As phones get slimmer, faster, and more powerful each cycle, battery technology has failed to improve in line with those changes. Thanks to this, most smartphone owners need to charge their phone at least once a day, with a lot of people also needing a late afternoon top up to keep things going till the night.
This means people either carry around their phone charger with them, or have a separate charger for home and work. Carrying around a charger causes wear and tear. This, combined with the fact that most chargers now have detachable cables that you use to send files to and from your computer mean that more often than not, the stock charger that comes with your phone stops working any time from six months to a year or so of you buying the phone.
Buying a spare charger for your phone should be a relatively easy and pain free process right? Since microUSB is so standard, just pop into a phone store and buy a microUSB charger. Sadly, it isn’t so.
In India, it is no secret that Samsung sells the most smartphones. So naturally, it makes sense to buy a spare charger from Samsung right? Wrong.
The problem is that the market is so badly flooded with Samsung chargers. Most of these chargers are fake/after market. I’ve had numerous bad experiences buying Samsung chargers which I was assured were original. However, they conked off due to various reasons in just a couple of months, on which, the seller shrugged and said that there is no warranty on them.
Here’s what you should look at when buying a charger:
1) Charging Speed
In India, all chargers will be of 5.0 Volts and a certain current. You need to look at the charging current. This is expressed either in mA or A (milliamperes or Amperes). Cheaper chargers charge at speeds between 450mA to 750mA. The average smartphone charger has a speed of 1A to 1.20A. The faster chargers charge at 1.50A and above. The tablet chargers charge at 2.10A and above.
How do you find out the maximum charging speed of your phone? All smartphones can charge at speeds of at least 1A. Newer phones by Samsung, like the Note II and S4 use a Quick Charging system that allows up to 2.10A. Usually, a charger with 1.20-1.50A charging speed should suffice
2) Cable Length
Where do you need to keep the charger? If keeping it plugged in by your bed, a longer charger cable would be preferable. If its always going to be on your desk, or you will keep the cable plugged into a laptop, a shorter one would be more convenient.
Shorter cables start from 75 cm, and you get 100, 175 and 200 centimetre long cables too.
3) Detachable/Non Detachable Cable Type
Some chargers come as one piece, with the adapter on one side and connector on the other, while others are two separate parts for the USB Adapter and the microUSB Cable. The latter is usually more versatile, but prone to more wear and tear.
4) Plug Type
Make sure the plug will fit into Indian wall sockets. In some wall sockets (such as my own), even the thin pin European pins fit, but that may not always be the case.
In the Indian kind of pins, you get two pronged and three pronged pins. The two pronged pins are usually more versatile as they can be plugged into more points, but the three pronged pins are safer as they have a grounding pin.
5) Other benefits
Some chargers have two USB ports so you can plug multiple cables into them. Some cables have a cable management system, either in the form of velcro or a clip to attach to the wound up cable.
What Should You Buy?
I learned, the hard way, not to trust unbranded after market chargers. I tried out a combination of USB Adapters, Cables from eBay, all from very reputed sellers, all with proper descriptions. Some were dual USB, some claimed to charge at 2.0 A, some had interesting easy to wrap around designs and some claimed to be OEM products of reputed brands. All were quite cheap (under Rs. 500) and looked like tempting buys. Sadly, none of them lived up to their promises. Either they charged way way slower than the stated current, or they simply stopped working in a week or two.
What I have come to realise is that a charger is something you need to keep in a socket and not bother about again. It isn’t worth trying to save a few hundred bucks and have to be stuck checking out charging graphs, constantly adjusting loose pins and waking up the next day to see your phone not charged. I strongly recommend paying a little more and buying something you know is original.
Now this really is spoon feeding, but I have compiled a list of chargers from reliable brands and given you exact details about each. Further, I have even included currently active purchase links to various Indian e-commerce sites.
I found two chargers of interest from Phillips. They are both just the AC Adapter though, so you will have to use your own microUSB cable with them.
1) Phillips DLP2207
- Dual USB Ports
- 2.1 A Charging Speed. This means you can charge a tablet at 2.1A or two phones at about 1A each simultaneously. More than sufficient. Note that to charge at 2.10A’s, you cable needs to support high speed charging.
- 1 Year Warranty
2) Phillips DLP2209
- Dual USB Ports
- Unlike the 2207, which had 2.1A of current, this is a 5V/1.0A Charger.
Belkin is quite a respectable brand in the accessories arena. Usually known for their accessories for Apple Products, they are quite multi brand actually. Belkin products are known to last. These chargers come with 3 Years of Warranty.
