Summary

Our Score

7/10

Review Price free/subscription

Using the IUC-101, I was able to charge the batteries for a Nokia N96, my wife's Canon Ixus 40 and a venerable Sony-Ericsson phone with ease, while the iRiver Spinn, an iPod Touch, a TomTom One sat-nav and a horrific, cheapo no-brand MP3 player all charged perfectly from USB.

The only refuseniks I came across were the InfoLithium battery from a Sony camcorder (the contacts were hidden within impenetrable channels), the battery from my Sony PSP (ditto) and my Nintendo DS-Lite (you can't remove the battery and there's no cable I can find to fit). I'm sure I could come up with more problem devices given time and a cupboard full of cameras and mobiles, but the IUC-101 is still a surprisingly flexible little charger.


Plus it has another trick up its sleeve. Say you have no power supply at your disposal. Slot a charged lithium-ion battery into the cradle, get the ready light, then connect another device from USB and the IUC-101 will cheerfully suck power from the former into the latter. If the light goes off, simply plug in another lithium-ion battery and continue. It works, and I had my old mobile battery charging my old iPod Mini fairly quickly. I know, I know - who carries a spare lithium-ion battery? Well, nobody, I guess, but if you can live without your digital camera but not your MP3 player then you can sacrifice the one to get the other working.


More interestingly, you can also use the supplied adaptor to plug in three AA batteries at a time (the sheet recommends rechargeable NiMH cells) and charge from those. Some might say that it would make more sense to be able to charge your mobile phone battery from your iPod in an emergency, but sadly the process only seems to work one way.

Anyway, the charger basically works, either from mains or from a car if you have a 12V DC output (and most do). Reservations? Well, I'm not sure I feel fully confident in the IUC-101 long-term, and I'd probably be happier using my regular chargers for everyday use than putting all my trust in the non manufacturer recommended option. Not to mention it's a lot easier to plug in your phone than open it up, prise out the battery and get it working in here.


The price also isn't cheap in comparison to some multi chargers and USB power supplies. But then the IUC-101 is a particularly versatile little chap. It's a little fiddly, the styling is ghastly and the build quality isn't staggeringly good, but if you spend a lot of time away from your desk and want something that can handle almost all your charging needs, the IUC-101 will do the job without much fuss.

Verdict

While hardly the most easy to use or brilliantly designed contraption, the IUC-101 is actually a very useful little charger that caters for a wide range of devices.

Our Score

7/10
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