Review: PowerGen USB Dual Port 3.1A 15W Travel Wall Charger

In our house we have an assortment of USB gadgets. My wife and I both own iPhone4 smartphones. We also share a second generation iPad tablet. But we don’t have enough free power outlets in my office to plug our individual AC chargers for both devices. It’s a classic first world problem.

So, with credit card in hand, I purchased the PowerGen Dual Port Travel Wall Charger (Henceforth referred to as PowerGen for brevity). The unit itself retails for $30US, but you can find it on Amazon for about $15US.

What’s in the box

The PowerGen adapter measures 2.6 x 2.05 x 1.13 inches and weighs 49 grams. This sucker is light. It comes in a matted rubberized black finish with a sturdy build quality. (It also comes in white, if that’s your bag.) The PowerGen comes with a 1 year warranty. Inside the box is the unit itself, along with a brief 1 page user guide. The user guide does a good job of explaining product usage, troubleshooting steps and specs of the device – but it has more than a few typos.

The total power output for the PowerGen is 3.1 amps, compliant with Apple’s own protocol for its mobile devices. The user guide notes that in some cases charging may be slower due to the fact that the total output of the device is limited to 3.1 amps.

Operation is pretty straight forward. One end of the PowerGen plugs into your AC outlet. The other end sports two USB ports. Surrounding the USB ports is a blue LED indicator light that turns on when the device is plugged into an AC outlet. It’s bright, but not annoyingly so.

One USB port is labeled A – which is intended for all Apple devices. There’s another port labeled NA, which is used for all other devices. The A port delivers 2 amps max for an iPad and 1 amp max for iPhones and iPod Touches. The NA port is not compatible with the iPad, but does charge an iPhone or iPod Touch at 0.5 amps max. So, if you have two iPhones you can use either port. But if you have an iPad and an iPhone, you’ll want to make sure you’re using the A port to charge the iPad.

For other non-Apple devices, the amperage can vary from 0.5 to 3.1 amps on the A port and 1 to 3.1 amps on the NA port. This variance, of course, is dependent upon the device you plug into it.

Does it Work?

The short answer is – yes, it does. While I haven’t measured the amperage coming out of the PowerGen, it does in fact charge both my iPhone and iPad simultaneously. The PowerGen comes with over-charging protection, which means that the charging will stop after the device’s battery is full. In addition to working with Apple’s own mobile devices (it works with all Apple iOS models), the PowerGen is also compatible with Samsung Galaxy tablets, Amazon Kindles (including Kindle Fire), Nooks, and HTC Flyers. It is not compatible with HP TouchPads, ASUS Transformers, Motorola Xooms or the Blackberry Playbook. I’ve only tested this unit on two iOS devices.

The biggest disadvantage of the PowerGen is that can take up to two slots of space on your power strip. In my case, I positioned the PowerGen to the last available slot on my power strip, so it wasn’t too much of a big deal.

Should I Buy One?

If you need to charge two simultaneous iOS devices at once, using only one AC charger, the PowerGen fits the bill. I did not test to see how fast both devices charged, as in my use case, the PowerGen charges both my iOS devices overnight. In short, if you have two iOS devices that need to be charged – for $15, you can’t go wrong with the PowerGen.

The PowerGen USB Dual Port 3.1A 15 Travel Wall Charger earns a 4.5/5 Bob Weiners.

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