1) Belkin F8Z145 Dual USB Power Adapter
- Comes with a 1.80 meter Apple cable (Non Lightning) and a 1.80 meter miniUSB (that’s right, mini, not micro) cable.
- Non standard plug point (Thin European kind). Won’t fit in all Indian Outlets so you may need a convertor.
- 1.10 A charging speed
2) Belkin F8Z240KR Dual USB Swivel AC Charger
- 1A Charging Speed
- Dual USB
- Rotating Prongs
- Comes with one 1.20 meter Apple cable (non Lightning)
Given just how many fake Samsung chargers there are in the market, you may be better of buying a Nokia charger, even if you aren’t using a Nokia device. Their original accessories are easy to spot. Nokia Chargers usually come with 6 Months of Warranty.
Here are the Nokia microUSB chargers you can buy in India:
1) Nokia AC-20
- Cable not detachable
- 750mA Charging Speed
- 1.50 Meter long Cable
- Cable Management Clip (Makes it easy to fold the wire around the adapter and clip it on)
2) Nokia AC-10
- Non Detachable Cable
- 1.80 meter cable
- 1.20A Charging Speed
3) Nokia AC-16
- Adapter + Cable
- 1.2 meter long charging cable (CA-185CD)
- 1A charging speed
Note: A Seller on eBay is selling the same charger for Rs. 699, along with a microUSB Cable. However, IMO it looks shady and is best avoided.
4) Nokia AC-60
- 1.5A Charging Current
- Detachable 75 cm cable
- This is the fastest Nokia Charger. It comes bundled with the Lumia 720. I wasn’t able to find this online anywhere. Will keep my eyes peeled
5) Nokia AC 50
- Detachable 75 cm Cable
- 1.30 A Charging Speed
Capdase is another known accessory maker. Their products are available online and through a lot of traditional retail channels around India.
1) Capdase ADII-A002-EU Atom
- 1A Charging Speed
- Adapter + iPhone (non Lightning) Charging Cable
- Failsafe fallback & LED Indicator
2) Capdase ADCB-AR02
This is handy to have if you travel to different continents a lot
- Different changable adapters for different regions
- 3.10A Charging current
- Dual USB Ports (One of 1A and one of 2.1A)
- Failsafe Fallback and LED Indicator
Rs 2100: Stuffcool
3) CAPDASE QUARTET USB POWER ADAPTER
Here’s where things start to become just a little bit crazy.
- 5V 21W and 4.20A Charging Speed
- Four USB Ports
- Overload Auto-Off
- Automatic Detection of Smartphone/Tablet and setting charging speed accordingly
- Comes with a travel pouch
Rs 3800: StuffCool
Griffin has an interesting combination of AC Adapter, Car Adapter and Apple Cable (non Lightning) selling in the Indian market.
- 1A Charging Speed for the wall adapter
- Foldable Adapter Pins
- Circuit Breaker and LED Indicatior
- 10W 5V for both car and wall charger
- Dual USB Ports in the car charger
Rs. 650: eBay
Because of the heavy influx of fake but original looking Samsung Chargers in the Indian market, I am hesitant to recommend them from E-Commerce sites. I have been burned several times into buying what I was assured was an original charger, only to see it stop working in a couple of months. Neverthless, the stock Samsung charger for my Galaxy Nexus lasted me a whole year before getting spoilt. The official Samsung E-Store should be a safe bet for buying Samsung chargers, though.
- 0.70 A Charging Speed
Detachable 1.0 meter cable
1.0 A Charging Speed
Rs. 1299: Samsung E-Store
Good to have
Here are some charging accessories that could definitely be useful for power users.
1) Callmate 6 In 1 Retractable Charging Cube
This is something we wouldn’t mind keeping with us at all times, just in case.
Being 60 centimeters long and retractable, the cable probably wont charge your device too fast. The six types of ends are: microUSB, miniUSB, Nokia 2mm, Apple Non Lightning, some old Samsung Proprietary, Samsung Tablet Proprietary.
~Rs. 200: HS18
2) Nitho SC Charge Booster – SCCJUI
Normally if you connect your phone to a computer via a cable, it charges, but very slowly. Usually the charging current is some 0.2A
(The exception being that on Apple computers, when you connect an iPhone/iPad, the system charges draws more currently to rapidly charge it. This hasn’t been able to be replicated on other devices of the box though)
This little device claims to boost your charging speed up to 1.40 A if you use it, and it works with all microUSB devices.
We can’t vouch for this, but it may be worth a shot.
~Rs 850: IndiaTimes
So that was a collection of most of the branded chargers you can buy in India. Do let me what after-market charger you use for your and your families gadgets.