When we travel, our work schedule demands that we bring along our laptop computers as well as other mobile devices. Often, we find ourselves on long drives where keeping our devices charged is essential.
In the past, we had used power inverters that plug into a car’s accessory/cigarette lighter outlet. These boxes included a standard three-prong power outlet as well as one or two USB ports. But they are sometimes noisy and always a bit bulky for carrying inside a computer bag already stuffed with accessories.
We recently upgraded our computers to laptops that exclusively use the new USB-C connector for both power as well as external connections to support devices. So we went looking for a USB-C car charger solution.
Fortunately, we found the RapidX XCPlus Type C Charger – a very compact car charger that has both a built-in USB-C cord as well as a standard USB port.
Unlike many car chargers, the body of the XCPlus unit is a low-profile rectangular shape, and slides easily into accessory pockets on laptop bags or backpacks. The spring-loaded side contacts fit snugly into the car power outlet, and the USB-C connector makes the typically solid connection to the computer’s port.
The unit’s USB-C cable is a little over three feet long, which is an adequate length for powering a computer while seated in a car. An advantage of having a built-in USB-C cord is that you don’t have to use your computer’s bulky power cord – simply plug the XCPlus cord directly into the computer’s USB-C port.
The body of the XCPlus also features a 2.4Amp USB-A port that accepts standard USB cords for powering cell phones and tablets. Just plug your USB cord into the unit and then into your portable device.
In our tests, the unit lives up to its stated goal of charging a computer rather fast. A new Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer charged from a battery level of 25% to almost 75% in about two hours – not bad for a 5Volt – 3Amp power supply delivered via a car charging port. A mobile phone connected to the 2.4Amp USB port on the unit also charged rather quickly.
There may be faster chargers on the market, but few provide the convenience, portability and value of the XPlus. It’s a welcome addition to any business person’s technology accessory bag.
The RapidX XCPlus comes in several colors and retails for $19.99. Models can be found online for $15.99.
X5 Multi-Port USB Car Charger
RapidX also makes the X5 Car Charger, a companion device for those who are looking for a multiple-port USB solution. This unit has five USB ports in total – two USB ports on the main body that plugs into the car charger port, with an additional three USB ports on a separate pod connected to the main body via a five foot connecting cord. The separate pod is supplied with a sliding holster and clip that can be attached to a surface such as a rear seat pocket to provide easy access to passengers in the second or third row of a vehicle.
The compact X5 is perfect for a family outing where everyone would like to keep their mobile devices powered for the entire trip. The X5 retails for $24.99 and also comes in several colors.