Wednesday, January 4, 2023

A multi-charger-power bank combo


When I travel, all my Apple gears comes with me, including an iPhone 14, Apple Watch, iPad and Airpods Pro. Now I have a device that will charge all of those gadgets at the same time, even when I'm not plugged into AC power.

It's called the VanSmaGo Magsafe Charging Station.  It's designed to be both an every day charging station for your desk or bedside table or a wireless battery pack when you're the road. 

The VanSmaGo charger has a pleasant and efficient design. The panel that contains the Magsafe charging ring can be used when it's fully horizontal or tilted up to display the phone's face and reveal the earpod charging spot underneath. A rotating arm behind the phone panel pops out to hold and charge an Apple Watch. 

And what about the iPad? You can charge it by plugging a cable into the USB outlet on the side of the charger. Just be sure you use an Apple-approved cable. A couple of cheap cables that I tried would charge my iPad Mini but not a full-sized iPad Air. In all, the VanSmaGo can charge five different devices at once, even if it's not connected to AC power.

A display panel on the front of the charger lights up to show icons for each of the devices that are      drawing power from the internal battery. It also displays a number that tell the pwecentage of available battery power. Using just the battery, the VanSmaGo took my iPhone from 86% to 99% in 40 minutes while drawing the battery down from a full charge to 55%. I think that's a pretty decent performance. 

The charger also has a USB-C port that's labelled IN/OUT. It takes incoming power as the front display ticks off the percentage of stored energy on its way to 100. As an output source, the C port charged my phone and iPad but not the tray that charges batteries for my action cam.

My primary complaint about the charger is the precarious way that it holds my phone when the MagSafe panel is in its near vertical position. If the phone does not have a case, the MagSafe ring has enough magnetic pull to keep the phone in place. But with my Apple-brand MagSafe case, the phone has to rest on the lower lip of the ridge around the camera array. And while it will charge in that position, if the phone is slightly jostled, it breaks the connection. 

Nevertheless, I am impressed enough to make this charger my new go-to travel device.


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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