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Review Of Powerful Dual USB Car Chargers Which Charges Your iPhone While Navigating

Updated on December 13, 2014
USB car charger
USB car charger | Source

Do you look for a car charger that REALLY can fill your smartphone battery?

Then read on, this review is for you.

Here you will find my story how I found, lost and found again a car charger that charges my iPhone fast and even while I use a navigation app.

flush car charger
flush car charger | Source

The best car charger ever

You may have read my article regarding the "Bluetooth Audio Car Adapter“ from last year, where I was on the quest for a reliable audio bluetooth connection from my smartphone to my car which only supported a headphone jack.
(Click here to read it.)


Back then I continued using a car charger I ordered years ago, called "PowerJolt Dual Universal Micro“ by Griffin. This car charger was just perfect for my needs.

  1. It was extremely small. In fact it „disappeared“ in the hole of the cigarette lighter completely, leaving a flat and closed surface with the impression the car manufacture built in a USB port.

  2. Dual port, so I could charge my phone and something else at the same time.

  3. Most important, it was powerful enough to charge my energy hungry iPhone 5, while using my beloved Navigation App.
    This alone is very rare!

  4. It was dirt cheap, costing me only a hand full of bucks.

Source

A reliable iPhone accessory - gone

This year I took my setup with us on vacation.

Plugged it in the rental car and off we went with a fully functional, loaded to the brim with features and familiar navigation solution. Which we conveniently transferred to the next rental and the next without paying the ridiculous fees the rental companies want to charge us every time.


And then it happened, bad luck stoke us!
As the car charger was so small and flush to the surface, I forget to take it out of the last rental car. I only realised it when we already have been thru security at the airport.

It was to late… my reliable little friend was gone, helping out the next soul who picked up the rental with their energy needs.

Researching a new Dual USB car charger

I was so happy with my old car charger that I just ordered the same model again.

When I got it, it looked just the same (as expected), but unfortunately it didn’t work.
I couldn’t charge my phone with it. There was the flash next to the battery symbol, but the percentage didn’t go up as I expected.

It seems I got a bad egg.

So I returned the item and ordered another one. Same procedure as before, go to garage, plug charger in cigarette lighter, plug cable in charger, plug cable in phone. This time it charged the phone. The next day I wanted to go on a ride and use the navigation app on my phone. Within three hours my battery was dry. Despite showing the flash symbol, the charger didn’t load my iPhone while I was using the navigation app at the same time. The double-check confirmed this. As soon as I stopped the navigation, the phone was getting charged again.

I got the impression it was pure luck that my first car charger worked flawless.

Quest for a really working car charger for iPhone

I had to find something that works.

I started researching a lot of car chargers that claimed to be able to charge an iPhone while using a navigation app, but I found many with customer reviews saying that it does not really charge while navigating.

Comparison table

 
PowerJolt Dual Universal Micro
AmazonBasics 2-Port USB Car Charger
PowerGen 2.4Amps / 12W Dual USB Car charger
PowerGen 4.2Amps / 20W Dual USB Car charger
Anker USB 24W / 4.8A Dual-Port Car Charger
Kensington Powerbolt 4.2 Dual Car Charge for iPhone
Dual USB port
X
X
X
X
X
X
Size
Small
Huge
Big
Huge
Big
Big
Color
Black
Black/Silver
Black or white or pink
Black or white
Black or white
Black
Max Ampere
2A
1 x 2.1A or 2 x 1.0A
1 x 2.4A and 1 x 1.0A
4.2A to share (port 1 for high A usage by Apple product)
2 x 2.4A
2 x 2.1A
Disturbing LED
Luckily not
Yes, very
Luckily not
YES
Luckily not
Yes, but very dim
Extra feature
 
 
 
overcharge protection
 
comes with two 30pin or Lightning cables
Amazon star rating (reviews)
3 (>1900)
4 (>400)
4,5 (>8000)
4,5 (>2900)
4,5 (>750)
4,5 (>40)
Price
$3
$9
$9
$10
$12
$20/$25
Here is my „short list“ of possible car chargers for aforementioned purpose

Some thoughts regarding the different car chargers

In the next few paragraphs I will go into some thoughts I had with this products.

PowerJolt Dual Universal Micro

As I said before:
My first one was great and then two others I ordered didn’t work as expected.
This is also reflected by the reviews on amazon. It seems there is a large amount of fakes on the market that just do not work.

Some people point out that they are very happy with their charger, but believe that they got an original.

If you can get a real Griffin, then this charger is hands down the best you can get.

AmazonBasics 2-Port USB Car Charger with 2.1 Amp Total Output

The family of basics from amazon has quite a good reputation.

So it’s just natural to take their car charger into the comparison group. Unfortunately buyers seems to deem this item as working, but poor made.
You should also know that as soon as you plugin two devices, each will receive only 1A, which is then not enough anymore for charging a modern iPhone.

PowerGen 2.4Amps / 12W Dual USB Car charger

PowerGen has two devices on sale.

The 12W model delivers - when using both USB ports at the same time 2.4A on one of them and 1.0A at the other one. You can choose from the standard black and white and in addition order even a pink coloured version. These model spare you the LED and received a very good rating from a lot of reviewers on amazon.

PowerGen 4.2Amps / 20W Dual USB Car charger

The 20W model „improved“ by adding the so much by consumers hated LED.
I am really wondering why they do this.

This model is also ridiculous huge. Make sure you have enough space in the closer neighbourhood of your cigarette lighter!

But there are also real advantages over the other model: a higher delivery on Ampere and an overcharging protection. Interestingly PowerGen points out, that only the first port is designed for Apple products. It seems that you can’t charge an iPhone and an iPad at the same time.

Anker USB 24W / 4.8A Dual-Port Car Charger

Ankers offer has - beside the PowerJolt - the smallest footprint.

It spares you the LED light and delivers two times 2.4A simultaneously.
Contrary to most competitors they have a large range of Apple and Android devices they support.

Anker even claims to be able to charge 2 iPhones in parallel.


Kensington Powerbolt 4.2 Dual Car Charge for iPhone

Last but by no means least, the Kensington charger.

At first glance it appears more expensive then the rest of the field, but you have to keep in mind that it comes already with the cables, which are also black coloured!
That should do fine in most car interiors.

Otherwise it shares the two most important qualities you can wish for: The LED is almost invisible and won’t blind you at night rides and it really does charge an iPhone while using a navigation app.

I opted for this model and I can confirm: It really works!

Verdict

I got the Kensington PowerBolt and I am very happy with the purchase.
Go check it out here!

If I wouldn’t have gone for this model, my second choice would be the Anker 4.8A Dual. But then do not forget to grab one of these good rated amazon basics black Lightning cable, as the white that came with your iPhone looks silly in a dark car interior.

Which car charger is the right one for you?

See results

© 2014 TheAndy

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    • TheAndy profile image
      Author

      TheAndy 3 years ago from Germany

      Hello TJ, as the products name already suggests, it is designed for iPhone and so it comes with Lightning.

    • profile image

      TJ 3 years ago

      Unfortunately, the Kensington Powerbolt 4.2 Dual Car Charge does not come with (international cell phone charger) standard micro USB cables. Other than that it looks like a good charger.