Smartphones have put many conveniences in the palm our hands, but if you ask modern users which aspect of a phone they’d like improved the most, we’d be surprised if the majority didn’t list battery life. Charging a phone daily is increasingly common with modern handsets, and being away from a mains socket for any length of time can be a genuine concern.
TomTom seeks to address this with a modern twist on the in-car charger, modifying the standard in-car cigarette lighter charger to include two full-sized USB ports that allow additional gadgets to be hooked up simultaneously.
Sturdy and stylish
It’s a solid and attractive looking device that looks like it would fare far longer than the cheaper in-car adaptors that are doing the rounds on eBay. It offers a fairly short (1.5in) arm to plug into a cigarette lighter, and a standard lighter output at the other end along with the two USB ports, one of which is marked ‘fast charge’. An LED light to let you know that it’s receiving charge, which might come in more useful than you’d think.
One rather common problem with in-car adaptors is that due to the varied designs of typical ash-trays in modern motors, it can be difficult to insert them fully if the lighter port is mounted deep inside the dashboard. We got lucky during our tests, and found that it just about fit snugly enough for the power LED to light up. We’d imagine that the majority of users won’t have any issues here, but it’s certainly something worth considering, along with the fact that the lower-set USB port can be problematic. With a cable attached, it does add extra bulk which result in difficulties inserting it.
Performance and charging
To test the performance of the TomTom – which claims to charge up to four times faster than conventional accessories – we did some short-charge tests using an HTC Desire smartphone. By means of comparison, we ran similar tests using both a standard power connection and USB data cable, and discovered that TomTom fares quite well.
Using a regular mains charger, the device’s battery was boosted by eight per cent in 10 minutes, compared to just two per cent in 10 minutes via the USB data cable. The TomTom beat the data cable performance by some distance – achieving a five per cent boost in 10 minutes.
It should be noted, though, that we saw no difference between the TomTom’s ‘fast charge’ and standard charge port, and no difference if a GPS device is also attached to the main connector. This is pretty good going, when you consider that it’s over twice as fast as a data connection – and the ability to charge up to three devices at once is a significant bonus.
At £19.99 the TomTom certainly isn’t cheap compared to some rivals, but for those who would commonly use a GPS and phone (plus another device to keep a passenger amused, such as a tablet) we think the benefits make that premium worthwhile.
Contact: TomTom on +31 (0)20 757 5000
- Sturdy, attractively designed and charges up to three devices with no drop in performance.
- It may not fit into cars with deep-set cigarette lighters, a bit pricey.
The TomTom Multi-Charger is a sturdy, attractive and versatile device that offers good charging performance on the road and though it's a bit more than you might want to pay, the benefits could more than make up for it. Just make sure it'll fit before you shell out your hard earned cash.