Review – AUKEY USB Charger (42W 3-Port QuickCharge 3)

Introducing the AUKEY USB Charger

I travel extensively, and while I have numerous power bricks and cables for my home office, I needed something that would be light and portable for the road, able to charge multiple devices, and support QuickCharge for the devices I carry that support it. My search lead me to the AUKEY USB Charger, formally known as the AUKEY 42W 3-Port USB Desktop Charging Station, found here on Amazon for $25.99.

The AUKEY USB Charger

Disclosure: This product was purchased with my own funds and was not provided by any manufacturer or vendor.

Initial Impressions

The AUKEY USB Charger is compact and relatively lightweight, but with enough heft to make it clear you’re getting something with the ability to properly charge multiple devices simultaneously. At 7*4.8*2.6cm / 2.76*1.89*1.02in (L*W*H) it’s not particularly large, and at 106g/3.7oz it’s not going to weigh down your kit, especially considering how many power bricks it can replace. The power prongs fold into the body of the device, keeping it nice and compact during travel.

I’ve paired this adapter with a short MicroUSB cable and a short USB-C cable for charging my Lumia 950XL and other devices and it makes for a nice compact kit for all my charging needs.

Charging Power

This adapter certain can handle plenty of power draw, especially when using the Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 port. I’ve tested it with a RAVPower 20100mAh Power Bank and found that it can bring the unit to a full charge from fully depleted a full third faster than a 3A USB-C charger, and it would certainly be even faster than a standard 2.4A MicroUSB charger. In real-world use that is a full charge in 5 hours instead of 7.5 hours. While I don’t have a QuickCharge 3 end device to test with, I’d have to say the results I’ve seen with be similar with QC3.0 smartphones.

The AUKEY USB Charger works well when charging multiple devices, and I didn’t see any impact on charge times when charging multiple devices.

Conclusion

The AUKEY USB Charger is not only a decent price for what it provides, but is good value for the money. It provides a nice portable and lightweight charging solution for the frequent traveler who carries multiple devices, and also has the internals to carry multiple devices at home.

Get it at Amazon.com.

Review – Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2 (2016 Version)

Introducing the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2
Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2

The original Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter was released in 2014 and has been part of my travel kit for some time. It was compact, functional, and was usable with Continuum on my Lumia 950XL, at least most of the time.

In early March 2016, Microsoft introduced the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2 (product page), a successor and improvement to their previous offering. With this revision Microsoft has made several improvements to the Wireless Display Adapter, both for Continuum and mobile users with other devices.

Disclosure: This product was purchased with my own funds and was not provided by any manufacturer or vendor.
 

Physical Updates

The first thing you notice when you compare the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2 to its predecessor is the change in how the device is arranged:

Comparison of The Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V1 and V2

While the original V1 of the Wireless Display Adapter placed all the electronics in a single unit with a USB connector on a one foot wire, the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2 has split the internals into two units and placed them on opposite ends of the wire.

The benefit to the new design is that it helps ensure the adapter can fit behind monitors and televisions that are mounted to the wall. Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2 with Extension CableThe new adapter ends up being around one inch shorter than the V1 adapter, but that can be made up with the included extension cable.

The extension cable adds six inches to the adapter’s sixteen inch length, making it suitable for most TVs and monitors. Microsoft made an interesting choice with V2, providing a USB Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2 connected to a hotel TV.extension cable instead of the HDMI extension cable provided previously. I’d say the choice was made because the larger size of the previous adapter required an HDMI extension for tight spaces behind TVs, where this one does not.

 

UI Updates

The previous version of the adapter would show a very basic screen:

Default Connect Screen

While this was enough to get going, the new UI really is a step up:

Start Screen for Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2

This new screen makes it very easy to see which adapter you are connecting to (useful if you have more than one adapter nearby), as well as clear instructions on how to connect to the adapter (assuming you’re using Windows 10).

Continuum

One noticeable improvement (among several) with the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2 is when using it with Continuum with a Windows 10 mobile Device, such as my Microsoft Lumia 950 XL.

My Windows 10 Continuum Workstation

The V2 adapter has less lag when working with a phone in Continuum mode than the previous V1 adapter. I find the V2 adapter doesn’t provide any noticeable lag in my use. It’s far closer to the dock experience even with video running through Microsoft Edge, using both Netflix and Youtube in my testing.

Using the V2 adapter, combined with my Microsoft Arc Mouse and Foldable Keyboard I have a very compact, lightweight workstation that can be attached to any HDMI display with a nearby USB port (and there’s always USB extension cables and Wall Chargers if you don’t have a port nearby).

Other Devices

I was also able to use the V2 adapter with my Windows 10 laptop to wireless project to my TV without lag or any other issues. Where previously I used a longer cable plugged directly between the laptop and TV to send watch streams and video, the wireless adapter proved to be a much better choice, and being able to run the wireless display as a second stream made things easier when I wanted to watch a stream and catch up on some email, all without lag!

Conclusion

Microsoft Wireless Adapter V2, Closed.The Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2 is an incremental, but quite welcome upgrade to the previous V1 version. It eliminates the lag of its predecessor while assuming a form factor that is easier to use in cramped quarters like those found behind a wall-mounted screen.

If you are using the adapter for strict display mirroring to watch videos and display pictures, the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V1 is on sale for $29.99 (available here) and may be more economical, but if you are planning to use Continuum with a Windows Phone or mirror a display for gaming or more interactive use, you’re better off buying the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2 for $49.95 (available here).