Content Nav Menu 

Arctic Charger Pro 4 Rev. 2 review

on October 30, 2012 12:00 pm
The Arctic Charger is a 4-port USB charger with international adapters.

The Arctic Charger is a 4-port USB charger with international adapters. Note the two top ports are orange, which means they can handle higher power needs, such as tablets.

Power – it’s what runs a Gadgeteer’s digital lifestyle. Until solar power is everywhere or we discover a perpetual motion machine or invent the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor that works on kitchen waste, I guess we’ll just have to deal with power plugs and wall warts. So, what about those who travel to other countries on occasion? Yes, there are adapters, and most larger companies have made their power bricks world-ready, shipping a different cable in the box for different parts of the world. But should I have to travel to Europe and go to an electronics store to buy a decent charger? Not any more.

The Charger Pro 4 Rev 2 from Arctic, LTD is a 4-port USB charger that arrives complete with interchangeable plugs that will work in the US, Europe, and the UK / Ireland. The only ones I have seen that are similar are Apple’s line of chargers, and their World Travel adapter kit.

The Arctic Charger (in back) compared to Apple's iPad charger and their World Travel Adapter Kit ($40)

The Arctic Charger (in back) compared to Apple’s iPad charger and their World Travel Adapter Kit ($40). The international adapters are included with the Arctic Charger.

Let’s take a look at this little beauty.

Packaged in a welded plastic hanging unit, the main piece is just over 3 inches by just over 2 inches – 7.8 cm x 5.7 cm. The unit is just over an inch thick (2.9 cm). It is a slate grey color, with a striking orange stripe around the socket where the power plugs are attached.

The bold orange stripe indicates there are higher power ports. Sliding out adapters is a simple process.

The bold orange stripe indicates “rev. 2″, which has higher power ports. Sliding out adapters is a simple process.

Opposite the plug socket are four USB ports stacked closely together (see top photo). The inner plastic of the top two ports are orange, indicating they are “fast-charge”, designed for the higher voltages of the iPad, or to charge regular USB devices more quickly. (There is an earlier version, without the orange ports and stripe, which is not able to provide higher power for iPads.) Included in the package are the two non-US plugs and a black nylon fabric drawstring sack that will hold all pieces together in your baggage.

With the US adapter attached, the whole package is a tight, sleek rectangle. Removing the foldable US adapter and inserting either the three-prong unit for UK/Ireland or the two-pronged EU plug is simple, and the plugs all fit in with a satisfying snugness. They are not going to slide off easily!

In use, the adapter fits inline with US plugs, which may cause a problem with some power strips or outlets. The plug is far to one side, however, so you should be able to arrange things such that only one other plug, at most, is covered. The width of the unit is very narrow, so using an adjacent plug on power strips that are designed for this type use (with the plugs all parallel, rather than in a line) will be just fine. It has no more width than an iPad adapter, for comparison.

I plugged the unit in and tested with my iPhone and iPad. Both indicated connection just like the standard Apple iPad connectors, and charged in the same amount of time. The size of the unit is less than twice the size of an iPad charger, so if you have a bunch of iPads/iPhones/Android/whatever that will need power, this makes sense to be the main charger in your kit. If you’re in an airport or café, it may also be the difference between getting power and having to wait until the folks there have topped up. (“Hi, I see you’re using the only outlet in the place for your iPad charger. Mind if we swap to mine and both charge?” Ah, a geek pick-up line if ever there was one!)

Since it has higher power capability, the Arctic charger will also recharge your battery packs. Many of these units don’t come with a charger of their own, so if you’re thinking of getting one to store with your battery pack, this is the one I’d recommend.

In testing, I could find no fault with this device at all, from the function to the manufacturing. It’s a great idea that is fully and elegantly engineered to deliver maximum benefit to the user, which is a rare commodity in such a crowded marketplace. Kudos, Arctic!

Five out of five stars.

 

Product Information

Price:$30
Manufacturer:Arctic, LTD. (HK)
Retailer:various online and in stores
Requirements:
  • Power outlet, device that needs to be charged via USB, and cables to connect device to charger.
Pros:
  • Compact
  • World-ready (includes adapters!)
  • Nice nappy finish gives good grip for changing plugs
Cons:
  • Ports are very close together.
  • Not much else!

