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Everything you ever wanted to know about USB chargers, but were afraid to ask…


It’s surprising how many things we take for granted. Like the little light that goes on when you open the fridge and the serrated edge on steak knives. One other item we tend to overlook is the humble and yet oh so crucial USB charger. There’s no such thing as a ‘retina charger‘ is there, and people don’t don black turtle necks to extol the virtues of this year’s new charger block on stage.

But where would we be without them? Did you know, for instance, that a poorly designed or fake charger can not only damage your device but also damage you? And can you tell a real from a counterfeit charger?

Luckily there are enough real geeks around to straighten us out, and one such is Ken Shirriff, who has created a masterful page on his site devoted to the plucky little USB charger in all its glory. Not only does he take a long hard look at a range of these little beggars, but he also gives lots of useful information on how to select the best one, and more importantly how to avoid buying a potentially lethal counterfeit model.


Even among genuine products there are marked differences in quality and output. Belkin chargers for example are not great on handling power spikes, and the Apple iPad charger is pretty poor in terms of managing voltage sag. Whodaguessed?


All in all, beware cheap eBay products and if you absolutely want to be safe, buy your replacements from the original manufacturer if possible. The product review is certainly not exhaustive, but it makes a great reference point if you’re having unexplained problems with your phone or device not charging properly and can’t understand why. Bookmark it, and join us nerds.

How to tell the difference between a real and fake iPhone charger –

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