I am constantly on the look out for ways to keep my devices charged. Between a phone, two tablets, a set of Bluetooth headphones, Bluetooth speakers and a mired of other device that all charge from a USB cable, it is imperative that I don’t have to stash devices in other parts of my office, or other parts of the house, to charge up. The last multi-port charger that I reviewed was one from Mpow. It offered 4 USB ports, two at 5V2A and two at 5V1A. It worked well enough and for $19.99 it is bargain. If you happen to have more than two power hungry devices that need to be charged in a hurry though, you will find yourself a little disappointed. This sparked me to reach out to one of my personal favorite external battery bank manufacturers, Anker, to check in on the latest product offerings in the multi-port wall charging line. They were kind enough to send over one of their 36w 4-port units and their newer 40w 5-port units.
What’s in the box:
Anker 36w 4-port
- Wall charging unit
- Instruction manual
- Related documentation
- 5-port charging unit
- 5 foot detachable power cord
- Instruction manual
Anker has been making a lot of strides in product design, functionality and ease of use over the years and it’s pretty apparent in the initial looks of both devices. Since this is dual-review / comparison I am going to start off with the 36w 4-port, then move to the 40w 5-port. I will then follow it up with thoughts and recommendations, like I usually do.
Anker 36w 4-Port Wall Charger Overview
- Input – AC 100 – 240v
- Apple Ports – 5v /2.1A max
- Android Ports – 5V/1.5A max
- Total output – 5v/7.2A max
- Power – 36w
- Size – 3.3 x 2.5 x 1 inches ( 83 x 63 x 26 mm)
- Weight – 3.5oz / 100g
The 36w 4-port unit offers two Android and two Apple specific ports. Each is rated for charging your devices accordingly. The outer casing is hardened plastic, with the bulk of the unit being white with the main plug area off white grey-ish color. I didn’t notice any gaps or lack of build quality between the white outer casing and the fitted housing that the plug sits in. It is very solidly built.
How does it perform?
It performs as expected. If you use a Note 2, Note 3 or other larger phablet style device you will want to use the Apple 2.1A out USB port. Yes, you can use the two Apple ports to achieve the speedy charge that you require, but it defeats the purpose of offering up the two varying ports in the first place.
As always, I hooked my T-Mobile Xperia Z to the charger in two 15 minute intervals. Once on the Android side and once to the Apple side. To track the charge rates and speed of charge I used the Battery Monitor Widget and set the readings to pull at every 1% increment. Here are the visual results and corresponding numbers for each,
The results are pretty similar with approximately 11% gain in 15 minutes on the 2330 mAh battery in the Xperia Z. I then reran the same tests with multiple devices plugged in, two Lenovo tables, my wife’s HTC One S and the Xperia Z to see if the charge changed at all. It fluctuated, but not enough to think that there was any sort of issues charging multiple devices at full speeds. Factors such as emails, texts, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi being connected could play a role in the fluctuation. I would hardly say that coming from 4100 mV to 4060 mV constitutes an issue charging multiple devices.
What I like about the 36w 4-port wall charger
The white housing with and grey Anker logo makes it look very clean. Having 4-ports on one wall socket keeps multiple gadgets easily at hand. The price is right and can easily accommodate a multi device home with ease.
What I don’t like about the 36w 4-port wall charger
The charger plugs into the way straight off the back. That means it sticks out 3.3 inches from the wall. This creates quite the over hang. It certainly keeps the second socket plug available, but that could have also been achieved with a flip down plug on the bottom of the unit.
The only reason I feel that this is a negative design element is because of its weight and orientation of the USB ports. Depending on your wall outlets, it has the potential to fall out. On the flip side though, if you are going to be plugging it in straight down on, say a powerstrip, then this whole thing is negated.
