Review

Review of the Tronsmart C2PTU car charger with Quick Charge 3.0 and USB-C

Let's be honest, most of us own at least one car charger with a USB port. Heck, I own two of them and my car even has its own USB port. The problem is that many of them are terrible.

And that's just the problem. Finding a USB car charger can be tough. You can buy one from the OEM that made your phone, but those can tend to be expensive. You can grab a third party one, but for all you know, your device will charge from 0%-5% during a one-hour drive (this is what my car chargers are like).

When Tronsmart reached out with an offer to review a car charger with not only Quick Charge 3.0 but both USB Type-A and USB Type-C ports, I simply couldn't resist.

General usage

While Tronsmart C2PTU is certainly a mouthful to say, the charger itself is incredibly useful. In fact, it's one of few devices that should be useful to just about everybody.

You don't need a Quick Charge 3.0 device. In fact, there are only three devices on the market that support the technology: the HTC 10, One A9, and LG G5 (according to Qualcomm). There's a fourth device on the list - the HP Elite x3 - but that won't be out until this summer.

If you're an Apple user, you can charge your iPhone and MacBook in your car at the same time. If you're not, you can probably charge your tablet and your phone (assuming one of them uses USB Type-C).

Personally, I'm someone who carries multiple phones at a time (usually about three), so this gadget has been very useful to me. It takes me about an hour to drive to the place where I do camera tests and with the C2PTU, I get over an 80% charge.

Of course, as mentioned above, that depends on the device in a big way. Qualcomm also provides a list of 23 devices that support Quick Charge 2.0. There's also quite a few devices that use fast charging technology that's not Qualcomm's Quick Charge, such as Google's latest Nexus devices and Microsoft's Lumia 950 and 950 XL.

In short, pretty much any device benefits with the C2PTU.

Design

Yes, I know. It's a car charger, so why does the design matter?

I suppose it might not, depending on the placement of the charging port in your vehicle (so I'll try to keep this part short); however, for some, it could be a hassle to have a huge charger sticking out of your dashboard.

Luckily, this charger is very small, coming in at 3x2x1.1 inches. The Tronsmart C2PTU will charge your device, while conveniently staying out of your way while driving.

Testing

While I used the C2PTU with a number of devices, the main devices that I tested it with were the HTC 10 and the LG Nexus 5X. The other main devices that I used were the Microsoft Lumia 950 and iPhone 6s Plus; however, I wasn't able to find any iOS or Windows apps that will tell me how fast the device was charging.

Let's start with the HTC 10. I tested this device using a USB Type-A to USB Type-C adapter (USB 2.0), a USB Type-C cable (USB 3.1), and with a USB Type-C wall charger.

USB Type-A USB Type-C Wall charger

I did find it interesting that in every instance of the test that I did, the HTC 10 performed better when using the USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable. Nevertheless, the results show that the charger does its job, which is to charge the device as fast as a wall charger does.

The charger does clearly label the USB Type-A port as Quick Charge 3.0; however, it labels the USB Type-C port as 3A. At three amps, it should certainly be able to support the technology.

Keep in mind that Qualcomm's Quick Charge technology works by drawing in additional power when the battery is low. This is why Qualcomm will promise that you can go from 0-80% in 35 minutes, but that last 20% takes much longer.

Next up is the Nexus 5X, for which the same tests were done. Note that while the HTC 10 uses Quick Charge 3.0, the Nexus 5X does not, although it does use fast charging technology. In fact, we do know that Quick Charge 3.0 breaks the rules of the official USB Type-C specification, although Qualcomm says it's safe.

Contrary to what we saw from the HTC 10, the Nexus 5X always seemed to charge faster when using the USB Type-C cable. Oddly enough, charging speed seemed sporadic at best no matter what charger I used. Still, the point is to show that the C2PTU does its job, and it passed the test.

Of course, it wouldn't be a full test unless we used both ports at the same time. As you may have guessed by this point, results will vary by which device uses which port. The first test will be with the HTC 10 using the USB Type-C port and the Nexus 5X using the USB Type-A port.

HTC 10 Nexus 5X

At this point, it's worth noting that in this test, both devices used the port where they got a lesser charge in their respective individual tests. Now, let's try it the other way around.

As you can see, we achieve much better results just by switching up the ports.

Conclusion

When writing up a review of something, I generally come up with a list of pros and cons, and then weigh them against each other. I honestly couldn't think of any cons for the Tronsmart C2PTU. Of course, it's a charger, so if there was a con, it would make the device not worth having at all.

After all, it's a car charger, it works well, and it's fairly cheap. You can grab one from Amazon.com for $19.99 with Prime shipping, or you can get it from Amazon.ca for CAD$19.99.

The Tronsmart C2PTU is a device that made my life easier while using it, and it didn't make my life any harder, which is a very rare quality for a gadget. What I mean by that is that no matter how good our technology is, there's always that one thing that goes wrong that 1% of the time. This charger did its job and it did it well.

Update: Tronsmart has provided us with coupon codes so you can get one for even less. The code 'C2PTUUSB' will get you $9 off of the Amazon.com listing and '2VPN6A9M' will get you $5 off of the Amazon.ca listing.

Verdict
9.5
No complaints
Tronsmart C2PTU
Pros
USB Type-A and USB Type-C Quick Charge 3.0 Reasonable price Small size
Cons
Could be cheaper
Price
$19.99
Release
September, 2015

 

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