If you’re a frequent gadget-consuming traveller, packing a multi-port USB charger can be just as important as your toothbrush these days. Without one, you’re out of luck if you wish to keep your smartphone, laptop or tablet fully charged whist away from home. With so many devices requiring their own chargers, if you’re like me and you like to travel light, an all-in-one charger that powers all your tech is the holy grail for the minimalist traveller.
This QC 3.0 Travel Charger from GearBest.com looks great on paper, but could it lift that golden chalice? Along the business edge of the charger you’ll find four USB ports. From the top there is one orange QC 3.0 USB port with an output of 3.6V-12V 2.4A (18W); two green USB ports sit further down with a max output of 5V 2.4A; and finally there is a single USB Type-C port with a max output of 5V 3A.
All of this is packed in a travel-friendly size of (L x W x H): 6.10 x 6.10 x 2.70 cm / 2.4 x 2.4 x 1.06 inches. It’s a size and aesthetic that is pretty similar to, and no doubt highly influenced by, Apple’s own chargers, all the to its similar “slide-on” AC plug sockets, which allows the ability to use this device with its worldwide socket-friendly AU, EU, UK and US adapters.
During my review, the QC 3.0 Travel Charger came at the perfect time for me to test it out. I took the charger with me on two recent trips to Spain and Romania. I was putting a little faith in just taking this little thing with me, as it was going to fast charge my Apple iPhone X, quick charge my 9.7” iPad Pro and power my 12” Retina MacBook, with its USB Type-C port. The appeal of charging all these devices with one single charger packed in my travel bag was too much of a great opportunity to try out.
After over twelve days of travel and daily use, the QC 3.0 Travel Charger performed well. It kept all of my devices fully charged and powered. For something this small in size I knew it wouldn’t be able to charge from all four USB ports, simultaneously, without breaking a sweat – and I was right. The charger ran very hot (almost worryingly hot) when I was charging my iPhone X alongside powering my 12” Retina MacBook using the orange 3.6V-12V USB port and 5V USB Type-C port. I soon found out though, from the reverse side of the tiny manual, that it recommends not to connect any other devices whilst connected to the orange QC 3.0 USB port – Doh!
With too many devices connected I started to hear my connected devices reestablishing their charge once the charger soon started to heat up. So when it comes to safely using this charger, it depends what device you are charging, really. After some experimenting I was able to reduce the maximum heat of the charger by charging my MacBook with the Type-C USB port, and charge my iPhone X using the less as fast, green 2.4A ports – reducing the overall power drawn from the charger.
The USB Type-C port has no problem fast charging your iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, using an official USB Type-C to Lightning cable, and although it didn’t have enough power to charge my Retina MacBook at its maximum speeds, it did manage to charge it fully over night, ready for the next day’s meetings. It also powered it enough to keep the battery topped-up whilst simultaneously working from it. It’s worth pointing out that the charger doesn’t have enough power output to charge any of the MacBook Pros with USB Type-C powered ports – another tiny bullet-point mentioned in the manual.
Retailing currently at just £14.66 ($20) with FREE shipping at GearBest.com, the QC 3.0 Travel charger is certainly cheap when compared to Apple’s own official charger. But it is a tough one to score. It first leads you into thinking you can connect to all four ports, simultaneously, but that was certainly asking a lot from a device of this size. If you limit your connectivity to just two or three devices, its a little power-house for the minimalist traveller.
With its travel-friendly size, its array of powered connectivity options and its ability to connect to most wall sockets around the world; it is certainly a complete travel solution for anyone on the move with a handful of smart devices in tow, or even a USB Type-C powered 12” MacBook. It’s very convenient for anyone looking to charge these or similar devices with one single power adaptor.
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