Designed to be a sort of 'one-stop shop' for users looking to charge their products at home or on the move, the TYLT ENERGI Charging Station offers a five-port design with one of these ports becoming a detachable battery for when you're out of the office.
This station has been awarded a CES 2016 innovation award and is seemingly the first of its kind to hit the mainstream market. I'm here to test whether this innovation equals performance in the real-world.
This review will not only be looking at functionality, price, and aesthetics, but I'll also be doing some technical testing on how much power this unit provides and whether it's reliable in real-world circumstances.
Boasting the ability to charge your devices "2.4x faster than a standard charger," this unit claims to provide 2.4A of power through each of the four hardwired USB ports.
This product also features TYLT's Smart Detect Technology, meaning that it can detect and identify different devices and distribute power to them accordingly. Connected through a supplied wall plug cable, this device is designed so that cables can be neatly routed over the top of underneath its structure, making for a tidy charging environment. One of the marketing images for this device shows my previously-reviewed reversible TYLT ribbon charging cable being used, which fits through the gap quite well.
The slide-in charging battery works as a USB outlet even when plugged into the device, providing 3,200mAh of power when removed. This battery doesn't have a manufacturer claimed amperage, but it does come with battery indicator lights and the ability to be alternatively charged via a micro-USB connection. This unit as a whole measures in at 5(W) x 1.625(H) x 4.25(L) inches and isn't small by USB charger means. For those looking for a little more peace of mind, the Charging Station also comes with a one-year warranty.
Pricing & Availability
Priced at $137 on Amazon with free shipping, the TYLT Energi Charging Station is one of the most expensive offerings on the market. While $137 is quite expensive for a five-port charger on its own, you must remember that there is an included 3,200mAh portable charger that will raise the price a little. This price point is quite high but may be justifiable if this charger performs well through technical testing.
What's in the box?
Providing as simple of a package as possible, the box contains the product itself and the wall port cable within a simple plastic shell.
There are other paper-based accessories included that tell you various warranty information things and an information catalog on what exactly the product does. The most interesting of these is an included business card like piece that offers you an extra year of warranty after you go through a product registration.
Let's dig deeper
TYLT has made a name for providing premium-price and extremely well-constructed mobile accessories, with this release being no different.
This product is mainly plastic in construction but doesn't look or feel tacky whatsoever with the cable routing platforms being well grounded and strong by design. The bottom of the product has a stable footing on the ground and won't slide around in use, but it's always worth holding the top of the charger when unplugging devices just in case.
The detachable charger is easily popped out with a press of a button and requires no effort to get going. This product automatically detects when a product is plugged in, alongside charging immediately through a magnetic connection when slid back into the host unit. The provided wall plug comes with a cable that is of adequate length, and the amount of ports on this product should be plenty for most users. It would have been nice if TYLT added the option for this to become a data hub through a micro-USB connection. I'm hoping that they implement this in future revisions.
How's it Perform in the Wild?
I used a complete technical testing setup alongside my Samsung Galaxy S4 to run this product through its paces. I used two 1A or 2A (switchable) resistors, three different Voltage and Amperage readers and the smartphone mentioned above to load this charger up to maximum capacity, seeing how the output performs under pressure.
The charger seemed to work quite well under load, with the unused port sitting still at 5.1V while the two resistors were switched to 2A draw each. The fourth port was then loaded with my Samsung Galaxy S4 that was locked and approximately 80% charged, showing that it was drawing 0.88A and 4.9V. While it's not the full 2.4A that the product claims, this lower draw is likely due to the slight drop in voltage, my phone being locked and it being at near-full battery capacity - hopefully not due to them failing to provide 2.4A as TYLT claims.
The charge did jump up to 1.01A when the resistors were switched to 1A each, however, so this is concerning for total charging amperage numbers. This might mean that each port does not provide 2.4A of flow as the marketing suggests.
While seemingly not providing 2.4A through each port simultaneously, this charger still provides a lot more power than many of its competitors. Further to this, it didn't short out or become heavily heated once during testing, unlike other products I have tried to overload.
I know it's quite facetious to expect all four ports to provide 2.4A of power consistently, but here's a little testing that helps show you what to expect in use should you buy one of these for yourself. I was able to drawn 2.31A out of one single port, though.
I also had some issue with the detachable battery when plugging in various USB cables. As you can see in the image below, I had to pull the plug out a little before it would register. Further to this, the small pack only provided 4.69 volts.
The features: Four hardwired ports and one detachable battery is pure brilliance.
The battery: It charges within its little dock without any effort, further providing power whilst plugged in. You're never going to forget to charge things now.
The power: It provides a great power output, even with three or four ports loaded.
The price: I understand that the features are great, but it's quite expensive.
Doesn't provide everything that TYLT claims: The 2.4A of power per-port as seen in the marketing isn't true, at least in our testing.
While I had some issue with the portable power pack and certain cables, plus the charging capacity is not exactly what the company says from our testing, this expensive unit performs well across the board, and its design is brilliant. Taking these in, it should be at the top of your list if you want an extensive desk charging product.
The fact that the removable battery charges without effort and can be taken when on the road makes this product a real winner, likely also the main factor that helped it win the CES 2016 award in the first place. This unit is ideal for any premium user, but I would love to see it drop by at least $30 before I could recommend it to everybody.
|Quality including Design and Build||90%|
|Bundle and Packaging||85%|
|Value for Money||60%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||80%|
The Bottom Line: TYLT's well designed ENERGI Five-Port Charging Station with Detachable Battery is packed with good engineering and raw power. However, beware of the price tag, and per-port charging capabilities weren't what we thought they'd be.
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