Surveys show the average person travels with three or more small mobile devices (if you include cameras, headsets, music and video players as well as phones and tablets, and even now smart watches too). If two of you are traveling together, the chances are you have six or more devices between you, all thirsty for power recharges every day or so.
So there you are, checking in to your hotel room, and you’ve a handful of devices needing to be charged before you head out again the next morning. But you’ve only got a few plugs to connect chargers too, and you really don’t want to have to burden yourself with six or more different charges in any case.
Fortunately, there’s a sensible solution, and one which works as well at home or in the office as it does on the road. A multi-port charger. These devices, initially appearing as dual port chargers, have been increasing the number of charging ports they offer, almost as fast as we are increasing the number we need.
Almost a year ago I wrote about a six port charger which at the time seemed to be the most prolific number of ports, and tentatively said it could be all the USB power you’d ever need. But after traveling with my daughter earlier this year, I realized that when two people are traveling together and both awash with mobile electronics, even six ports can sometimes be insufficient.
Happily, there’s now a product that offers seven ports, the SeptimusB from inStream Tech. At $24.95 on Amazon, it costs a mere 96c more than the six port Choetech device I earlier wrote about, making it a very good deal.
It is very slightly larger – so as to accommodate both a power indicator LED and the extra port on the front, and an on/off switch on the back – and weighs 0.7 ounces more. It comes complete with a detachable power cord and also a lovely flat short connecting cord to connect from one of its outlets to a Micro USB port in a device. You can choose from white or black finishes. It is multi-voltage so can be used anywhere in the world, and comes with a very generous two year warranty.
The new SeptimusB charger can give up to 3 amps of charge per port, although in total it has a limit of 9 amps of available power to share between its seven ports. Originally most USB power sources had a limit of 0.5 amps, but more modern devices started to request/accept up to 1A of power, and then the higher capacity iPads started to accept even more power, and the most recent iPads and other devices will sometimes take as much as 2.4 amps of power.
So you might think that to be on the safe side, you want to have 7 x 2.4 amps of power capacity – ie 17 amps. By this measure, 9 amps would seem very inadequate!
But even the most power-hungry of devices only takes max charging power while its battery is most seriously discharged – the more power in the battery, the more slowly it continues to charge. You’re very unlikely to have seven iPadAirs all with zero power and needing to be charged at the same time!
There are still many devices that take power at more moderate rates, even if fully depleted, including most Android and iPhones that normally take only up to 1 amp. And those devices which will take higher rates of charge (an iPhone 6/6S can go up to 2.1 amps) it doesn’t need such a rate of charge for long – with a 3 amp hour battery inside these phones, after an hour at 2.1 amps they’ve taken on more than half a charge.
One other nice thing about this unit – all its ports are capable of charging at all rates of charge, up to the maximum 3 amps. Some other multi-port chargers have some high current ports and other lower current ports, making it difficult to mix and match units to ports, with this one, simply plug anything anywhere and it will start charging as quickly as the device requests/allows.
We torture tested the unit by connecting seven high-currentl mobile devices to it. Five of them were high current devices, all capable of taking at least 2 amps each (two iPadAirs, two older iPads, and an iPhone 6+) and two were Android tablets taking 1.6 amp charges. In total, this was about 13 amps of power from a device rated to output 9 amps.
The voltage held steady at 5.24 volts, even with all seven devices and a massive current overload, and all devices were charging at full rate. After half an hour of this, all units were showing credible increases in charge – for example, an iphone 6+ went from 26% to 45% and a Fire 8 from 17% to 41%. The unit itself had become quite warm, but was still charging all seven units at full rate.
We’d not necessarily recommend you to overload the unit by 50% as we did, but our two test points were to see if we’d accidentally ‘fry’ the unit (we didn’t) and/or if the unit would fail to charge at full rate when at max or greater-than-max rate (it worked just fine).
Overall, the device proved to be simple, easy, and effective. A great item to include in your ‘road warrior kit’ as well as equally useful at home and in the office. At a mere $24.95 from Amazon, it is easy to recommend.