Comments

  1. 1
    Josh says:

    There doesnt appear to be any clear info of the difference between version one and two. It would be nice to know the specifics in amps per port for both versions.

  2. 2
    Josh says:

    after looking at arctics site it appears to be the same as rev1 but bundeled with the uk and eu adapter plus a carrying bag. and some orange flare… answering the amps per port would provide the info if there is any difference in the base unit other than the color.

  3. 3
    Dmitriy says:

    10-12 dollars at dx.com
    Don’t pay for questionable branding.

  4. 4
    John Kes says:

    Their specs are here:
    http://www.arctic.ac/en/p/power/chargers/470/.html?c=2224

    The USB 2.0 spec allows 0.5A per port, so their 2.5A rating shows they have some excess capacity. I don’t know if all 2.5A can be drawn from any one port, though.

    I have a similar 4 port charger (different brand, 2A output). My iPad2, which likes 1A, does not like it. I guess that means my charger will not put out much more than the spec 0.5A.

  5. 5

    I’m on my phone right now, but a quick comparison of the features shows nothing about higher power devices, or faster charging of phones for the Rev. 1 model. Both come with the international plugs and the carrying case. As stated in the review, the orange accents mean it has higher output than a standard USB port, which will allow it to charge iPads and such.

  6. 6

    @Dimitry $15 for one iPad charger ignores the clear benefit to having 4 USB ports from one outlet. To have the same capability, you’d have to spend twice the money, plus more for the adapters you’d need when traveling.

  7. 7
    Josh says:

    Scythe: at the top of the page for rev1 it lists iPad fast charging:

    http://www.arctic.ac/en/p/power/chargers/596/charger-pro-4.html?c=2224

    So again what’s the difference other than color. Do you own a rev1? Have you seen or used one?

  8. 8
    thsu says:

    I have traveled overseas, and I have found that I only need a 2 port usb charger, even though I bring 4 usb devices with me: iPad, 2x iPhones, Kindle.

    The secret? Charge the iPad (and rarely the Kindle) during the day. On vacation, the iPad is just a paperweight while sightseeing, so should be left in the hotel (use your iPhone instead while out sightseeing, if you need maps/yelp/etc). On business, there’s plenty of office outlets for daytime charging.

    My most useful purchase was actually a 3 to 1 ac outlet, about 1.5″ cubed. I could plug in the camera battery charger, the 2 port usb charger, and the travel router into it, then attach an outlet adapter, and plug the whole thing into the wall.

    http://www.microcenter.com/product/383769/15_Watt_Dual_USB_Adapter
    http://www.amazon.com/GE-58368-3-Grounded-Outlet-Adapter/dp/B001UE7SC8/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1351637083&sr=8-12&keywords=3+to+1+ac+adapter
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=bl_sr_electronics?_encoding=UTF8&field-brandtextbin=TRAVEL%20READY&node=172282

  9. 9
    Josh says:

    Dmitriy: The link you provided doesn’t have anything comparable to version one or two imo.

  10. 10
    Smythe Richbourg says:

    @thsu
    Glad you had a relaxing trip! Last time we were out of the country, we were constantly having to juggle chargers, because we were in a different place each night, and never left our electronics in the room. I did take an extension cable, which helped with my wife’s laptop, and the camera chargers, etc. but having one unit provide charging for both phones (in airplane mode), the iPad, and the extra phone we had for in-country calls. Every trip is unique, as are travelers. That’s why we cover such a variety of gadgets!

    @Josh
    Looks like they have added that top slug to the description for the Rev. 1 unit. So, you’re right, the two units are identical in specs. I had the Rev. 2 sent to me, so it’s what I tested.

  11. 11
    Dmitriy says:

    Oh, you are lazy ;-)

    http://dx.com/p/universal-travel-usb-ac-powered-4-port-hub-with-eu-plug-white-2-round-pin-plug-132107

    Less than ten dollars. Eu adapter only (i don’t need another), but theres some models with many adapters there.

  12. 12
    Josh says:

    Dmitriy: The link you offered was just wrong. I could go all over the internet to search for comparable products but I have better things to do with my time.

    As far as the item you just linked to… I would rather go with the Arctic brand. They provide a warranty and they have been selling computer parts for many years. I would trust them over a no-brand from DX. Plus there are many consumer reviews for the Arctic product. There are NONE for the product you listed.

