All USB chargers are not created equal.

How does USB charging work in laymen’s terms with no mumbo jumbo.

There is 4 metal pins in a regular usb cable. The two outside ones are used for power and have 5 Volts on them. The two inside pins on the usb connector are used to send data when connector to a computer. ie. syncing.

Now when a USB cable is connected to your computer the maximum output your computer can give out is 0.5 Amps.   This is not very much and is why some usb hubs come with extra power adapters. Its also the reason why it takes ages to charge your phone from a computer usb port.

A typical smart phone these days requires about 1 .0 Amp and most tablets up to 2.4 amps

So what happens when a usb cable is connected to your a wall charger?   As wall chargers dont need to use the two middle data ports (D- & D+) a wall charger typically shorts out these pins (ie. connects them together) this tells the phone connected that its connected to a wall charger and not a computer which in turn lets the phone know it can have more charging juice ie. fast charge and use the wall chargers max speed.

Sounds simple enough.  Well in theory it is, but this is where is gets a bit loose. Apple does things different to Samsung and the battery charging standard different again.  Rather than just connect the two data pins Apple requires a certain resistance between the two data points and again Samsung and other manufactures require a different resistance between the pins

So there is three different methods to trigger fast charging in various devices. This is where a smart charger like the sockITz usb power points shine.

The classic sockITz when first plugged into your phone via the usb, actually talks to your phone and asks what type of phone it is. Are you an Apple product or Android device?   Once the phone reply’s the smarts in the sockITz charger re-configures the two data pins to the required resistance to trigger fast charging in that device i.e. up to 2.4 amps.   The classic sockITz is the only usb power point wall charger on the market that does this. All other chargers just a have a single resistance that hopes to cover all devices, however in reality this is impossible and will result in slow charge times of certain devices that are limited to 0.5 amps.

What else slows charging down?

The USB cable is normally the biggest culprit to slow charge speeds.  A wire can only carry a limited amount of current to your phone. Its like trying to push all the water a fire hose can push out through a garden hose.  So you end up with a charger that can provide 3Amps but the cable that maxes out at 0.5 Amps.  

Most cheap cables available on ebay etc are fine for charging from your computer however once more than 0.5A is needed its wise to invest in a good quality cable.  The thickness of the cable can be a good indicator on the quality at first glance.

Whats all this Amp talk?

Amps are bascially how fast a device will charge.  THe more the current the faster the charge rate. Lets continue with the fire hose example.  The phone charger is like the tap it can open to a maxium of say 3.5 amps (in our classic sockitz)  Now we allready know we need a good quality cable to allow as much current through as posibble but here is the kicker. The phone itself controls how much the tap is turned on.  So an iPad for example, whilst rated to require 2Amps to charge, in reality the iPad will turn open the tap to 2 Amps for a small amount of time when the tablet is almost flat but will quickly turn the tap back to 1.1 to 1.5 Amps in most of the charge range then as it nears 100% charged will slowly turn the tap back to off.  

So the rating on a USB charger ie. 3.5Amps is more about charging multiple devices than charging at a faster speed which is why we can still charge two tablets at the same time that say they require 2Amps which should mean a 4Amp charger is required.

So whats the take away?

Not all chargers are made equal most cheap chinese chargers found on ebay are dumb chargers

Ensure you have a smart charger to ensure fast charging across multiple devices

& don't assume all cables are the same, a good quality cable is worth paying few more dollars for.