AViiQ Portable Charging Station Review: Convenient but Pricey

Last Updated Aug 11, 2011 1:21 PM EDT

Take a look inside your travel bag. If it's anything like mine, it's jam-packed with AC adapters and charging cables for your phone, tablet, e-reader, headset, mobile hotspot, and other gear. What a colossal hassle.

The AViiQ Portable Charging Station packs a single AC adapter and three-port USB hub in a slim, zippered case, complete with storage pockets for your cords and other travel items. It's a nice, decidedly convenient alternative to a bag full of cables and wall warts. My only complaint? The price.

Made of somewhat unattractive gray nylon, the bi-fold AViiQ case measures about 10 inches long, five inches wide, and 1.5 inches thick when zippered. Thus, it slips pretty easily into any carry-on bag -- though it does seem sort of big overall. (I don't see how it could be much smaller; I just wish it was.)

Open it up and you'll find a 15-watt wall charger with folding prongs and a wraparound cord for easy re-storage. The USB hub can supply enough juice to charge most mobile devices, including tablets like the iPad. Just plug your existing USB charging cable into the hub, then tuck the remaining cord into one of the pockets below. Everything stays fairly neat and orderly.

The hub also sports a pass-through connector and retractable USB cable, which you can use for, say, syncing your phone with your laptop. That's a handy little perk.

Also handy: the mesh pocket on the right side of the case, which is good for flattish things like memory cards and spare batteries.

I just got back from a lengthy trip, and the AViiQ was definitely nice to have along. At one point I had three devices -- iPhone, Nook Color, and Verizon MiFi 4510L mobile hotspot -- connected and charging at the same time. And it was a cinch to sync the iPhone with my laptop when the need arose.

But $79.99 for what amounts to a powered USB hub and carrying case? In my book, that's too steep. Much as I prize convenience when I travel, I prize value even more. That's the only area where the AViiQ Portable Charging Station comes up short.

Pros: Charges up to three mobile devices simultaneously, including a tablet. Keeps cables neat and orderly. Hub includes data pass-through port.

Cons: Not too pretty to look at, especially the pink accents. Expensive.

Should You Buy It? If you travel a lot and don't mind paying a premium for convenience, this is a very handy accessory.

Price: $79.99

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