ChargeHub, a Best of CES device, allows you to “Charge Your Life!”
From the famous musical, Sound of Music, comes one of my favorite holiday songs “My Favorite Things.” Instead of the typical lyrics, “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, Brown paper packages tied up with strings,” my lyrics would be a little different. Apples on Tablets and cases on iPhones, Bright LED lights and fast flying drones, Gadgets and Gizmos make my Smart Home bling, “these are a few of my favorite things.” I would be dishonest if I said I was lacking chargers and cables. We are living in an era of portable tech, which is superimposed on our stay-at-home gear. My nightstand alone has a lamp, an alarm clock, and numerous cables to charge my Apple Watch, iPhone 7 Plus and iPad Air 2. At other times, I may also be charging my son’s Nintendo 3DS, my wife’s Samsung Galaxy S5 or my younger son’s Nintendo 2DS. With so many USB powered devices, I turn to USB Hubs to save on desk/shelf space.
ChargeHub arrives in a rather eye-catching black cardboard box, with blue and white lettering and a clever looking charging port logo. This is a 7 port USB, Universal Charging Station, which promises to “charge virtually any mobile device.” The back of the packaging details the features of the charging station. You can charge up to 7 devices with SmartSpeed technology, using the CableLinx 3.5″ USB cables that are included. They give you access to a free online “DesignStudio” to customize the top with a photo/image of your choosing. The device utilizes a single power supply to reduce clutter. It offers a pleasing blue under glow feature, which provides enhance utility in the dark. Lastly, ChargeHub has multiple built-in safety features.
The device is clearly visible through the translucent plastic front of the packaging. I am a fan of the clear plastic product display, which allows the consumer to truly see the product. Removing the charger from the box, you will find a white cardboard box containing the included accessories: 24″ vehicle power cable with coiled stretchable cable, 76″ wall 48W power supply, a bag with seven 3.5″ CableLinx cables (2 Lightning to USB charge/sync, 2 30-Pin to USB charge/sync, 2 Micro-USB to USB charge cable, 1 mini-USB to USB charge cable). I really like the Hub, the coloration, and the included accessories. The biggest drawback that I found was the 48W Power supply. Measuring at 3 1/2″ tall 2 1/8″ wide and 1 1/4″ deep, the power adaptor is a beast. The Type A wall prongs stick out perpendicularly to the box, which will work best for the bottom of a wall outlet. If you plug this into the top, you will lose the bottom outlet. I wish that this was more like an inline box instead of a wall outlet. I find that this type of adaptor creates a very frustrating Power Cord Tetris game.
To utilize the device, simply plug either the 48W power supply cord or vehicle charger into the power input port. Flanking this port is the LED power indicator light and the under glow LED adjustment switch. The top has a customizable insert and surrounding the puck shaped Hub are 7 USB input ports. These are universal and can charge any of your smaller devices at any of the ports. With this Hub, you can charge up to 7 devices simultaneously. I did plug a Dark USB multimeter into one of the ports and noted 5V output. Plugging my iPad Air 2 into the Drok USB multimeter, I was able to draw a current of 1.5A. I plugged my iPhone 7 Plus into an adjacent port and noticed both charged and the Voltage and the amperage dropped minimally. It appears that each port is capable of 5V and max 2.4 amps with a total max current of 8.8 amps for the entire device. From the vehicle charger, you should expect a total power reduction of ~30% due to the 12 V input power. This will likely still allow you to charge a few phones and a tablet. It is important to note that this device is not designed to charge devices like laptops, that draw higher amperage to charge. I really like that this appears to charge my iPhone as fast as many of the single USB chargers available on the market.
The company provides a free DesignStudio to customize your HUB. The manual notes that it is as easy as accessing the www.thechargehub.com/designstudio site. However, I was not able to get this to work on my iPad Air 2 or my iPhone 7 plus. Utilizing my Macbook Pro, I was able to enter my personal information (email, password, name, zip code) and then I was able to upload my photo, crop the photo and then save it. I have a wireless printer, which allowed me to print my design. This was a rather fun feature, allowing you to adjust the look of the device as your interests change. This was a little more difficult than a simple 1, 2, 3, but it was worth the effort when complete.
I am excited to see that there is an international travel kit and a travel case that are available to be purchased separately. Additionally, you can purchase more of the SmartLinx cables. Having very few devices that charge via USB-micro, a few extra of the iPhone lightning cables would be helpful. I have no use any longer for a 30-pin connector, however, some people still have older iPads/iPhones and iPods. I like the portability of the device and will be traveling with this device to CES 2017 to charge my portable gear. It works wonderfully to charge my portable batteries, Bluetooth accessories in addition to my phone. I like the octopus-like appearance of the device, but it does take up a rather larger area on your desk/table in a wheel/spoke manner (3 1/4″ diameter hub). In summary, it is refreshing to have a single device to charge nearly everything you own. I would rate this device at 5/5 stars. It does everything that it says it does and you have the benefit of unlimited customization. I would encourage you to check out their site and to pick up one of these hubs for that tech lover in your life.
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