveling.

Now, you’re probably rolling your eyes and wondering – would you ever need to charge six devices at once?  You’d be surprised.

If you’re traveling with a partner, it is possible you might both have a phone and a tablet, so that’s four of the six slots filled.  Add maybe a camera or a Bluetooth headset or a portable music player, maybe a Kindle, perhaps an emergency portable battery charger, a camcorder, and – gosh, there are all six slots more than used up.  So while six charging slots seems like a huge amount, it is not as ridiculously over the top as you might think.

Sure, you could pack half a dozen different wall/brick chargers, but who wants to do that.  And, even if you did, what hotel room have you stayed in lately that has half a dozen free power outlets?  Or, you could charge devices from your laptop’s USB slots, but they are typically low-current (ie max of 0.5 A, sometimes/rarely with one slot allowing 1.0 A) and so won’t work with tablets and the largest phones (the new iPhone 6+ struggles to take on any charge at all with a low current charger connected), and take a long time with other devices.

The Choetech charger is reasonably compact in size, measuring 3 1/2″ x 2 3/4″ x 1″.  On one end it has a socket for a (provided) 5′ plug/cord that goes to a mains outlet, and opposite that are the six USB charging ports.  It is good to have a separate detachable power cord, because that way you can plug into an inconveniently located wall outlet (and aren’t they all inconvenient in hotel rooms!) but have the charger at a more convenient location.  Also, the plug only takes up one space on a power strip rather than most transformer bricks and power supplies which take up two or even three.

The unit weighs 5.5 ounces, and the cord is another 2.5 ounces.  But if you travel with a collection of separate power chargers, they probably weigh 2.5 – 3 ounces or more each, so in terms of weight and space this unit doesn’t really require more of either, while giving you much more convenience in terms of being able to quickly charge multiple devices.

The unit is multi-voltage and multi-frequency, so you can plug it in, anywhere in the world, and it will work.  It comes in black or white, and sells on Amazon for $23.99.  Choetech is one of the Shenzhen based high-tech manufacturers in China, and has a range of different charging devices, including the new wireless chargers.

About the only thing it lacks is any type of status LED.  But, is this really necessary?  The devices you connect to the charger invariably have their own ways of telling you their state of charge and if they’re being recharged or discharged or whatever.  In the interests of best value and best price, probably Choetech were sensible not to waste money on LEDs.

Testing/Using the Charger

It claims to deliver 50W of power over its six outlets.  I connected up six tablets – three iPads, two Nexus 7s and one Kindle Fire, all with reasonably depleted batteries and all showing full screen video through Wi-Fi and playing sound (ie drawing as much current as possible).  After first noting that all six units showed as charging and had their battery levels increasing at reasonably fast rates, I individually routed each of the six devices through a lovely little $10 USB Volt/Amp tester to see how much power was going through them.

Charge rates per device ran from almost 2.5A (for very depleted batteries in the iPads) to under 1A and for brief periods of time (before charging rates started to slow as charge levels increased) it was possible to get more than 9A from the unit and with the voltage staying steady at 5V.  If I added another device that took the power consumption just over 10A some type of internal limiter tripped, causing the unit to switch off for a few seconds, then reset and start again, then switch off, and so on.  So clearly the unit works more or less as promised.

I ran the charger for a couple of hours while charging these six tablets, and it got hot to the touch and I could even smell a bit of a burning smell.  I guess it was delivering at least its full rated 50W for some of this time and probably more (potentially 3 x 12W for the three iPads, about 10W each for the two Nexus 7s, and something over 5W for the Kindle Fire, so in theory, as much as 60W), so no wonder it got hot.

I repeated the experiment the next day, and this time there was no burning smell, although the unit did again get quite toasty to touch.  I guess it burned off a bit of internal lacquer or paint the first time, and then was quite happy just to soldier on, giving 100% + of rated power, for an extended period, subsequently.  My kinda gadget, for sure!

I particularly liked how it could charge multiple devices, all at what seemed to be full/maximum charging rate.  Often when traveling, I have limited amounts of time to charge my devices, and being able to quickly connect them and charge them is tremendously helpful.

Summary

This is a great unit that saves you the need to maintain a menagerie of different chargers, and ensures that pretty much anything you connect to it will be charged at its fastest rate.  Now you no longer need to impatiently ‘wait your turn’ to access a charger.

Great for home, office, and on the road.  And at only $23.99 from Amazon, great for the wallet too.

  8 Responses to “All the USB Power You Could Ever Need”

  1. I just ordered one. Also posted this link on my FB page. TY!

  2. Ordered mine this morning!

  3. I bought one before reading your article and am using it in our multi-device charging station at home. It is as you’ve described. It recognizes the power draw requirements of the individual devices and supports them automatically without any additional action on your part.

    I will note that what you’ve described in the latter part of your article is overheating, and it concerns me. The device should have automatic over-current protection to prevent that from happening. If it’s allowing 120% of its rated current without shutting down periodically (duty-cycling) that is a problem. If you smelled burning paint, it was overloaded it, and you were risking fire.

    I will monitor mine for a while longer before I consider buying another for travel.

    • Hi, James

      There’s benign and not so benign levels of heat. Further testing suggested that it might have been switching off at least one of the outputs, and subsequently resetting it.

      I’ve ordered a current monitoring device so I can see exactly how much current the unit does output through the six ports, and will write more on this after receiving the unit and doing some more stress testing.

    • I’ve now obtained a testing unit (described/reviewed here : https://blog.thetravelinsider.info/2015/02/wanted-know-usb-power-didnt-know-find.html ) and have updated this review to include information from that testing.

      Bottom line – the testing gave very positive results. The unit truly does seem to provide at least 50W, and maintains its voltage right at 5V, even when under that full load. I’m impressed.

      Oh, and the price of this six port charger has also dropped on Amazon. Have updated the review to reflect that, too. 🙂

  4. […] found it useful when testing a new six-port USB charger that claims to charge up six devices simultaneously, and all at fast charges/high current.  Did it […]

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