We’ve covered a handful of four-port chargers in the past, but each time, their USB ports have been labeled to indicate whether they were suited for tablets or other devices, depending on their power output. Bolse’s 4-Port USB Desktop Charger with Cable ($27) is different. With a maximum power output of 5A, it can charge any device from any of its ports. It supposedly uses technology that adapts the charging speed of each port based on what’s plugged in. While the claim is it can charge “ALL USB-powered devices at full speed,” the numbers indicate there are some limits. One shouldn’t expect to be able to plug in four iPads and have them all charge at top speed, for example. The power comes from a wall outlet, with an integrated 4.9′ cable sprouting out of the back of the charger.
While we can talk about some of the details, such as the physical size of the body or the arrangement of the ports, our initial testing proved none of that is really too important. To stress test the charger, and validate Bolse’s smart charging claims, we plugged in four iPads at once: an iPad Air, one third-generation, one fourth-generation, and a first-generation iPad mini. While they all charged for a bit, with the Air reaching a peak of 17 percent, when we checked back in on them after an hour, none of the four were charging, and the charger’s power light had gone off. We did everything we could to reset the situation, including unplugging all the cables, and the charger itself, but we ultimately concluded that it had burned out. It’s a disappointing result, and an especially surprising one given the company’s promises. For that reason, as a defective product, 4-Port USB Desktop Charger with Cable earns our D- rating. We don’t give such a rating lightly, but we actively suggest you stay away from this one based on our test results.
Company and Price
Compatibility: All iPads, iPhones, iPods