After recently getting my new iPhone 5, I faced what is often common early in the game of having a new gadget – the lack of accessories. In particular I was looking for a car charger for my new iPhone. When I inquired at the Apple Store in Town Square Center, they suggested buying either the Lightning to 30-in Adapter Cable and/or the Lightning to USB Cable and then either using my old charger with the Adapter Cable or using a car charger with a USB port and to connect with the USB Cable. I needed both items anyway so bought the Lightning to USB Cable for $19 and the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter Cable for $39.
When I got into the car I immediately took out my old AT&T car charger for my iPhone 4 as it had a USB port on the top. I plugged the new USB Cable in and nothing. My phone did not charge. I then tried another car charger with just a USB connection and again nothing. I then tried the Adapter Cable by connecting it to the older iPhone 4 charger and it immediately began to charge the battery on the iPhone 5. However, I needed that Adapter Cable inside my house to accommodate the number of devices that have the old 30-pin connection. At $39 a cable, I really did not want to go out and buy another. Thus, I went back to the problem with the USB cable.
When I got home I immediately plugged the new Lightning to USB Cable into my powered USB hub that is connected to my iMac. The iPhone 5 immediately began charging so I knew it was not a bad cable. I then began to do some research on the USB power being delivered on car chargers with a USB port. I immediately began to learn some things by searching Amazon.com and finding the PowerGen 15W Dual Port USB in Car charger. It has one USB port labeled as the A port which is designed specifically for Apple products. The A port delivers power for either an iPad (2 Ampere Max) or for an iPhone (1 Ampere Max). The second USB port labeled as the NA port is for non-Apple products. Listed are the compatible tablets and not compatible ones with this charger.
What I ended up buying was the Mediabridge High Output Dual USB Car Charger for iPad and iPhone.
This charger comes with a 2.1 Ampere port for charging an iPad or additional iPhone and a 1 Ampere port for charging the iPhone. The device has an Over Charge Protection feature that switches it to a trickle charge once the connected device’s battery has a full charge. Amazon.com provides a full description of this device with full specifications. For $12.99 and being Prime eligible, I decided this was my winner and on Wednesday it will arrive. This will allow me to charge both my iPhone and iPad at the same time or when traveling with my partner it will allow him to also charge his iPhone and/or iPad. Thus, all I need to provide is the Lightning to USB Cable that is $20 cheaper than the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter. I am sure that, as time marches on, there will be car chargers cheaper than paying $32 for the two separately, but for now it is the best that I can find out there.
By Steve Anderson, technotraveler team member.