Anker 40w 5-port USB Wall Charger Overview
- Input AC 100 – 240V
- Total Max Output – 5V/8A
- Size – 3.6 x 2.3 x 1 Inches ( 91 x 58 x 26mm)
- Weight – 4.580z / 130g
- 5 foot power cable
The 40w 5-port wall charger is a completely different kind of beast all together. Unlike its predecessor, this one doesn’t have specific USB ports rated for specific devices. Rather all 5 ports use Anker’s PowerIQ universal port technology. This allows max charge speeds on any port for any device that is plugged in. This means that your power hungry Samsung Tablet, your moms iPad, your Nexus 5, your Nexus 7 and your Bluetooth Headphones can all charge as fast as possible in one location.
The 40w unit also has a 5 foot power cord with it. This frees you up to have it plugged in under your desk, behind the bed at the hotel or in that wall socket that is just a little to far away from your favorite chair.
How does it perform
I used the same Battery Monitor Widget app with 1% increment reporting and let it charge for 15 minutes on each port. As you can see in one set of results, the Xperia Z gained 12% during that 15 minute charge. It would have been closer to 13%, but you can see the first few minutes of the charge I had some messages and things pop through and I read and responded. Still, 12% in 15 minutes for the 2330 mAh battery found in the Xperia Z translates to a full charge from 0% in about 1 and a half hours. Your results will vary depending on device, battery size, if it is turned on/off, if you are using it ect. I again hooked up as many device to it as I had available and the results still came in at 12 to 13% gain in 15 minutes.
What I like about the 40w 5-Port USB Wall Charger
It is a little bigger than the 4-port version I talked about earlier, but dramatically smaller than the MPOW 4-port that I reviewed previously.
If I tried really hard, I could probably fit it inside an empty pack of cigarettes. So, the size is a really winning factor for me. The simple fact that they provide a 5-foot power cord gives you plenty of options and placement, both temporary or more permanent. With all 5 ports utilizing Anker‘s PowerIQ technology I don’t have to worry about what port I “should’ use for what devices. Simply plug it in and get to charging. It also doesn’t have an annoying LED light anywhere on it.
What I didn’t like about the 40w 5-port wall charger
I wasn’t able to find anything that I didn’t like about it.
36w vs. 40w Results
While the 36w wall charger pulled down similar charge rates as compared to the 5-port, the winner between the two in my book is the 40w 5-port unit. All five ports charge at max speeds for any device, alleviating the need to think about what to plug in to what port. It also boosted 1 to 2% charging over the 4-port variant, while not a huge difference, it is enough to be happier with another 5% – 10% battery in an hours time. The 5-foot power cord offers flexibility, portability and usability. You gain one more port for one more device. Let’s be honest, you probably had a tablet and a phone and bought a dual-port charger only to end up with 3 other things that need to be powered up often. The price tag also makes it a no brainer. The 36w 4-port is $19.99, where as you can get the 40w 5-port for $25.99. Only $6 more offers you quite a bit more bang for your buck.
Which one is right for you? That is a question you have to ask yourself and one I can not answer. Take the test results, the looks and think about what you need. Which ever one you choose, you will be certain to be happy with the quality of the products and the charge times you experience. So go ahead, spoil yourself and pick one, or more, up through the amazon links below.
With the Galaxy S5 and the New HTC One coming out, it is time to look forward to LG’s next offspring. The LG G3 has been rumored to be announced as early as May, and today, we get ourselves a screenshot that shows us what the homescreen could look like.
As you can see by the screenshot, it seems that LG is going for more flatter UI. Flatter seems to be the trending style as of late, and many of us will actually appreciate it. LG keeps denying they are working on their new flagship, but we all know that isn’t the case. Shouldn’t be long now until we hear word on the LG G3, and once we do, we will let you know.
Have you been itching to get your hands on Google Glass but don’t seem to have any friends that have an invite? Well, on tax day you better get that bank card ready because Google has just announced that on April 15th at 6 a.m. PST they will be opening up some spots for anyone that wants in. You will still need to shell out the $1500 + tax, but you will also get a free Glass friendly shade or frame for free. Might not be much, but it does save you a little.
