Charge your iPad from any USB port for $5

Typically a laptop can't charge an iPad, but with this magic dongle, it can. And it's $25 less than a competing product.

For a mere five bucks, this little adapter lets you charge your iPad (or other tablet) from any USB port.
For a mere five bucks, this little adapter lets you charge your iPad (or other tablet) from any USB port. Meritline

At CES last month I encountered Digital Innovations' ChargeDr, a small USB dongle that promised to do the seemingly impossible: boost the power output of a typical USB port, thus allowing it to charge an iPad (or other tablet).

I got it home, tested it, and discovered that, hey, it actually works! Technically speaking, there's no actual power boosting going on, but who am I to argue with this weird science? Without the dongle, my iPad says "not charging." With it: "charging."

And my tests bear out the claim. My iPad 3 went from 30 percent to 75 percent in about 2.5 hours. Not bad for a lowly USB port.

My only real gripe with the ChargeDr was the price: $29.99. (Also, anyone who wanted one would have to wait until March; it's still not available for purchase.)

Guess what? Meritline sells a USB Charging Adapter for iPad for $4.99 shipped. It looks virtually identical to the ChargeDr and promises to work the same magic. Could it really?

I had to find out. So I bought one. It's a smidgen smaller than the ChargeDr, but functionally they're the same: Meritline's generic dongle works. With it I can charge my iPad from my laptop. Without it, I can't.

As an added perk, of sorts, the dongle blocks the PC from actually detecting the tablet, meaning it won't attempt to sync. That's handy if you're using a borrowed or business-center PC for charging.

About a dozen Meritline customers rated the $5 dongle 4.6 stars out of 5, with at least one noting that it works nicely with other devices as well, not just iPads.

I'd say if you travel a lot and want one fewer AC adapter to bring along, this is five bucks pretty well spent.

Featured Video
This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

Cancel your Apple Music subscription

Signed up to Apple Music and decided it's not for you? Here is how to cancel your subscription so you don't get charged once your free trial expires.

by Lexy Savvides