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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?

The best advice I can give here is that positioning one of the device supports perfectly for a particular device makes it much easier to dock that device. Of course, moving the support to fit a different device spoils the fit, so I ended up "permanently" assigning each of the five cradles to a specific device--I even used a label-maker to remember which cradle was for which iPad, iPhone, or iPod.

The other downside to the X5's cradle design is that bulky cases prevent you from properly seating your iOS devices in the cradles. If the back of a case is thick enough that it won't fit at a cradle support's deepest position, or if the bottom of the case is too thick to let your device's dock-connector port make a solid connection, you'll need to remove the case to charge the device in the X5.

Connector challenges

Of course, as of the iPhone 5, there's also the issue of Apple's new Lightning connector. I tested the X5 with both of Apple's Lightning to 30-pin adapters. The standard Lightning to 30-pin adapter--the small, no-cable adapter--worked surprisingly well. I connected the adapter to one of the X5's dock connectors and then moved that cradle's support all the way forward. When used with an iPhone 5 or a new iPod touch or nano, Apple's adapter is just short enough to still allow the X5 to support the weight of the device.

For Lightning-connector iPads, including the iPad mini, you'll want to instead use Apple's Lightning to 30-pin Adapter (0.2 m), which puts a 7.5-inch cable between the ends of the adapter, and set your iPad down next to the InCharge X5. This of course takes away from the no-clutter appeal of the X5, but it works--and unless the majority of your devices use the Lightning connector, the X5 still cuts down on adapters and cables. (XtremeMac told Macworld that the company is considering a Lightning-connector version of the X5.)

Bottom Line

If you're one of the ever-growing number of people with a bunch of iOS devices and iPods, the appeal of the InCharge X5 is plain: It's a compact, no-cable-clutter place to stash those devices for charging and storage. The debut of Apple's Lightning connector takes a bit away from the X5's self-contained appeal, and bulky cases won't fit, but it otherwise does its job well, and at street prices of around $100, it's reasonably priced. Among the members of my family who are less forgiving of cables and miscellaneous gadget gear than I, the X5 has become one of the most popular accessories I've tested.


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