It is interesting that the Google Glass G+ and the sign-up page don’t mention how long it will be open, or just how many they are going to make available. You better mark your calendars. If you need a reminder, you can go sign up at Google’s ‘How to get one‘ page.
Aereo on Thursday announced that it will be integrating Chromecast support for the Android app on May 29. Aereo, a service that allows subscribers to stream broadcast TV channels over the web, has an Android app which is currently in beta. Customers can pay for memberships that start at $8 per month with access to a cloud-based DVR with 20 hours of storage. From the sounds of things, there will not be a way to cast from your browser just yet; Android is the only way to get the Chromecast feature.
“The way people watch and experience television is changing and Google is a pioneer in providing consumers with more choice and flexibility in how they access and experience that media,” said Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia. “We’re excited that Aereo will be Google Cast Ready this May. Consumers deserve more options and alternatives in how they watch television and our team is committed to providing consumers with the best experience possible using Aereo’s innovative cloud technology.”
Aereo is currently available in: New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cincinnati, San Antonio, and Austin. Additional cities are expected throughout 2014.
Our iPhone 6 roundup has been updated with the latest information. All signs now point to 4.7″ and 5.5″ screen sizes for the iPhone 6. The 4.7″ model is expected around September of this year, while the 5.5″ model may be delayed until the very end of the year. Apple’s new sapphire crystal display may be in limited supply, however, and may only ship on the high end (64GB 5.5″ iPhone 6) model.
Read full roundup for details.
Earlier this week, a report suggested Apple was planning a “dramatic overhaul” of its iTunes Music store to combat declining music downloads, which could include an on-demand streaming music service and an Android version of iTunes.
Apple may also be planning to add high resolution audio downloads to iTunes as part of the revamp, allowing users to download lossless 24-bit audio files. According to music blogger Robert Hutton, who cites an unspecified source, Apple is going to roll out hi-res iTunes music downloads in early June, possibly at WWDC.
For several years, Apple have been insisting that labels provide files for iTunes in 24 bit format – preferably 96k or 192k sampling rate. So they have undeniably the biggest catalog of hi-res audio in the world.
And the Led Zeppelin remasters in high resolution will be the kick off event – to coincide with Led Zep in hi-res, Apple will flip the switch and launch their hi-res store via iTunes – and apparently, it will be priced a buck above the typical current file prices.
That’s right – Apple will launch hi-res iTunes in two months.
Apple has been working on offering music in a 24-bit format for several years, with a 2011 report suggesting the company was in talks with record labels to increase the quality of iTunes Music. Currently, Apple sells audio files on iTunes in 16-bit lossy AAC format encoded at 256 kbps to minimize file size.
High-definition 24-bit downloads are said to offer better detail, greater depth, and a deeper bass response compared to traditional 16-bit music downloads, but the file sizes are much larger.
Though Apple only offers 16-bit audio files at present, the company does encourage artists to submit music in a 24-bit 96kHz resolution, which it uses to “create more accurate encodes.” Apple accepts the audio files as part of its Mastered for iTunes program, an initiative that has produced higher quality music for the iTunes Store. Because Apple has already accepted 24-bit files for years, it does, presumably, have a large catalog of high quality audio files that could be offered for sale, reportedly at a premium of $1 over traditional iTunes tracks.
Hi-res audio has been gaining popularity in recent years, with music sites such as HDtracks securing deals with multiple major record labels. Recently, musician and song writer Neil Young launched a Kickstarter project for the PonoPlayer, a $399 digital music player designed to play high resolution audio files.
Thus far, the project has earned over $5.7 million, suggesting there is indeed a sizable demand for hi-res audio. Should Apple choose to begin selling 24-bit audio tracks, it could quickly dominate competing sites given its existing user base and boost its digital downloads by appealing to audiophiles unhappy with the current quality of iTunes tracks.
