R2-D2 USB Car Charger Review – Enough to charge 2 tablets
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R2 units: is there anything those little guys can’t do? They may be out of reach in this galaxy, but somewhere far away you might find one attached to an X-Wing Starfighter patrolling by the distant planet of Tatooine. For now, we’ll just have to settle on a miniature version that would be accompanying you to wherever the road may take you! The Star Wars R2-D2 USB Car Charger from ThinkGeek.com is the perfect companion to any Star Wars fan who’s looking to add onto their Star Wars fix.
The R2-D2 USB car charger has not just have utility feature, but also entertainment features! The moment you take R2 out of his glossy, beautiful box you’ll have to fight the urge to get in your vehicle and drive. R2 is the perfect robot to charge any USB devices while on the go; he supports two USB ports that can charge your phone, tablet, or practically any USB device since he puts out 2.1 amps from each USB port. R2 also fits snuggly into your vehicle’s cup holder with his arms being able to conform to any size cup holder for a tight fit by springs that can be pushed in by the diameter of your cup holder.
R2 also benefits you by providing a little entertainment whenever you plug in your device or connect him to the cigarette adapter. R2-D2’s dome rotates and lights up, he whistles and beeps, and he even has a power button to turn on to charge your devices, which also animates him as well.
R2-D2 stands roughly 5.5 inches tall, 3.5 inches wide at his widest point, a cylindrical diameter of 2 inches, and a 36-inch long cable for the 12V cigarette adapter. He is completely composed of plastic, which isn’t a dense plastic and feels towards a more weak type of plastic. It is not recommended to leave this little guy vulnerable because a fall onto a hard surface such as concrete could crack or break his shell. R2 looks fresh off the assembly line with his signature silver, blue, and white coloring that makes him perfect for any vehicle interior. The paint is robust enough to handle all types of interior from plastic to leather with little paint deterioration from constant removing and moving into a cup holder. Also, R2’s cable is connected from his backside; this feeds to the cigarette adapter that has the wire from the adaptor that is fitted with a wire breakage preventer so it will definitely hold up to constant plugging in and unplugging for on the go fun.
Internally, R2-D2 does have some drag when his dome turns due to some friction with a clicking-like sound once in awhile when he completes a revolution. R2’s speaker for his beeping and whistling sounds does seem a little high pitched and choppy on the speaker. This is only really noticeable if you have an acute sense of hearing or are really listening for it. I’m not really fond of the fact that this little guy takes up my entire cup holder, but if you are okay with using a cup holder just to have something that charges your device than this wouldn’t be a problem.
To go along with R2, there is a 5 amp AC to 12V DC adapter for any 12V cigarette adapter. This means you can take R2 from the car to using him in your home! This adapter is $19.99 and lets you transform 110V AC power to 12V DC power to produce a maximum 60 watts at a frequency of 60 Hz. The adapter’s dimensions are 5 inches by 2 inches by 1.4 inches; with an AC input cable of 31.5 inches and DC output cable at 15.75 inches.
Overall, the Star Wars R2-D2 rates a solid 7 out of 10 on the rating chart, which is split between product functionality, appearance, price point, accessories, and any problems encountered with the product. It is on the pricey side but it is definitely worth it for that inner Star Wars geek or that friend who can never have enough of Star Wars!
Why a car USB charger in the first place?
So why would anyone truly need a car USB charger in the first place? We may be in the 21st century, but it seems that our batteries have yet to catch up to satisfactory results. We used to have Nokia’s that could last for 7 days of a single battery, but that was before phones transformed into an amazing piece of hardware to not only communicate, but also be a camera, gaming system, GPS, notebook, web browser, and calculator all in one (to name a few). Unfortunately the public is so hooked on the slimmest and lightest phone, batteries are the most abused. Smartphones just don’t have the best battery life, or really anything that is small and compact. R2 is meant to save you in your time of desperation when you need to keep your phone alive because you just need to check up on your favorite celebrity on Twitter.
What to look for in a USB car charger
You may think this is a silly question regarding such a small product that we almost never think about until we actually need it. Every USB car charger is the same for a physical function, it is meant to plug into a cigarette outlet to obviously charge any USB related device. What you may never think about it the quality, other features, and obviously price point.
Just remember: you get what you pay for! When it comes to small and overlooked things like USB car chargers, you’ll most likely choose the cheapest charger since we all prefer to keep our money in our wallets. Just because it is cheap doesn’t mean it is the best deal. Most of the time in the end your beloved USB car charger will burn out or even blow a fuse on your car. With the R2-D2 USB car charger, you may be spending a little more money, but you’ll be able to have a high quality charger that can stand up to constant plugging in of your USB devices, as well as any wires not breaking or splitting, LED lights burning out, and the power button not responding.
More things you should research on are the product functions of any item. Some will be easy to notice, since a lot of products (especially USB car chargers) have one major function in common: they charge USB devices. What separates each and every USB car charger is the other functions they come with. For example, the R2-D2 USB car charger comes with an extra long wire so it can reach to passengers in the back seat, it also has an LED light on the front that notifies you if the device is charging or can indicate power is being provided to the unit.
Other features would include power button, since some people may not want to constantly draw power from the unit to their device but may want it still to be plugged in if the need arises. R2 also has a more entertaining feature than most USB car chargers; he is able to talk! Not many USB car chargers can do that, they don’t whistle when you plug your device in, or make a noise when you turn him off. Some may view that as annoying, but it a great form of simple entertainment when inside your vehicle. Heck, he even moves his head around too!
Now, since we are in a period of time where money cannot be easily accessed, you may think skipping out on R2-D2’s price point is best. You can find more affordable USB car chargers out there, but they lack all the features mentioned previously about R2-D2. Some might be smaller than R2-D2, but they’ll most likely have a simple LED light and a USB outlet. Your friend may thank you for it, unless he is in the back seat where his phone charging wire cannot reach. R2-D2 is also an eye catcher; your friends will have to comment on how awesome R2-D2 is and that they really want one. They might even want to ride with you in the car more because they would rather be charging their phone from a cool USB charger.
What else is there?
Now, if you’re not a huge fan of R2-D2, or you would like another color other than his signature white and blue, you can always find the R2-D9 on ThinkGeek.com. R2-D9 has everything that you could ever want, the same as R2-D2. He still fits into the standard cup holder with the exact same dimensions. R2-D9 also has the same long extension wire so your friends in the back seat can still charge their device. He still has all the bells and whistles except one thing: R2-D9 is in a deep burgundy color with silver encompassing him. If you want to go the more plain and boring route, you can still go to ThinkGeek.com (or any major retailer) and purchase a standard USB car charger in the price range of $10 to $25 USD. You just have to remember that you research the product you would like to purchase so that way you can see if there are any potential problems. There’s no point in dropping $15 on an unverified USB car charger to only have it die where you have to spend more money to purchase another one. It defeats the purpose of saving money.
Actual Customer Reviews
Of course all over the Internet people loved the R2-D2 USB car charger that many other retailers started offering them. You may have thought this was a more biased view urging you to get a product you might not actually enjoy. This is to prove your theory wrong. This created a lot more customers to provide feedback on their R2-D2.
Some customers got annoyed about R2-D2’s beeping and whistling. Now, it may get annoying some times but whenever I had him in my vehicle I got a lot of compliments. Of course, there are always some bad apples in the bunch. People love the functionality of R2-D2’s charger, but also the entertainment value that comes along with him. “Overall the R2D2 charger is a fun, neat charger and functions exceptionally well. “