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Friday, August 05, 2016

Review: MoKo Universal Travel Charger

For years, I traveled with the Kensington travel plug adapter, and in general, I've been pretty happy with it. But it's heavy, at well over 100g, and my older version doesn't have the USB power outs in order to charge devices while keeping my CPAP machine running.

I looked for a lighter one, and the Moko Universal Travel Charger came in at the lightest, at under 70g. Here's how to get it to under 70g. The charger comes in two pieces: one piece has a US standard plug with two USB A outputs at the bottom. The other piece is the actual plug adapter piece, and contains plug adapters for Europe, UK, and various other locations. The European piece is detachable, and you can carry that independent of the other adapters. That cuts the weight down. The secondary fuse is located in the secondary adaptor piece, and given my prior experience with Kensington fuses, I carried it separately (wrapped in tissue and stuffed into a ear plug case), but I never needed it.

The fit and finish of the device is not quite there: in particular, the US plug would not stay put inside the european plug adapter if plugged in facing up (happened in a swiss dormitory), or upside down (on a WOW airline flight). The device makes a buzzing noise on occasion when the USB plugs are in use, but not once did the device fail to charge and the noise is barely noticeable.

The device is indeed physically flimsy: if you stuff it into a dry bag, there's a good chance that the prongs will bend: my solution is to wrap the device in clothing (a bike jersey or bike shorts will do). If the prongs had been made retractable that would have been a great improvement, but probably a bit much for an $11 device.

Testing the device on a tour of the Alps is probably the harshest service anyone can put it through. Given that it worked and was the lightest solution I could find, it deserves to be recommended.

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