At a Glance
USB-based car charger for iPods and iPhone.
XtremeMac’s InCharge Auto is yet another USB-based iPod auto charger, although one that has Apple’s official “Works with iPhone” seal. Besides the iPhone, it’s officially compatible with fourth-generation (4G) and later full-size iPods, nanos, and minis.
As with other USB car chargers, you plug the InCharge into your car’s accessory (“cigarette lighter”) jack and connect the included 5-foot USB-to-dock-connector cable to the InCharge’s USB port; the cable then connects to your iPhone or dock-connector iPod. An LED lets you know your iPod or iPhone is getting power, although, unlike the light on Griffin’s PowerJolt, doesn’t change color when your iPhone or iPod is fully charged.
(The InCharge auto 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.)
Also missing from the InCharge Auto compared to the similarly-priced PowerJolt is a USB-to-mini-USB cable, which I found useful for charging third-party electronic devices, such as a mobile phone or Sony PSP, with a mini-USB charging port.
On the other hand, the InCharge Auto has a couple unique features of its one. The first is a self-resetting fuse that protects connected devices from power surges. The second is the InCharge Auto’s shape: rather than using a traditional “car charger” shape — thin at the plug end and much thicker at the other — XtremeMac designed the InCharge Auto as a cylinder; the entire charger is the width of the plug itself. The design is elegant and attractive, not to mention that it makes the InCharge Auto less bulky to pack.
The InCharge Auto is an attractive and well-made charger. However, at the same price as Griffin’s PowerJolt, you’ll have to decide which is more important to you: the additional connection options provided by the PowerJolt’s mini-USB cable, or the InCharge auto’s more-attractive design.