Ok – not a good one this.
Lets take a close look at the wall mains power iPhone plug provided with the iPhone 4s. Now I personally am neither here nor there when it comes to which brand of smartphone I use – I can go either way – Apple or Android to be honest – they both do the job as far as I am concerned. I was looking at the charger plug for connection of the iPhone to the household mains power circuit (wall sockets) for the purpose of charging the battery the other day, because I recently purchased a multi-port USB charger in an attempt to tidy things up a bit around the house – cables and such etc. and minimize the number of wall sockets I use given the ever increasing number of gadgets which require charging.
To be safe when choosing the right charger for anything which contains re-chargeable batteries, the absolute minimum the user MUST DO is check two things.
1. The Output Voltage and AMPS which the charger can provide.
2. The required Input Voltage and AMPS which the device which needs charging requires.
Now this is fairly commonplace information (in terms of what actually needs to be checked before using charging devices from other brands) and it isn’t the purpose of this particular review to go into to the whys and wheres of power connections for charger plugs, however the attainment of this volts and amps information is of utmost importance because if you get this wrong, you can damage the equipment or worse.
Lets take a look at a picture of the Apple iPhone charger plug below – note that this is the three pronged UK version.
Can you see the problem? It is not as stark as looking at the actual plug, as the image above is zoomed in far more than you can accomplish by looking closely with your own eyes! The printer may not have been working the day they made these – who knows – but the type on the plug is both extremely small and due to the faintness of the print (seemingly caused by the choice of color) it is barely legible. Infact – it is so faint that to discern the details I needed before going off and plugging the phone into another charger power source, I actually had to locate a magnifying glass. I really do not believe I should have to do this – for example what if I didn’t possess a magnifier? Would I then be tempted to just say to myself “oh forget it – give it a go and see what happens” – fortunately for me – no – but I can be almost certain that this could well be the effect that not acquiring the information would have on some people.
Somewhere within Apple documentation it could say that other chargers are not recommended – but people wanting to move over to other chargers is always going to be an issue. So for those who have suffered the same problem as I have, but are unable to zoom in on their charger to get the numbers – here they are, and I have to type them because my Canon Digital SLR can’t quite recreate them in a photo.
Here is what the charger actually reads for your reference – and I can assure anyone reading this – it was very hard for me to get this information.
“Designed By Apple in California”
“Model No : A1399 Made in China”
“Input : 100 – 240V ~ 50/60 Hz 0.15A
“Output : 5V — 1A” (those three hyphens are actually a solid line with three lines below)
“Salcomp (Shenzhen) Co Ltd.”
There are also some safety markings / care labels which include the CE mark. After a while during this review, I thought I could perhaps use the macro function on the camera to take a clearer picture, but the best I could get was a really blurry image barely of any use at all. I loaded it to paintshop and with some fiddling round with the color settings and some replacing I managed to get the following enhancement.
I would preferably like to see this important electrical notice highlighted in a more readable manner on the plug, and because I spent so long searching for a way to actually be able to read the details I am giving this device a poor rating. It is not (and I would like to enforce this) to say the device is functionally sub-standard – I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that it works perfectly well, but when it’s time to replace it – this is the issue. So make no mistake – using an apple charger with an apple phone is a good bet for certain, and this is ideal – but I could not read the important voltages so the product loses points.
If you are reading this and feel that someone you know could do with learning the requirements before they go switching to some cheap product they picked up elsewhere which is not of the apple brand, pass this on using the social networks – you could save them time and money in the long run – and they could actually be grateful for the information as it is hard to come by on the actual plug!