It's time to be smart about car chargers

For demanding energy requirements
by Dinzo Tabamo | Aug 25, 2016

From a certain perspective, charging modern gadgets is a simple affair. For smartphones, especially, you only need either a micro-USB connector if you’re in the Android camp, or Lightning cables if you’re an Apple user. With these two formats, we just mix and match between adapters, USB ports and car chargers with ease.

But over time, power-intensive apps that use GPS and mobile data became popular. Combined with the popularity of smartphones with big screens, we noticed our gadgets draining much faster than before. One of the best examples is navigation apps like Waze.

You may have experienced the phenomenon of your Samsung Galaxy Note or iPhone 6 Plus charging ever so slowly—or even being depleted—despite being plugged into your trusty car charger. Without getting too technical, it’s easy to deduce the problem: The smartphone is using more juice than what the charger can provide. So it’s time to level up.

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We attended the launch of a promising tech brand recently, and one line it was highlighting was its car chargers. The company’s name is Tronsmart, and it reminded us of the popular US brand Anker.

The devices are packaged in nondescript labels and boxes, which are actually quite tasteful. We were shown three kinds of car chargers for different needs: the tri-port C3PTA, the single-port CC1T, and the dual-port C2PTU.

The C3PTA is easily our favorite because it can accept three gadgets at the same time. It’s perfect for your mahilig maki-charge friends. Two of the ports have a feature called VoltIQ, and will charge at the fastest speed your device can safely accommodate.

The third port uses technology called Quick Charge that’s developed by Qualcomm, the company that makes most of the chips inside smartphones today. If a Quick Charge 3.0—the latest format—compatible gadget is plugged in, the port will charge up to 4X faster than a regular USB port. The list of mobile phones that have Quick Charge 3.0 isn’t long, but expect it to grow in the future.

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The CC1T is a basic one-slot charger with Quick Charge 3.0, and it’s good enough for most people.

What really impressed us was the C2PTU. This has one Quick Charge 3.0 slot and an ahead-of-its-time USB Type-C port with VoltIQ. For those unfamiliar with USB Type-C, it’s touted to be the connection standard that everyone will use in the future. As of now its main users are Google’s Nexus smartphones and the Apple MacBook. But Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 7 came out with a USB Type-C port, and that signaled an important industry shift. In this regard, the C2PTU is a future-proof item, and could well be the first USC Type-C car charger in the country.

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So how much do these power accessories cost? Well, they won’t break the bank, but they’re not cheap either. The basic CC1T costs P630, the versatile C3PTA goes for P990, and the advanced C2PTU is priced at P980.

With our growing reliance on Waze and other navigation apps—and our search for Pokemons—it’s more important than ever that our smartphones stay topped up. Know what you’re buying the next time you look for a car charger.  

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PHOTO: Drei Laurel
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