Gadling Gear Review: Bracketron Universal USB Travel Charger

Bracketron's universal travel chargerIf you’re planning a holiday road trip this week you are no doubt considering your options for keeping your gadgets charged while on the road. Between our smartphones, tablets, iPods and other tech toys, we’re now forced to pack numerous cables and chargers just to ensure that we can keep them all properly juiced up. But a new universal USB travel charger from Bracketron makes that easier than ever and is sure to be a popular accessory for frequent travelers.

This power kit comes packed with everything you need to keep most modern gadgets well charged. Not only does it include an AC wall adapter and a 12V car plug but also a specially designed cable that should work with just about every device on the market. The 3-foot cable features standard USB on one end and both micro-USB and Apple’s proprietary 30-pin connector on the other. Those two adapters cover nearly every Apple or Android device on the market, as well as digital cameras, GPS units and mp3 players. The two power adapters each include a built-in USB port, which allows the included cable to easily switch between them as needed. Even better, that means that any other USB cable can plug into them as well, allowing for even proprietary cables to interface with the kit.

I was impressed with how small and lightweight this travel charger is and appreciated that both the cables and power adapters are made of high quality materials. The system is capable of putting out as much as 2.1 amps of power, which means that is even capable of powering up my third generation iPad, a device that is notoriously slow to charge.Carrying Bracketron’s Universal USB Charger with me on a trip means that I don’t need to bring any other cables or chargers along, which is a huge convenience. But there are a few improvements I wouldn’t mind seeing made to future versions of this kit. For instance, I found it odd that it didn’t come with some kind of storage case, especially since it is being specifically marketed for travelers. And while I found the included cable to be versatile as it, I wouldn’t mind having a standard-sized USB plug to go along with the Apple’s 30-pin adapter and micro-USB that are currently offered. Owners of the iPhone 5, iPad Mini and new iPad are also out of luck, as the charger doesn’t currently support the Apple’s new Lightning plug. You can always add an adapter of course, or carry a Lightning cable as well, but that takes away from the convenience of this kit to a degree. I assume future versions of this charger will support that new cable, but it could be some time before that is available.

Still, considering this kit costs just $39.95 it is a great bargain overall. I think anyone who travels with gadgets will find it extremely useful and it would make an excellent gift for the frequent traveler on your holiday list.

[Photo credit: Bracketron]