capsule review

Gecko In-Car Duo-Charge

At a Glance
  • Gecko In-Car Duo-Charge

Another in a slew of USB-based iPod auto chargers, Gecko's In-Car Duo-Charge has one unique feature. Like most similar chargers we've seen, you plug the Duo-Charge into your car's accessory ("cigarette lighter") jack; it provides a standard USB port, into which you plug the included USB-to-dock-connector cable, which then connects to your dock-connector iPod. An LED lets you know your iPod is getting power, although, unlike the light on Griffin's PowerJolt, doesn't change color when your iPod is fully charged. A replaceable fuse protects your iPod from power surges.

(The Duo-Charge can also be used with the first-generation iPod shuffle, by plugging the shuffle directly into the charger's USB port, and the second-generation shuffle via its dock or one of the many USB-to-shuffle adapters we've reviewed.)

What's unique about the Duo-Charge is that its included cable actually has two heads: one featuring the standard iPod dock-connector plug, the other a mini-USB plug. In other words, you can charge two devices -- for example, an iPod along with a mobile phone with a mini-USB charging port -- at the same time. (Griffin's current PowerJolt includes cables for iPod and mini-USB charging, but you can use only one at a time.)

If you don't need the capability to charge two devices simultaneously, the Duo-Charge is expensive compared to quality options from Griffin and XtremeMac, to name just two. But if you'd actually use such a feature, it's quite handy, and might make the Duo-Charge worth the $10 price premium. (It's also worth noting that we've seen the Duo-Charge discounted to within a few dollars of other offerings.)
--Dan Frakes

At a Glance
  • USB-based car charger for iPods, iPhone, and mini-USB devices.

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