Gadling Gear Review: Ventev Mobile Chargers And Cables

Ventev Wallport r2200 USB chargerSmartphones, tablet, iPods and other devices have certainly made our travel experiences much more enjoyable. Gone are the days of sitting around an airport for hours on end with few ways to pass the time. Keeping those gadgets fully charged for extended use can be a real challenge, however, as a dead battery means our tech toys are really just dead weight. Fortunately there are more charging options available than ever before including a host of fantastic chargers and cables from Ventev, a company focused on making high-quality accessories for our favorite gadgets.

Wallport r2200 ($30-$35)
Ventev offers a line of wall chargers with built-in USB ports that are perfect for travelers. Since most modern mobile devices are powered via USB, these wall chargers are, in a sense, universal, allowing us to leave our various gadget-specific chargers at home in favor of a single option.

My favorite of these wall chargers was the r2200, which features two rapid-charging USB ports that are capable of powering two iPads at the same time. Considering how notoriously power-hungry the iPad is, this is a nice option for keeping your tablet ready for use, whether you’re at home or on the road. Each port is capable of delivering up to 10 watts of juice, which means your iPad will charge at its normal rate but your smartphones, mp3 players and other devices will charge at a much quicker pace. My iPhone for instance was able to go from completely dead to a full-charge in less than two hours.

Durable and attractive, the r2200 is well built for the challenges of travel. It is also lightweight and compact, which means it will save space in your bag, particularly when you consider all of the other chargers that it replaces. Ventev offers it with two options, the charger itself for $30 or with an included Micro USB cable for $35. Apple device owners will need to bring their own 30-pin or Lightning cables.Ventev Dashport r2200 USB chargerDashport r1200 ($20) and r2200 ($30-$35)
Ventev’s Dashport line of chargers take the concept of their Wallport models but extend the formula to the car. These units give us USB adapters that plug into the DC accessory port (aka cigarette lighter) in our vehicles. Both the r1200 and r2200 are rapid charging 10W adapters with the former providing a single USB port while the latter offers two. Both are capable of charging an iPad at the same rate as its included adapter or a smartphone, iPod or other device at about double the normal rate.

Having one of these adapters in your car can be a real revelation for anyone who has a smartphone. While those devices are certainly wonders of modern technology, they don’t always have the longest battery life. This is especially true with the numerous models of Android phones on the market. But having either Dashport model in your vehicle means you can use your phone all day long without fear of it running out of juice.

I’ve known about the value of having an adapter like this in my car for sometime and I’ve routinely carried a similar product from one of Ventev’s competitors. But both the Dashport r1200 and r2200 are light years better in terms of quality and build construction. My previous model feels like a cheap toy compared to these two adapters, which also happened to perform better too. If you’re in need of a charger for your car, these are definitely the ones you want. I recommend getting the r2200 as its two-port option will keep your passenger happy too!

Ventev Powercell 3000 battery packPowercell 3000 Backup Battery ($60)
As good as the Wallport and Dashport adapters are, they both still require that you’re close to some kind of power source. But often when we travel we’re not in a location where we can plug in at any given time. That’s where Ventev’s Powercell 3000 comes in handy. It is a small, lightweight battery backup that can add extra juice to your smartphone or other small electronics when you’re away from a regular power outlet. It is capable of charging two devices at once and extending the talk time of an iPhone by about ten hours.

I was impressed with how lightweight and thin, yet still durable, the Powercell actually is. The battery pack weighs in at a shade over 3 ounces, which means it won’t take up much room in your bag or add any undue weight. It includes both a standard and Micro USB port, which adds a nice level of versatility to the device. Ventev also ships it with an integrated Micro USB cable and an Apple 30-pin cable, which works with all Apple devices prior to the iPhone 5, iPad 4 and iPad Mini. Owners of those gadgets will need to use their own Lightning cable – at least for now.

The Powercell is capable of providing 3000mAh of on-the-go power, which is generally plenty to get most of us through a typical day and then some. It can also be quickly and easily recharged via a Wallport or Dashport, which makes for a nice synergy between Ventev’s products. The Powercell faces a lot of competition in the portable battery space, some of which offer larger capacities. But in terms of compact design and efficient charging, it is tough to beat this product. It is efficient, versatile and simple to use. Everything we need in a travel gadget.

