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Lifewire / Nick Jaynes
Good fast-charging capabilities
Supports two devices at once
Includes 3-foot micro USB charging cable
Does not support Nexus 5X and 6P or Qualcomm Quick Charge
Not compatible with 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid
The Anker PowerDrive 2 is an affordable and durable in-car USB charger capable of quickly recharging devices. It’s perfect for buyers who care more about effective charging and overall robustness than cutting-edge aesthetics.
The in-car USB charger market is virtually flooded with offerings for virtually any taste to any budget — from the cheap and chintzy to high-tech. The Anker PowerDrive 2 is one of the most popular chargers on the market, and it didn’t disappoint during our testing. In addition to its durable plastic construction, it includes a 3-foot micro USB cable, a dual-port design, and fast recharge rates for your devices thanks to its PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technology. Don’t let the diminutive blue LED light fool you, the Anker PowerDrive 2 can put out enough power to recharge two iPads simultaneously. What’s more, it can do that without overheating.
The Anker PowerDrive 2 might not be the sharpest or most cutting-edge looking in-car USB charger, but what it lacks in visual pizazz, it more than makes up for in sturdiness.
A lot of in-car USB chargers are susceptible to slowly fragmenting. If you yank a USB cable out of the charger haphazardly, the charger might come apart (we encountered this with the RAVPower 24W USB charger). Not so with the Anker PowerDrive 2 which survived weeks of rigorous testing and careless USB cable unpluggings. It’s also fairly compact. It’ll protrude a bit from the 12V port, but it’s not very noticeable.
Don’t let the diminutive blue LED light fool you, the Anker PowerDrive 2 can put out enough power to recharge two iPads simultaneously.
That said, it’s not the prettiest charger. The black plastic construction is fine to look at and blends in nicely with most car interiors, but the red ring around the face makes it look a bit cheap. So, too, does the “IQ” logo printed between the two USB ports, but these are fairly minor quibbles. The PowerDrive 2 has a small and unobtrusive LED light to help you find the USB ports in the dark. We found it less distracting than other chargers we tested.
The best part of the Anker PowerDrive 2 is its charging. It has the ability to charge iPads simultaneously without getting overheated thanks to its PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technology. Each USB port can output a maximum 5V/2.4A, for a total of 24W. That’s in line with other car chargers we tested, but the PowerIQ technology can help identify device and deliver the fastest possible charge. This also gives you some overvoltage protection to make sure something like a smartwatch doesn’t fry when you plug it in.
This isn’t quite the same as Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 or other fast charge technologies which vary the voltage and amperage on a larger range, but it’ll top up your phone or other devices faster than a regular charger.
The Anker PowerDrive 2 is the workhorse of the in-car USB charger market.
One thing to note is that the PowerDrive 2 includes a micro USB cable, in case you don’t want to carry your device’s cable everywhere with you. That’s a nice touch we didn’t get with other chargers we tested.
The list price of $14.99 is positioned in the mid-range of the USB charger market, which ranges from just a few dollars to upwards of $50 for some fancier chargers. However, Anker PowerDrive 2 can be had for a discounted price on some websites. Considering the fact that the Anker PowerDrive 2 includes both the fast-charger and a 3-foot micro USB cable, it is well priced for the marketplace.
The RAVPower 24W charger is one of Anker’s main rivals. It has a metal exterior, a lower price tag, and theoretically identical power output. However, its construction is far less robust. In fact, its metal outside easily separates from the internal components easily making Anker a better pick for longevity.
The Aukey CC-S1 charger is a much closer competitor. It has the standard dual 2.4A USB ports, is constructed from plastic, and costs a few dollars less. One advantage it has is that unlike the PowerDrive, the CC-S1 sits virtually flush to the 12V socket. But you don’t get LED lights, which might make it a hindrance to find at night.
The price is fair, the charging is fast, and the design is unobtrusive. It’s hard to ask for much more.