This quad-port USB car charger is the most powerful we've tested

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The Aukey AIPower isn't much bigger than your average car charger, but it can charge four gadgets at once. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The Aukey AIPower USB car charger crams a lot of power into a very small package.

It isn't much larger than my favorite Anker two-port USB charger and is acutally smaller than my old Qmadix Twin Tablet charger, but manages to stack a total of four full-power USB charging ports onto its 0.83-inch by 1.97-inch (21 by 50mm) oval facia.

Available in either black or white, the unit measures about 3.43 inches (87mm) from tip to tip, which is about as long as the Anker unit. A little bit of extra width on the business end could potentially be an issue in smaller cars, or in vehicles with deeply recessed and cramped 12-volt outlets, but I had no issues during my testing.

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Each of the ports outputs a tablet-friendly 2.4A of current. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The quad-port charger features a small blue LED light tucked inside its chassis, which helps to indicate that the device is receiving power from your car's 12V outlet and helps when aiming USB cables at the ports in the dark. Thankfully, the light is pretty dim and, being internal, is barely visible when the ports are occupied. As a result, the Aukey charger doesn't really contribute to night vision robbing light and glare while driving after dark.

Like most slimmed-down car chargers, there don't appear to be any user-serviceable parts -- specifically there's no accessible fuse like you'd find on older 12-volt accessories -- so if this charger goes kaput for one reason or another, you're either looking at a warrantied replacement or an out of pocket one. Fortunately, Aukey's website boasts an 18-month warranty.

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There are no user-servicable parts on the AIPower, not even a fuse. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

For your trouble, the Aukey charger rewards you with a lot of charging and power potential. The unit boasts 48W of total output and splits 9.6A of current between its four ports. That works out to 2.4A per port, which should be sufficient to power charge four iPads at full speed the same time.

Alternatively, you could charge your phone and three GoPro cameras on your way to the track, yours and three of your friends' phones during a night on the town, or your whole family's devices on your next road trip.

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We confirmed Aukey's full-speed charging claims in our lab and on the road. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

To put the charger to the test, I dug up as many USB-powered devices as I could find around my desk, settling on my personal LG Nexus 5, a 2013 Nexus 7 tablet, a 2012 Nexus 7 tablet, and a Sony NEX-6 camera. I plugged all of the devices in and watched the time.

In about 1 hour, the Nexus 5 and the newer Nexus 7 tablet went from their 50 percent starting points to a full charge. The Sony camera, which went on the charger at roughly 25 percent, finished shortly thereafter. The 2012 Nexus 7 took significantly longer; going from zero to a 50 percent charge took about 3 hours. Slow charging is a known issue for that N7 generation, however, so I'm faulting the tablet and not the charger here.

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For about $20, the quad-port charger is a pretty good deal for charging your family's tech on the go. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

With its compact construction and plentiful power, the Aukey AIPower Quad-USB Port Car Charger is easily recommendable if you need to charge multiple devices on the go.

The only thing that may cause you to pause is the $40 MSRP, but that price is rather inflated. The device can actually be found for as low as $20 by shopping around online. Drivers in the UK can find it for £13. Australian pricing was unavailable at time of publication.

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Aukey AIPower Quad-Port USB Car Charger

Part Number: CNETAukey AIPower Quad-Port USB Car Charger
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