It should be noted that the Powercell 3000 is capable of charging an iPad, although it is extremely slow and the amount of extra energy gained is hardly worth it. Bottom line, it’ll do in a pinch, but only just barely. If you need a mobile battery pack for your tablet, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

Ventev ChargeSync cable in RedChargeSync Cables ($15-$25)
In addition to offering a variety of excellent chargers for travel, Ventev also has some of the best USB cables that I’ve ever seen. These high-quality cables are over 3 feet in length, have a flat design that keeps them from tangling and are available in eight different colors. Those colors come in quite handy when trying to quickly find which cable belongs to you in a sea of standard white cables that most people carry. The ChargeSync cables are available in Micro USB ($15), Apple 30-Pin ($20) and Apple Lightning ($25) flavors.

As someone who has more cables for more devices than he knows what to do with, I always have a set for use at home and a set to take with me on the road. Ventev’s cables have quickly replaced my travel set simply for the non-tangling feature alone. The fact that they are much more durable than the cables that generally come with a device is also an added benefit. Considering the overall quality of these products, the retail price is actually quite a deal. Charging cables aren’t especially sexy in any way, but Ventev has managed to create a very impressive product here.

Ventev’s entire line of chargers and cables are fantastic options for travelers. They are lightweight, affordable, versatile and provide power for all of our devices while on the go. These products are some of the best that I’ve ever seen and I think frequent travelers will love them. I also think they are just as useful at home, where we never seem to have enough outlets to keep all of our gadgets charged.

[Photo Credit: Ventev]

Monster Outlets To Go Laptop reviewed

Not long ago, we reviewed the Monster Outlets To Go. In that review, we showed how these cheap and compact outlets can be the perfect way to avoid the stupidity of hotels with just one outlet. Just two weeks later, Monster Cable has announced the newest addition to their Outlets To Go lineup, with the Outlets To Go Laptop.

This new power adapter builds off the same principles of the others – a compact power brick that turns one outlet into three. But in this new version, Monster added two USB power ports, folding prongs and international power support. Outlets are on the front and rear, which allows you to plug larger power bricks in, without them interfering with each other.

The new features mean your single outlet can power and charge two USB devices, and offer enough open outlets for all your other gear. Because the product is rated for 100V-240V, you’ll be able to use it anywhere in the world, provided you bring a plug adapter (which is not included) and use it with products that are rated for these voltages.
The USB ports provide a combined 1.5A of power, which makes them compatible with the iPad, and other high power USB devices.

Compared to its corded cousins, the Outlets To Go Laptop does lack the flexibility of using a cord, which makes it harder to plug in behind a dresser, but a separate extension cord can fix that.

All in all, a brilliant little addition to the Outlets To Go assortment. The Outlets To Go Laptop retails for $29.95 and is available directly from Monster or Amazon.com.

The Gadling power anything anywhere kit

It is no secret – I love my gadgets, and I love traveling with them. But even the most advanced gadget becomes useless when it runs out of power.

In the past, I’d occasionally arrive at my destination with a dead mobile phone or an iPod that only made it halfway through the flight.

It’s a pretty frustrating experience, so for the past years, I’ve been putting together the perfect kit for powering any of my gadgets on the road.
When it comes to powering gadgets, there are several things I am looking for:

  • Powering and charging my laptop and gadgets on the plane
  • Powering and charging my laptop and gadgets when I am abroad
  • Emergency power for my gadgets and laptop

Here is the kit I put together, with some of the reasoning behind each device:

Callpod Chargepod

The Callpod Chargepod passed through Gadling last year, and it has quickly become of the most important gadgets I carry with me. The device charges 6 things at the same time, which means I can charge 2 phones, my Bluetooth headset, a backup battery pack, a game console and an MP3 player off a single outlet.

The Chargepod itself can be powered off AC or DC (car) sources, and the company has power tips for almost every portable device on the market.

Price: $79.95 for a Chargepod bundle (AC and DC chargers and a selection of power tips)
From: www.callpod.com

APC External laptop battery pack



The APC universal notebook battery pack comes with a large selection of power plugs, for most brands of laptop computers. To charge the pack itself, you simply use your existing laptop charger. I’ve always preferred the APC battery packs over the “official” spare battery from laptop makers because I tend to change my laptop quite regularly, and by having a single battery that covers multiple brands, I don’t have to waste an investment in batteries every couple of months. The long cord on the battery means I can leave it in my bag and still have it hooked up to my laptop.

