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Road test: Aviiq Portable Charging Station

A traveling journalist is the perfect person to test out a device like the Aviiq Portable Charging Station, which charges multiple gadgets at once.

The Aviiq Portable Charging Station in its natural habitat, a hotel room.
John Scott Lewinski/CNET

As a traveling journalist who stays on the move with a MacBook Pro, iPhone, digital camera, and iPad 2, I was eager to get ahold of the Aviiq Portable Charging Station to see if it might offer a compact mobile power source capable of dismissing my worries about whether my devices are juiced and ready to roll.

The idea behind the Charging Station is simple: Give buyers a place to tuck away all of their USB-charged devices and cords while they charge. You can keep all of your high-tech eggs in one basket while they juice up, if you like to mix your food and drink metaphors.

The resulting kit is about the size of a hardcover book. The tri-fold design includes multiple pockets inside for everything from MP3 players to cell phones. An internal four-port USB power station plugs into a wall outlet and charges up the devices tucked into the Charging Station.

But the simplicity of the design is also its main weakness. I've described what it is, and that's about all it is. Somehow, I was hoping for a few extra cables or adapters--something to enhance its connectivity and adaptability. As it is, it's essentially a self-contained portable USB hub with pockets. It will charge and hold your little gadgets, so the Aviiq Portable Charging Station is what it attests to be and does what it promises to do. But it's up to you if that warrants about $80 of your money.

The key factor in making that decision is the product's portability. You could charge your devices using any number of small USB hubs. But if the zip-up case will help you stay organized on the road, the purchase makes more sense. In the end, the unit keeps my hotel rooms a little less cluttered while I recharge the tools of my trade, and I find that a useful bonus to its charging capabilities.