Mini dual port charger is a brand new item today. While it would be a stretch to call the increased availability of Lightning-ready car chargers “exciting,” we’re glad to see more and better options headed to market. Following up on its late 2012 Car Charger with Lightning Connector, Belkin has released two “step up” options: the Car Charger with Lightning Charge/Sync Cable ($35) and mini dual port charger with lightning charge. Apple charges developers a premium for “charge and sync” capable Lightning cables, versus less expensive charge-only cables, so the added prices are now being passed on to customers.
In addition to the lightning cable, which works with the latest iPhone, iPod, and iPad models, what the $35 car charger with lightning mini dual port charger gets you is a matte black charger with a bright green ring around its rim, and a tiny green power light that illuminates when power’s flowing through it. Like the $30 Car Charger with Lightning Connector, this puts out 10-Watt/2.1-Amp power sufficient to recharge most iPods, iPhones, and iPads at full speed, falling short only of the 12-Watt/2.5-Amp refueling capabilities of third- and fourth-generation iPads.
Apart from cosmetics, the only differences in this mini dual port charger relate to the Lightning cable. Belkin has narrowed the Lightning housing to further improve its case compatibility, and added a USB plug at the end that can connect to a computer, wall adapter, or other charger. The cable remains a little over four feet in length—longer than Apple’s lightning to USB Cables—and apart from its black coloration, substantially similar. This connects to the Car Charger’s single USB port, and works exactly as expected.
The mini dual port charger with Lightning Charge/Sync Cable is a somewhat different story—it doesn’t look or feel much like either of its squat, less expensive predecessors. Measuring nearly 3” long from end to end, this version will extend at least 1.25” beyond your car’s charging port thanks to a bulging circular end cap with two USB ports inside. While the mini dual port charger looks merely like a mix of matte and glossy black plastics when turned off, the end cap is actually coated in a slightly grippy rubber, and a bright blue power ring is hidden behind the glossy front plastic. Turned on, the 2-Port Car Charger looks a little more exciting than it does when powered off.
Unlike most (but not all) two-port chargers we’ve seen, mini dual port charger design is capable of quickly charging two iPads at once—there are actually two 10-Watt/2.1-Amp USB ports here, rather than the common competing combination of one 2.1-Amp iPad-ready USB port with an iPod/iPhone-ready 1-Amp USB port. While we’ve seen some extremely compact twin USB chargers, Belkin appears to have designed this one with sufficient space to let the two iPad-ready ports breathe rather than overheat; they worked exactly as expected. Within months, there will likely be rivals to this charger with at least one 12-Watt/2.5-Amp output, but for now, the mini dual port charger is as powerful as Lightning options get.