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InCharge X5 charges 5 iPads, iPhones, and iPods

Dan Frakes | Jan. 7, 2013
With hundreds of millions of iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch models sold, there's a good chance that if your family owns one iOS device, you own two or three...or four or five. With a myriad of cables and chargers strewn about the house, is there a better (read: neater and more convenient) way?

Along the top of the X5 are five 30-pin dock connectors, each with an adjustable support behind it. Instead of using Apple's Universal Dock design with recessed cradles, the X5's cradles each feature a dock connector that extends slightly above the base. This approach offers compatibility with thin iPad, iPhone, and iPod cases, as well as cases that leave the bottom edge of your device exposed.

Press the button on top of one of these supports and you can slide it forward or back--there's a total of about half an inch of play--to fit the thickness of whichever device you want to charge. To properly configure a cradle, you just slide the support all the way back; place an iPad, iPhone, or iPod on the dock connector; make sure your device is angled correctly; and then slide the support forward until it's flush with the back of the device.

With the supports adjusted properly, the X5 safely supports up to five iPads. Though the X5 is considerably narrower than an iPad, there's little side-to-side movement--the weight of all your iOS devices keeps the X5 stable, and six small, silicone feet on the bottom of the X5 keep the charger in place. The X5 also sports two mounting holes for permanently attaching it to a desk or table.

Along the front edge of the X5 is a row of five tiny LEDs, each corresponding to one of the dock cradles. For each LED, no light means there's no device docked, an amber light means a docked device is charging, and a green light means a docked device is fully charged. These lights are useful, letting you check a device's charging status without having to wake it up, but unless you've got five devices docked, it's difficult to tell which LEDs corresponds to which slot--is the iPhone in the third cradle still charging, or is that the iPad in the fourth?

After using the InCharge X5 for a few months, I came to prefer its uncluttered design to that of the Sydnee, although it's not without its own flaws. The most significant is that those 30-pin devices with curved edges--specifically, the second- and third-generation iPad, and the iPod touch--can be difficult to properly seat in the X5. If you've ever had trouble connecting Apple's dock-connector cable to one of these devices because of that curved edge, placing the device in the X5 is even more tricky--getting the connector and port lined up, at just the right angle, can be frustrating. It gets easier with practice, but after several weeks of use, I still couldn't get my third-generation iPad seated on the first (or second) try.


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