Hardware Notes: Anker 40W 5-Port USB Charger

001.pngYou know how, when you have a dozen or so devices to charge, that it gets increasingly complicated to charge them? You only have so many USB ports on your computer to plug them in, and it’s annoying to keep playing musical USB ports with your cables.

Here in The Barn, I’ve got lots of stuff (and I’ll only list my own devices, not my partner’s): iPhone, Android phone, iPad air, iPad mini, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod shuffle, digital camera, Kindle, Bluetooth headphones, FitBit; there are probably a couple of others I don’t see.

To charge these devices, I’m constantly moving them around, disconnecting their cables, and connecting them to one of my Macs, or to a wall charger (for the iOS devices).

A couple of months ago, I spotted this Anker 40W 5-Port USB Charger (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), for a mere £20 on Amazon UK (it’s currently $26 on Amazon.com). It plugs into the wall, and has five USB ports that can charge any device that connects to that type of port. They say it’s a “smart” charger, adapting its voltage to the device. I don’t have anything to measure it, but it’s certainly made my life easier. I keep it on a shelf, with five cables sticking out of it, and use it to charge everything that’s not an iOS device; I charge those from my Mac, most of the time, when I sync them. (I also charge my iPhone with a wall charger overnight.)

It’s a life-saver. No longer do I have, well, all my devices on my desk; it’s still a mess, but less than before. For devices that don’t sync, there’s no need to ever connect them to my Mac, and I have half a shelf in a bookcase with the charger and a bunch of cables. I keep some cables connected to the charger all the time; I leave one free port to connect others as needed.

It’s a small device, about the size of a pack of cigarettes, and it’s one of the most practical gadgets I’ve bought in a long time. Until we get wireless charging for our portable devices, this is the best way to keep them juiced.