Review: Griffin Technology PowerDuo Charging Kit for iPod
Pros: A bundle of a quality car charger with included USB-to-Dock Connector cable, and a well-made, attractive alternative to Apple’s iPod USB Power Adapter with a USB-to-mini USB cable, all for a very reasonable price.
Cons: Car charger lacks audio out, style of charger is outdated by reference to Griffin’s newer, more expensive black charger of the same name.
In some cases, the formula for an great iPod accessory is simple: just lower the price. With the PowerDuo Charging Kit for iPod, Griffin has employed this strategy with great success, bundling two iPod accessories previously sold for $55 total at an easily digestible $40 price point. There’s PowerJolt (iLounge rating: B), a USB port-tipped car charger that you can use directly with the bottom of the iPod shuffle, plus a white USB to Dock Connector cable that lets you recharge 4G, 5G, mini and nano iPods, and a USB to mini-USB cable for use when charging iPods equipped with certain accessories, such as Griffin’s most recent iTrips. Unlike other options, including Griffin’s recent cosmetic redesign of PowerJolt, the included charger is not all-white in color - most of its body is dark gray, but there are bright white side highlights, and a textured grip for easy removal from your car.
Then there’s PowerBlock (iLounge rating: B+), a small USB port-tipped wall charger that can charge the same iPods when used inside any building with electricity. PowerBlock is small enough to be convenient for travel - at least as much so as Apple’s official, and more expensive iPod USB Power Adapter (iLounge rating: B), which is sold for a $29 price that many people find objectionably high for something so simple, and once included with iPods.
Not surprisingly, both of the chargers successfully charged all of the iPods we tested without incident, and also worked properly when connected to iPod accessories. And as with the prior items, you can still detach the USB to iPod cable and use it indoors as a spare for the one that comes with all iPods shipped today.
As we noted in PowerJolt’s initial review, its lack of an audio port is its only major limitation. Some other chargers we’ve liked provide pass-through audio outputs utilizing the iPod’s Dock Connecor port for higher quality audio. Unfortunately, that feature is increasingly rare on modern charger designs, and few of the chargers we look at today include it. In the daytime, PowerJolt’s small red LED power indicator is also one of the least visible we’ve seen, but it’s not horribly objectionable, and totally visible at night.
For the price, it’s hard to beat what Griffin’s offering here: two cables and two chargers for only $10 more than Apple will sell a single USB charger. With the ability to charge any iPod out there at home or in the car, this is certainly one of the best bundles we’ve seen, and worthy of our high recommendation.