    In the United states you can get a rev 1 for about the same price maybe a bit more but you will have a warranty and the piece of mind that you aren’t ordering junk.

    Smythe: So the question is, did the REV1 always have the same specs they are just now advertising a REV2 that is essentially the same? Since you are a reviewer perhaps you can contact the company and ask for the answer to these questions. Are the REV1′s being sold currently the same or not and what is the actual difference. Thanks.

  13. 13
    Josh says:

    John: Your Ipad is specced for either 2amps or 2.1amps. It should have no problem being charged from a 2 amp charger that works correctly. Take a look at the back bottom of your IPAD and or the fine print on your OEM IPAD charger for the official notification.

  14. 14
    thsu says:

    @Smythe Richbourg
    One of my secrets to having a relaxing trip is to spend as little time traveling around as possible.

    It would drive me nuts to do a whirlwind trip of Europe, spending each day in a different city. You end up wasting half the day (sometimes more) dealing with travel, packing, and hotel arraignments. Then you spend the rest of the day running around from tourist attraction to tourist attraction, on a strict time table, in order to see everything you want.

    It is far more enjoyable, at least to me, to spend 4-5 nights per city, before moving on, with some day trips in between (like Montserrat near Barcelona or Stonehenge near London) to break things up.

  15. 15
    Ian Lim says:

    Hey Smythe, don’t bring your Arctic down to Australia :)
    (but you can bring your Apple adapter)

  16. 16
    John Kes says:

    @Josh: my 4 port charger can put out 2A, but only 0.5A per port. 0.5A is not enough for an iPad2. Last trip, I charged my iPhone with the 4 port charger and charged the iPad2 with my iPhone charger [secretly(?) capable of 1A].

  17. 17
    Dmitriy says:

    America was made by the gods of marketing :-)

    Just BUY this, because it’s BRAND NAME :-)

  18. 18
    Peter says:

    The price is not everything. It seems that 30$ versus 10$ is a lot of money, but I would rather use a brand name charger then some Chinese knock-off. It charges your expensive gadgets…
    http://www.arcfn.com/2012/11/teardown-of-mysterious-kms-4-port-usb.html
    http://www.arcfn.com/2012/03/inside-cheap-phone-charger-and-why-you.html

  19. 19
    Jeannie says:

    According to their website, i think ver.2 differs from the ver.1 as it supports all smartphones and tablets. Imo, i will just go for advanced model lol (why get the old one)
    And i personally wouldn’t suggest using those non-branded chargers, as i don’t want to put my ipad into risk for only a $10-$20 difference….

  20. 20
    Memes says:

    Rev2 take care of Apple Fast Charge (some fiddling with D+ D- pins in the USB port) while rev 1 does not.

    The cheap models I bought so far were claiming it but I burned more than one, this one is stable so far (Yes, I have one already :) )

  21. 21
    Junky says:

    I have used the USB charger similar to what Dmitriy mentioned earlier, from the following link: http://dx.com/p/universal-travel-usb-ac-powered-4-port-hub-with-eu-plug-white-2-round-pin-plug-132107

    I was impressed by the charger as it was able to charge my iPad quite fast. But it gave out a frying smell when i used up all 4 ports. That was when I learned that it does not have a ‘circuit breaker’ to detect if the devices has overload it. So I would advise caution if you are buying this generic USB charger.

    That is why I find the Arctic Charger Pro 4 Rev 2 to be a much superior product. I have used it on all my trips, be it business or leisure and I have not had any problems with it. It has that ‘circuit breaker’ safety feature which will not charge all your devices should you overload it.
    I blogged about the Arctic charger here: http://partsandpc.blogspot.sg/2013/10/arctic-charger-pro-4-rev-2-usb-charger.html

    And the generic USB charger here:
    http://partsandpc.blogspot.sg/2012/12/travel-essentials-usb-charger.html

  22. 22
    Sarah says:

    Guys, just a heads up! This review says that you can actually only charge two-three gadgets at once http://www.slinkystudio.info/reviews/2013/9/22/arctic-charger-pro-4-review.html

    Four USB ports doesn’t mean you can charge four iPad’s, probably only two.

Leave a Reply