How To: Choose the Right Charger for Your Device

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A great variety of devices creates a greater variety of compatible chargers, which in its turn creates an even greater confusion for the end-point users. What happens if you left your micro USB charge some place kilometers away, and when the time comes to charge your smarpthone or tablet, you face the need to go shopping for that extra charger? In most cases, people buy a cheapie in the nearest SevenEleven and plug it in, but wait.. what’s taking so long? Your phone used to take 3 hours to charge, and now it’s not even half charged after 5 hours.

Clearly, chargers differ a lot, even though they appear to look the same, so an average consumer can easily confuse them, and provided the retailer fails to give you a proper consultation on your cheap purchase, you run the risk of killing your device’s battery because that is the greatest risk of using the wrong charger to your device.

These buying tips may come handy the next time you need to buy an extra charger for your device to fit its power requirements.

Let us get some basics out of the way first. Three major things define charging power:

P – Power, measured in Watts

I – Current, measured in amps or milliamps

V – Voltage, measured in volts.

P=IV, or the amount of power is the product of current multiplied by voltage.

Tablets have bigger batteries than smartphones, so chargers made for tablets deliver a higher current of energy.

Let us take a look at an example with Retina iPad Mini.

A Lightning connector plugged in your Mac via USB does a pretty good job charging the device t 2.5 Watts, 5 Volts at 500mA.

So does the iPhone charger plugged into a wall socket, with 5 Watts, 5 Volts at 1000 mA.

Likewise, we use an iPad charger plugged into a wall socket, with 10 Watts, 5.1 volts at 2100 mA.

The above-mentioned chargers will charge your mini, but the first method using the USB connector and charging from your Mac will do the job 4 times slower than the device’s native iPad charger. The same vice versa, if you use a tablet’s charger for your smartphone, the latter will take a lot less time to charge than usually.

It is worth noting that some devices charge at the same 1A of current irrespective of the charger. You will not render your device beyond repair if you play a little with the same brand chargers, as in the case with the example we just discussed. However, if you get any charger that is cheap and by some unrecognizable Asian brand, there is no guarantee your battery will not complain.

There are some things to consider when you buy an emergency purchase of extra charger for your smartphone or tablet. One item on the list is the logo that states the international standards compliance of the charger. CE mark can be faked easily, so make sure that both the C and E make an approximate half circle, making one full circle if you would link them together.

Another sign of a cheap fake charger is when the current and power output abbreviations are capitalized incorrectly – MA instead of mA and the like. No sign of manufacturer’s details on the package is also a bad indicator.