Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Bolse NewPower – One Charger to Rule Them All?

Bolse NewPower 40W (5V/8A) 5-Port USB Wall/Desktop charger


Bolse NewPower 40W (5V/8A) 5-Port USB Wall/Desktop charger


If, like me, you take certain electronic gadgets with you when backpacking then you know how quickly those wall charger plugs and cables can add up. Your phone has a charger right? What about your camera? Do you take a Kindle Book Reader with you too for those long winter nights in the tent? Rechargeable head torch? What about a hand held GPS unit? Some folk I know take a back-up mobile phone too! All these devices require charging at some point and all have their own wall chargers and/or USB cables that you  need to consider taking with you if you’re hiking a multi-day backpacking adventure.

Now you may not have ALL these devices, or if you do you may not carry them all with you on your long distance walks, but if you only had two or three power hungry items with you then that’s three wall socket plugs you have to pack away – or at the very least a multi-port USB wall charger that you can plug all your devices into.

Generic Multi-port USB wall charger
Generic Multi-port USB wall charger

I like multi-port USB wall chargers. It means only having to carry one wall plug for all my devices, thus not only having less items to carry, but potentially cutting down pack space and pack weight too. It also means only having to find one power outlet in a pub, cafe or B&B/Hotel etc. when needing to charge up your devices. Most pubs and cafes have one wall socket you can use – even if it’s behind the bar or service counter – and most proprietors are happy enough to let you plug in, but they may take a dim view if you use up the only two or three sockets available. And what if someone else has beaten you to it? Another backpacker already using the only socket available? Or you’re hiking with a buddy and you both need to top up your mobile phone? I hiked with Dean Read on the Pennine Way in 2013 and remember both of us sitting in a pub far longer than we wanted simply because we had to wait for one phone to charge before plugging the other in the only wall socket available. This is where multi-port USB wall chargers come into their own. I have made friends on some of my hikes simply by letting a stranger use a spare USB port on my wall charger to charge his mobile phone or camera and landlords are much more congenial when they see only one of their power outlets being commandeered.


Not All Multi-Port USB Wall Chargers Are Equal

However, not all multi-port USB wall chargers are equal, although, at first glance, most seem to offer equal output delivery. While many offer 4 USB ports and are the 40W-50W 5V units needed for today’s devices many only offer between 2A and 4A output shared between all 4 ports. In layman’s terms this means that if you have 4 devices plugged into the 4 available USB ports then each device will only receive, at best, 1A charging capacity.

My phone requires 2A as does my rechargeable Powermonkey Extreme battery pack so to charge them both properly using a standard 4 port USB wall charger would mean I couldn’t utilize the two remaining ports efficiently. If I plugged in a third or forth device to the typical 4 port USB charger then charge time would be increased for all devices as the available output now has to be shared between more devices. So whilst generic multi-port USB chargers are readily available for less than the price of a Costa Coffee or a pint of ale they are pretty useless for actually charging those items we need to charge in a hurry. But there ARE better alternatives.

Bolse NewPower 40W (5V/8A) 5-Port USB Charger

Bolse Dedicated Ports
Bolse Intelligent Dedicated USB Ports

After purchasing a couple of different brand multi-port USB chargers and being disappointed with their power output capabilities when charging multiple devices I decided to see if there were better alternatives. After all, what’s the point in having the ability to charge 4 devices simultaneously from one wall socket if it takes all night to charge the devices? Especially when backpacking and wildcamping and only visiting pubs or cafes occasionally for refreshments and needing a quick top up of our electronic devices.

Then I purchased the Bolse NewPower 40W (5V/8A) 5-Port USB Wall/Desktop charger from Amazon. It offers a total of 8A output over 5 USB ports and has Intelligent Port Technology that determines the power input requirements of devices plugged into it. Upon receiving the Bolse charger I plugged it into a wall socket and using my Samsung Galaxy Note 4, my Powermonkeys Extreme, a rechargeable head-torch  and my pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones as test items I connected all four devices via USB cables to the Bolse charger. To charge the four items at their optimum charge capabilities (2A for my phone, 2A for the Extreme, 2A for head-torch and 1A for the headphones) I would require a total of 7A output from the Bolse charger.

I am happy to say that the Bolse charger simultaneously charged my items with no noticeable increase in the default charging times for each item. I have used the Bolse charger on many occasions now and am pleased with the results. Whilst at 7.8 ounces the charger is heavier than my supplied phone charger, and measuring 4.56 x 2.46 x 1.18 inches it is certainly bigger than a single plug, the convenience of only having to take one charger when backpacking and only requiring one wall socket to power up to 5 devices more than compensates these figures.

The build quality seems good and there is a very pleasant yellow light on the unit to indicate power is going through it (much  nicer then the standard blue, green or red lights commonly used on chargers). The Bolse charger also has over-voltage, over-current, short-circuit protection built in for peace of mind.

So, if you are looking for a multi-port USB charger, make sure it can deliver the power you need for your connected devices.

Bolse Connectivity
Bolse Connectivity Example


Disclaimer: I purchased the Bolse NewPower 40W (5V/8A) 5-Port USB Wall/Desktop charger with my own money and have no association with Bolse whatsoever.

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