Review: Scosche strikeDRIVE 12W Car Charger for Lightning Devices
Although Apple's fourth-generation iPad has been out since November, accessories able to charge the device at its full 12W speed are still few and far between. Scosche has added to that small number with strikeBASE 12W Wall Charger for Lightning Devices ($35), and strikeDRIVE 12W Car Charger for Lightning Devices ($30). Both chargers power any device with a Lightning port. First introduced at the 2013 CES, these accessories are now available for purchase.
strikeBASE is designed to be used in the home or at work. The all-black unit features a Lightning connector on one end—rather thick horizontally, but not vertically—and a 1.8” x 1.4” x 1.2” black plastic power brick with folding prongs at the other. In between them is a 49” long cable. Notably, that’s more than a foot longer than the three feet listed on the website and packaging. The sheath around the Lightning plug is large enough that there’ll be compatibility issues with some cases.
When you plug the charger into the wall, a blue LED lights up. Thankfully the added cable length doesn’t decrease charging speed, and in our testing strikeBASE’s capabilities matched those of Apple’s own 12W USB Power Adapter. A fourth-generation iPad’s battery will go from empty to full in about five hours.
The car charger, strikeDRIVE, is only the second 2.4A auto accessory we’ve yet seen; the first was Odoyo’s Micro Car Charger with Lightning Connector. It features exactly the same Lightning plug as strikeBASE. Rather than a straight cable, this one is coiled. Stretched out, it’s also longer than the three feet Scosche lists. The charger is impressively small, and certainly nicer looking than Odoyo’s. It’s only about two inches long from end to end, and the diameter is less than one inch at its widest. The portion that sticks up out of the charging port in your car is only about half an inch tall, with a blue LED. Like strikeBASE, it charges at the advertised speed. We did notice that it gets pretty hot though.
Other than Apple’s adapter, strikeBASE is the only 12W, wall-based, charging solution we’ve come across. It costs $16 more, and includes the captured cable. For only a few dollars extra, you can choose the first-party solution with the narrowest Lightning plug and a removable cable, both of which we consider valuable factors. With that in mind, strikeBASE earns a general recommendation. It’s good, but there’s little reason to choose it over Apple’s solution other than saving $3.
strikeDRIVE, on the other hand, is the same price as the most comparable solution. It looks better, and has the advantage of a coiled cable, which takes up less space. These factors pretty much even out, and earn strikeDRIVE a B+ rating. For many, the ability to charge an iPad at full-speed in the car isn’t as important as being able to charge an iPhone, but this is the best solution we’ve yet seen to do so.