Review: Belkin USB-C Cables and Car Chargers

Belkin offers a huge range of cables and accessories for your tech-filled life. They have expanded their range to offer a selection of premium USB C cables and car chargers. No matter what your requirement, it seems Belkin has got you covered with. I’ve had the chance to try a selection of these over the past month, read on to see how they fared.

First up are the car chargers. Belkin sent over their combined USB A & USB C charger (5W & 15W), a MIXIT Universal 12W USB charger, the Road Rockstar four port USB charger capable of supplying 36W of power, a Universal 12W USB charger (non-MIXIT), and a dedicated 15W USB C charger with USB C cable. That’s a lot of options!

Belkin also sent some of their USB C cables – a high-speed USB C to USB A and a MIXIT USB C to Micro USB. These aren’t going to be useful to everyone, but they can save you using fiddly adapters.

The combined USB A & USB C charger is helpfully called the “USB-C car charger with USB-A port” – no marketing lingo here then. This is a small 12 V adapter that has a central USB A port and a separate attached lead with a USB C connector on the end. There is also an unobtrusive green LED that shows you’re plugged in correctly. The charger is capable of supplying 15W over its USB C lead, which will rapidly charge most phones and tablets including my Google Pixel XL. This isn’t quite as fast as the wall-plug Google 18W charger, but it’s much faster than most car chargers.  It’s even capable of charging some laptops such as the MacBook, but it’s going to take some time. The USB A socket isn’t so powerful, being rated at only 5W. This will still charge most legacy devices and is great for when you need two devices powered at the same time.

Next up is the MIXIT Universal Car Charger – this is a small unit that is available in a range of colours (including the MacBook-friendly rose gold). It features a built-in smart chip that maximises the charge rate of your devices, up to 12W. It’s well-built, compact and looks really smart.

For those who need to charge a few more devices, the Road Rockstar offers four USB ports from a single plug. These are split with two on the plug and two on a remote dongle that’s connected by a generously long wire. This is ideal for locating behind the front seats for passengers. I had no problems fixing it in place with the included adhesive pad and bracket. The components are larger than on Belkin’s other chargers, with a chunky cable to handle all that power, this makes it less ideal if you are looking for a compact or discrete solution. The charger supplies 2.4A to each of the ports on the dongle, and 2.4A split between the two on the plug. This is a total of 36W of power – ideal for family car trips with tablets galore!

The standard Universal Charger is very similar to the MIXIT version – offering 12W charging in a compact form factor. It’s well designed with a nice and sturdy feel.

Belkin’s USB C car charger + USB C cable offers an alternative to the attached-lead charger. Here you gain the detachable/replaceable USB C lead (that you can also use outside of the car), but you only have one USB C charging port. The charger is capable of supplying 15W of power for rapid charging of capable devices. I recently took this charger on holiday because it’s really small and I could use the lead with my wall charger as well.

The USB-C to USB A cable is based on the USB 3.1 specification which means it can transfer data at up to 10 Gbps. This requires a small chip in the connectors and you can see below that they are a fair bit larger than a basic connector. The cable is also slightly thicker, allowing for the high-quality signaling lines that are required. The cable feels really solid and durable. One slight downside is the glossy finish on the connector – it’s going to scratch if you don’t really look after it.

The final cable I was sent to look at is the MIXIT USB C to Micro USB cable. This is a slightly more unusual cable, but one that I regularly need. This lets you connect a Micro USB device to your USB C laptop – great for connecting legacy storage drives, cameras or phones. I’ve also used it to connect my Chord Hugo DAC to both my USB C laptop and phone – it worked a treat and removed a bulky dongle from my setup.

So that’s just a quick run through of some of the cables and chargers available from Belkin. Using them over the past month there’s been a common theme linking them all – quality. All the cables and chargers are well-built and feel sturdy when in use, a far cry from some eBay cables I’ve had in the past. These are a good step above the generic accessories that I’ve previously used, and I like it. The downside is the price – you are going to pay a premium over a no-name brand, but I feel reassured knowing my devices won’t be harmed by a Belkin cable.

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