You probably don’t give much thought to your chargers – after all, they come bundled with your devices, and Apple’s especially are mostly well-designed (MagSafe 2). But Kanex’s DoubleUp – which I took with me on a recent whistle-stop tour of Las Vegas and San Francisco – is worth a look if you travel a lot, or even if you just want something a little better, and a little more convenient, than Apple’s free option.
The DoubleUp’s name gives away its gimmick: It has two USB ports. The clever part is that they are both powerful enough to juice a full-sized Retina iPad, giving them each 2.1 amps and supplying up to 21 watts at a time.
The charger looks a little bulky, but is very light, and presumably the extra airspace inside is what keeps the whole thing so cool – it doesn’t heat up like the Apple bricks. It also has neat foldaway prongs, which are great for travel, although less great if you don’t live in the U.S.
Two LEDs work with the plugs, and will indicate charge status if you’re charging iOS devices: amber for not charged and green for “pretty much charged” (green kicks in at around 98% full, depending on the iDevice). For all other gadgets, green glows to tell you that it’s working.
Those prongs don’t lock strongly enough in the open position to let you plug them easily into the wall. You’ll need to go carefully so they don’t fold up on you. At home here in Spain, I have them permanently stuffed into a euro-adapter, and that keeps them under control.
The glowing lamps are also annoying when you sleep. I deal with an excess of blinkenlights every night at home, so I don’t appreciate seeing them in my hotel room, too.
It’s $50, but worth it if you travel. For starters, you can take full advantage of the stingy allocation of hotel power outlets. One socket clearly isn’t enough in 2013, but that’s often what you get. Now at least you can charge your iPad and your iPhone from the bedside outlet.
And remember, the iPhone and iPad mini both charge more quickly from an iPad-rated charger than from their own lowly USB bricks.
Stuck in the airport? If you’re in SFO, you have no problem finding outlets, and even work desks. But elsewhere you’ll be fighting for a few charging stations. With a dual charger you can either non-selfishly charge two gadgets, or hook into an already-occupied socket without causing offense. You could even offer to share!
I found this adapter essential on my travels, and despite its bulk it totally justified its space in my limited luggage.