Review: Velvetwire Powerslayer
It's not often we see single-port wall chargers that cost more than Apple's 12W USB Power Adapter, a pack-in that comes standard with every full-sized iPad and costs $19 when sold separately. Velvetwire's Powerslayer ($40) costs twice that, but the company promotes it based on a number of different features. Chief among them is its power consumption. The charger uses custom software that regulates the charging output, eliminating energy waste. It's also built in the United States, which many people may see as a benefit. Velvetwire sells a bundle that includes a travel case and cloth-covered Lightning cable for $85-$90, which is what we received for review, but this piece focuses solely on the charger itself.
Instead of the traditional square, Powerslayer has a more interesting, organic shape. It’s something like a rounded rectangle, although a segment juts out a bit at the bottom. It’s 3” tall at its tallest point, 1.95” wide, and just over 1” thick. We can’t help but be reminded of a turtle shell. Coming in one of four colors, the plastic is mostly smooth, although the outer face is covered in a pattern of small, slightly raised triangles. The wall prongs on the back fold up when not in use, and the single USB port is located on the bottom edge.
We were slightly pessimistic about the charging rate we’d see from the unit, due to its 2.0-Amp output. iPads can accept a charge rate of up to 2.4A, although notably, the iPad Air charges in the same amount of time with a 2.1A charger. It takes about four hours and 20 minutes to completely recharge an iPad Air under optimal conditions, and somewhat surprisingly, Powerslayer did just that; it actually took four hours and 16 minutes. That is to say, charging speed isn’t a concern with this accessory. A small light among the triangles glows red when charging, and switches over to green when the connected device is fully powered. This is a nice little indicator that most chargers don’t have. After a few minutes, the charger and light will shut off to prevent unnecessary power drain.
For the eco-conscious iPhone user who places a heavy value on American made goods, Powerslayer may be just the right accessory. The benefits aren’t obvious if you’re not looking for them, though, which makes Velvetwire’s pitch a tough one. Powerslayer works perfectly well as a charger, and the size and shape are just fine. There are no complaints on that front. While most people will be just fine with the charger that comes in the iPad’s box, we can see a small segment appreciating what this one offers, earning it our limited recommendation. It’s a high price to pay for sure, but for some, it’ll be worth it.