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Totally ignorant about electronics: Help!

I need a charger and saw this. I saw people talking about this brand. I want the changeable international plugs. We charge at most three electronics at night but have 5 total. I don't know what the small port is for, and I think we need more of the larger ones. Is this a good start? Any other suggestions? And I have an Amazon gift card I have to use up. Help!

Posted by
1713 posts

When you say you need a charger, is this because your existing chargers on your devices don't work? If you have 5 devices and each has a different charger, or if the existing chargers don't work, you might want a universal charger that will work with all of them. But if you have good chargers that work, all you need is plug adapters, which are far less expensive than a universal charger. Search Amazon for "Europe plug adapter" to find some options. RS also sells one in his store, currently on sale for $1.

(If you're going to multiple destinations other than Europe that use different outlet types, then you might want to consider the universal charger.

Posted by
10023 posts

Lane, Thanks. We have lots of European plug adapters. Our place in France was built before the internet and plugs are too few. We have power strips plugged in with adapters for our electronics, but I'd like something neater sitting on a kitchen counter instead of electronics and cords spread around the apartment and we're always looking for them. Actually, I'd prefer an adapter with 4 USB but changeable plugs.

Posted by
6322 posts

I'm about one page ahead of you in the tech-savvy book, but I know that Anker is a good brand and I think the three options for wall plugs make this a good choice for travelers. Hopefully it isn't too heavy. More than two USB-A outlets would be helpful, but with 65 watts this thing should charge most devices pretty quickly. Of course, I'm prepared to be corrected by any teenager who posts here.

The smaller USB-C outlet is something I just found I needed for my new Samsung phone that uses Android. I had to buy an adapter that takes USB-C so I could charge it. You may not need it now but you may in the bright advancing new technological future that we all look forward to with such enthusiasm. ;-)

The tech industry must have some rationale, besides confusing us, for all these variables, but damned if I know what it is!

Posted by
492 posts

With the older USB (USB-A) standard, even though you pretty much had a 50/50 shot at trying to plug yourself in right way up each time, I somehow managed to have it upside-down near 100% of the time. So the greatest benefit to USB-C (the smaller plug), as far as I'm concerned, is there's no right or wrong way up :)

Beyond that, USB-C does allow for much faster charging, as well as much faster data transfer (like the older standard USB, it works for data transfer and charging). Of course, you can only take advantage of that faster charging and faster data transfer if the device you're plugging in can take advantage of that faster protocol. Further, not everyone necessarily needs faster charging or faster data transfer.

So really what's most important is whether your devices, and the cords you have for them, fit for that adapter. So long as they do, there's likely no need to drill down in to the detailed tech specs as most of the devices out there (phones, tablets, even laptops, kindles, etc) will work with one or both USB-C and USB for basic charging.

Posted by
9311 posts

Anker is a good brand. I have a regular U.S. two-USB plug from them that I use at home in the States alone, and at home in France with a U.S.-to-Euro plug adapter.

Posted by
201 posts

As long as we're being honest about our understanding of electronics, I have a related question. I'm also looking at the plug adaptors with all of the different ports. I know that I can plug my phone into the smallest one to charge it because the phone is dual voltage. However, from my research I've found that my Kindle is not dual voltage, but the charging adaptor is. That would mean that I couldn't just plug my Kindle into the USB port. Does this sound correct?

I'm trying to eliminate as many chargers and adaptors as possible.

Posted by
2265 posts

musicmoll1
Which model/age of Kindle do you have? It seems unlikely that it isn't dual-voltage. My Kindle Fire is and I have traveled with it in Europe.

Posted by
14573 posts

If you are talking about a Kindle ereader you will be fine. I've traveled all over the world with mine using a universal charger. As long as the USB charger is dual voltage (110-240) it will automatically convert it to what the Kindle needs. USB is universal.

I use the same charger for my phone, tablet, noise canceling headphones, bluetooth earbuds, etc.

Posted by
201 posts

LIZ inPA and Frank II,

I have the newest 8" Fire tablet. I know that I can use the charging adaptor that came with the device in Europe, but if I can just plug the USB end of the cord into an outlet adaptor I can eliminate the charging block.

I used to travel with a Kindle HDX fire that had a charger with interchangeable plugs. I always used that charger, so I don't know if the Kindle was dual voltage or the charger was. The newer Kindles do not have that charger; they've opted for a wireless dock instead.
The chargers that come with Kindles are dual voltage, so that may be where the step-down of the current is happening.

Worst case scenario I'll just use the Kindle charger with a plug adaptor.

It's nice to have this kind of problem to worry about again.

Posted by
9311 posts

Bets, I am so glad you mentioned this charger with adapter plugs. I’ve ordered one myself !!!

Will keep me from having to take my U.S.-to-Europe plug with me when I am traveling only in France or Italy!!

It's expensive at about 45€, but I have always been pleased with the Anker products i have, so I think it's worth it.

Posted by
10023 posts

Kim, I ordered one too. I find the stable plugs better than adapters for the same reason. I'll keep it at our place in France.
Skunklet's looks very good for travel though.

Posted by
2381 posts

Review my post from last winter about GaN being the newer standard when you're making decisions - and I agree Anker is a good brand, but not the only one.
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/tech-tips/consider-asking-santa-for-a-new-travel-charger

For esthetic considerations like the kitchen counter or the desk, check out this shape:
https://us.anker.com/products/a2763?
(not necessarily that specific one, just pointing out the cube [fuzzy dice] shape)

Posted by
10023 posts

Avi-- that's a nifty little charger but it says 125V. I'm using 220 half the year.