Review: RAVPower 4-Port Wall Charger
RAVPower's latest power accessory is something new -- the most charging ports we've seen in such a small form factor. The 4-Port Wall Charger ($46/$20*, aka 30W/6A 4-Port Rapid Charging Station) is a 3.5" by 3.5" black plastic box, bundled with an AC adapter. Similar in functionality to solutions such as Griffin's PowerDock 5, it charges up to four devices at once through self-provided cables hooked up to USB ports, although it doesn't provide any means to hold the devices. Two of the ports are 2.1-Amp, suitable for all current iPads, while the other two ports are 1-Amp, perfect for iPhones and iPods. While the price on the company's website and the current Amazon.com price is $20, the latter lists the original MSRP as $46.
The 4-Port Wall Charger feels quite light and hollow for the power it’s packing, weighing in at only 6.4 ounces. All of the USB ports are lined up along the front edge of the charger, with a power indicator light to the right. Centered on the back is the port for the two-prong wall adapter, while four rubber feet on the bottom help keep the unit from slipping. It’s a very basic-looking accessory, but the size and simplicity are appreciated.
We initially tested the charger with an iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPad Air, and first-generation iPad mini plugged into it for an hour, with the iPads connected to the ports labeled 2.1A. The results lived up to RAVPower’s claims, as the iPad Air’s charge jumped 25% and the mini went up by 36%, while the 5c gained 52% and the iPhone 5 entered trickle-charging, going from 71% to 98%. All of those numbers are in line with what they should be based on the promised amperage.
Although the speeds were up to par, 4-Port Wall Charger did exhibit some issues during the charging process. First, the temperature was unusually high. While it’s not unusual to see a device get hot when it’s processing this much power, the charger hit just above 150° Fahrenheit in our testing; consequently, it should be kept somewhere that allows for proper ventilation. In addition to heat, the charger puts out a mechanical whining noise that’s similar to what we’ve heard from some chargers and batteries in the past. We found it annoying, but not enough to impair the functionality. There was one other minor issue: at least once during the charging process, RAVPower’s brick briefly shut off, and then turned itself back on again. This may be attributable to overheating, but it didn’t impact the functionality.
Despite the initial $46 asking price, the 4-Port Wall Charger goes for only $20 now, and considering that’s the same cost as Apple’s single-port 12W USB Power Adapter, it’s certainly an impressive value—or, at least would be for something that worked perfectly in all scenarios. The convenience factor is a big one here, as this accessory saves owners of multiple devices from having to find extra ports and outlets to get everything charged at once. Of the issues we encountered, we found the noise to be a bigger problem than the heat, but neither is an absolute deal breaker; the brief shut off we once saw appeared to be an aberration in further testing. Collectively, however, the issues keep 4-Port Wall Charger from reaching the “very good” or “good” levels, but it still merits a limited recommendation. If you’re highly budget-conscious and need a multi-device charging solution, consider it; otherwise, you’ll likely want to spend a bit more money to get something that runs cooler and quieter.