Nike’s line of FuelBand wearables has been a popular choice for those looking to keep tabs on daily activity, but Fuel tallies haven’t meant much outside of the company’s own apps. Now, with the launch of the Nike+ Fuel Lab in San Francisco, the athletic outfit is looking to expand through partnerships and collaboration. Through the initiative, the Fuel platform will soon team up with “industry-leading companies” that include the likes of MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper and Strava. According to Nike, this means that over 100 million new participants will have access to its “common universal currency to monitor and evaluate” all kinds of activity. “The demand for simpler data-powered experiences is soaring, and all-day sensing is more available on mobile and wearable devices than ever before,” said Nike VP of Digital Sport Stefan Olander. “Nike is committed to broadening the use of NikeFuel through collaborations with industry leaders to create smarter products and services.” Unfortunately, there’s no word on when the integration will begin just yet.
Since you’re here, we figure you’re pretty comfortable in using the internet to get your news. CNN has noticed that trend as well, and is making the jump to the next generation with CNNx. Initially available as an iPad app but intended for other set-top boxes and CNN.com in the future (no word on Android, iPhone or other mobile platforms, although live streaming is already widely available), it lets viewers skip through any story segments that have aired in the last 24 hours — unfortunately that doesn’t include The Daily Show’s takedowns of its coverage, but you can see a screenshot of the app after the break.. That should end the frustration felt when you flip to the channel halfway through one interesting segment, and are face with sitting through an hour of disaster-of-the-minute coverage to find out all the information. There’s more than just video (live or on-demand) too, with related articles, pictures and social media just a click away.
CNN is a cable channel though, so you’ll need a login from a participating provider to use the TV Everywhere service just like HBO Go. It’s not live in the app store for us to try out just yet but it will arrive later today. For now, there is a video preview explaining what CNNx is all about — give it a peek and see if the ability to cherry pick interesting stories is enough to pull you back into the 24-hour cable news cycle.
Until now, Google Glass has been quite the exclusive club: either you bought one at Google’s 2013 I/O conference, or you called in a favor from a friend who did. Now, though, for one day only, Google is letting anyone buy in. The company just announced that on April 15th anyone with $1,500 (and a US shipping address) can purchase the headset. You might want to set an alarm, though: sales start at 6AM Pacific time that day, and we’re not sure what Google means when it says “the number of spots available is limited.” (Whatever it is, we hope Google can avoid a site crash this time.) It’s also unclear if Google will offer such a deal again at some point in the future, or if it will extend the offer beyond the US. We’ve reached out for comment and will of course update this post if we hear more.
Source: Google (Google+)
Voice-controlled gaming isn’t quite as easy to pull off on the PlayStation 4 as it is on the Xbox One (that Kinect comes in handy), but Iridium Studios is out to prove that it’s no big challenge. The developer has revealed that it’s bringing its crowdfunded squad strategy title, There Came an Echo, to Sony’s console. As on the PC and Xbox, you can order your team around using little more than your voice. While the gamepad is very much usable, it’s not completely essential to finishing your mission.
The game’s voice system isn’t elaborate. Whether you’re on the PS4, PC or Xbox, you’re using canned (though expandable) commands to get people moving. However, that also means a consistent experience across platforms. And no, you won’t need a PlayStation Camera to get the full experience — the earpiece that came with your PS4 will do the job.
As to when you’ll get a copy? That’s the tricky part. While Iridium explains to us that development has been “remarkably easy” on the PS4, including early voice programming, it isn’t certain just when the game will reach the PlayStation Store. The PC version’s planned October release on Steam (with support for Intel’s RealSense voice technology) takes priority. There’s a chance that the PS4 and Xbox One editions will come out at the same time, but the studio says it’s willing to delay their launches if necessary. In the meantime, you can always check out the trailer below.