When To Charge Up Using an Outlet vs. USB and Why

When To Charge Up Using an Outlet vs. USB and Why

Joelle Alcaidinho
Mar 14, 2012

Charging terminals are popping up all over public spaces, airports, and airplanes these days and for those of us toting smartphones (perpetually dying iPhone I'm looking at you) and tablets these are a very welcome sight. Many of these terminals, like the one shown above, have the option of using USB or 110-V AC power so how do you choose which to use when your gadgets can use either?

We're going to let you in a not-so-big secret: when it comes to charging your tablet, opt for AC outlet every single time.

Why? The power demands of tablets like the iPads are a bit too much for the USB charging kiosks (this is also true for the USB ports on airplanes), and as a result will only charge when the device is powered down.

While the USB option is a solid one for smartphones (we've yet to come across a smartphone and kiosk combo that this won't work on) depending on your handset, you might get a faster charge if opting for the AC power.

Traveling with the tech trinity of a laptop, tablet and smartphone? Depending upon the model of your laptop, your best bet might be to plug the laptop into the AC charging station and charge your portable devices via the USB ports on your laptop. Make sure to check that both devices are charging (after a few minutes) while plugged into your laptop as many laptops do not have support for charging two devices and will often charge only the smartphone and not the tablet.

Of course, sometimes with the demand that these charging kiosks have you don't have much of a choice and often are left with whatever port is free. A good rule of thumb is to opt for AC and bring a handy unit like this one to charge multiple devices simultaneously. These devices are great especially when traveling with others who are also vying for the same port.

(Images: Delta blog, Joelle Alcaidinho)

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