It all used to be so simple. Get a USB cable, plug it into your phone or tablet and the other end into a wall USB charger or a free USB port on your PC and let your device charger. Simple. Then two things happened – the first is easy to explain – we all got a lot more devices. The first response was to just add more ports so you can charge more things at once from one wall plug.
The second needs a little more thought. Every device has an ideal wattage that it can charge at. They can accept lower or higher wattages than they prefer but this slows the charge time down significantly. In the past chargers were dumb – they put out a certain wattage usually that which would work with whatever device they came with and that’s it. The iClever BoostCube is designed to fix both problems in a small packable package. Multiple devices is easy – the BoostCube lets you plug up to four devices in at once.
The trick is in the wattage levels. The BoostCube can output a total of 8Amps across all four ports and can do it variably with a maximum of 2.4A out of a single port. Translated that means if you’ve got an iPad, a Samsung S7 and an external battery you need recharging the iPad can get 2.4A, the S7 2.4A and the battery another 2.0A leaving 1.2A for a final device. iClever say that their technology can identify specific devices and adjust automatically and while they’re not clear about how it does this it does seem to work. I tested the BoostCube with a range of devices some of which are rather obscure and it managed to adjust to them all. If it’s a device it recognises it goes straight to the ideal level and if it’s more unusually it builds slowly until the device stops accepting the higher charge then cuts back to a level just below that.
Price: Around £13 on Amazon
Paid extras: The unit does not include any cables – you’ll need to provide your own.
iClever was formed in 2010 as a consumer electronics manufacturer and designs, makes and sells a range of products including chargers, FM transmitters, tablets and bluetooth devices. We’ve previously reviewed a 6 port desktop charger and USB/Bluetooth keyboard from them.
The unit is very simple in external design – an integrated UK plug with a box coming out of it with four USB ports. These four ports have a blue LED inside them that is not particularly bright but does serve to make them obvious even in lower light conditions. I found that if I had four USB cables plugged in the LED’s were still visible in a very dark room but barely. The unit has no switches, buttons or adjustability.
- Target audience: Those who have too many devices and not enough plugs and want a solution that can be packed and adapted.
- Optimized for left or right handed, one or two handed use
- Indoor use only
The unit costs £13 delivered via Amazon which is good value for something that can charge four devices on the go and is so compact. You could get a cheaper solution by having the four original chargers (if they have them!) instead but that would take up four sockets, be much harder to transport and would waste much more energy when the device were not charging.
Product dimensions: 6.3 x 9.6 x 3.8 cm including integrated plug, maximum dimensions
Materials: Gloss plastic
Decibels: Quiet – did not register on our decibel metre above background noise
Release date: April 2016
Model number: IC-TCO4
Input: AC 100-240V, 50-60Hz, 1000mA max
Output: DC 5.0V 8A total, Individual 2.4A max
USB Type: USB Standard
Plug type: UK standard
Warranty: 12 months against manufacturing defects
The unit requires a standard wall socket. It overlaps the socket by less than half a centimetre above and just under two centimetres below and protrudes from the wall just under 7cm not including cables.
The BoostCube is a smart unit in that it can adjust the amperage given to the devices plugged into but it does not have QuickCharge – a Qualcomm standard that allows for faster charging on some devices.
The iClever BoostCube takes the simple wall charger and updates it with four ports and the ability to up and down shift it’s amperage speeds up your charge times which is what we all want. The whole package is small enough compact enough to take with you on the go. The only real drawback is that it isn’t QuickCharge compatible which means that some users won’t get the fastest possible charge speeds from it – but you will get decent speeds. Recommended for those who take several devices on the go.
The review is based on the iClever BoostCube 40W 4-Port USB Wall Charger kindly provided by iClever. Click to read more about our eco icons, access icons and feature icons used in this review. This article was first published on 14th June 2016.