There is one annoying issue with the APC battery pack – APC stopped making them, and the only ones out there are the remaining inventory at local retailers. A good alternative would be a power pack from Tekkeon, who actually produce an external battery pack with more power than any of the APC units.

Price: From $70 (discontinued product)
From: www.apc.com


Proporta emergency battery pack

The Proporta emergency battery pack is a compact Lithium-Polymer power source that can be charged using your computer, an AC adapter or DC (car) charger. The battery pack houses a 2500mAh battery, which provides enough juice to fully recharge most gadgets at least two or three times.

The battery pack has a standard USB out plug for charging your device and a handy button for checking the remaining power.

Included with the charger is an assortment of power tips for most mobile phones and the iPod, as well as a retractable USB cord and an AC adapter. Since it has a regular USB port, you can also use any existing power cable with it.

Price: $56.95
From: www.proporta.com

Kensington ultra slim universal laptop adapter



As I mentioned in the description of the APC battery pack, I change my machine quite a bit, so this Kensington ultra slim universal laptop adapter is another wise investment – it comes with power tips for most brands of laptop computers. In addition to being able to charge/power my laptop off AC, it can also be plugged into the Empower power jacks on many airlines. The charger is smaller and lighter than most original laptop power supplies. One oversight with the product is that they did not include a DC (car) plug with the AIR cable, so I had to invest $10 to get one from a different vendor.

As an extra bonus, the charger features a USB charging power port on the side, plus it operates off 100-240V, making it perfect for taking abroad. Along with the slim charger, I also carry the Kensington travel plug adapter with USB so I can plug my stuff in when I am abroad.

Price: $140
From: www.Kensington.com

The total kit weighs just under 3 pounds, which is not too bad when you consider that it replaces every charger I used to carry, and that I can keep my laptop going for almost 8 hours (longer when I carry the 6 cell battery for my machine).

Every part of the kit fits inside 2 Tom Bihn packing organizers. The whole setup may seem quite extreme, but to someone who carries (too many) gadgets, it’s the perfect way to carry all that crap, and keep it all working. Total price for the kit is a bit over $300.

Do you have a favorite power product, or something you think is better than what I carry? Let me know in the comments!

Product review – Kensington 4 port USB charger for mobile devices

In this brief product review I’ll give you a quick look at the new Kensington 4 port USB charger for mobile devices. Despite a long and complicated sounding name, the product is about as simple as it gets.

The charger is nothing more than a power brick, with 4 USB ports. While this may sound boring, it is actually one of the most convenient chargers I’ve seen in ages. Almost all my pocket gadgets charge over USB nowadays. Everything from my mobile phone to my iPod can be charged using a simple USB cable and charger. With that in mind, I can now carry a single small charger, and power 4 gadgets at the same time.

The concept is similar to the Chargepod, which I reviewed here last year. Of course, you’ll still need to carry the USB cables required for your device, but with just a single power brick, you’ll reduce the amount of stuff you need to carry with you. If you carry a laptop, you can use its USB ports to charge your devices, but that means you’ll have to keep the computer on.

The Kensington 4 port USB charger for mobile devices operates on voltages from 100-240 Volts, so you can safely bring it abroad, as long as you carry a suitable plug adapter for the outlet at your destination. The unit provides up to 2 amps of power, which is enough to provide full power to all 4 gadgets at the same time.

You’ll find the Kensington 4 port USB charger for mobile devices at Kensington.com ($29.99) and Amazon ($21.99). Several of the Amazon reviews mention that it did not charge their devices, but I have connected it to every USB device I could find, and it always charged them correctly.

My only minor complaint with the device is the lack of folding prongs. Other than that it is simple, reliable and affordable. If you travel with more than one USB powered device, it’s certainly a product I can recommend.

Daily deal – Belkin mini surge protector with USB charger for $16

My daily deal for today is a product I reviewed several months ago. The Belkin mini surge protector with USB charger has a really long name, but can come in quite handy on the road.

The device plugs into a single outlet and turns into a 3-port outlet with 2 additional powered USB ports. This combo means you can power several devices and charge 2 USB gadgets at the same time.

The prongs on the rear can rotate, which should help make it fit into any outlet you can find.

The mini surge protector only works on 120V, so don’t plan to take it abroad and use on foreign power networks with higher voltages.

The integrated surge protector is a great way to protect your equipment on the road, especially if you plan to use them in places with a less than reliable power grid.

The Belkin mini surge protector with USB charger usually retails for about $25, but you can pick one up from Amazon.com for just $15.26.