Articles on this site contain affiliate links, meaning we may be compensated if you purchase a product or service after clicking them. Read our full disclosure policy here.
As a traveller, what’s the one thing you never have enough of? Money? Vacation days? Sets of earplugs?
Well, it’s probably all of those things — but for me at least, there’s something else as well. Power sockets. Few of the hotel and dorm rooms I’ve stayed in have had quite enough sockets for the number of gadgets my girlfriend and I carry, and even some of the short-term apartments I rent seem to be been designed before electricity was a thing.
With more of my gear moving to USB charging, at least the bulky power adapters are starting to disappear. That’s a good thing, but I’m still left with either having a rats nest of cables hanging out of my laptop, or carrying a power strip and a bunch of USB plug adapters around.
Neither problem is the end of the world, but it does make travelling light even more difficult than usual. I recently received a review sample of something aimed at dealing with this problem, the Olixar Travel Adapter. Here are my thoughts after a week using this four-port USB charger that’s tweaked for travellers.
Specifications and Design
The adapter is relatively inexpensive, and as a result I didn’t expect much from the design. Surprisingly, it’s actually quite sleek — a compact, lightweight white and grey cube, with four USB sockets laid out in a two by two grid along the back.
The front has a small cut-out section, into which you insert whichever power plug you need. The Olixar comes with four plug attachments — US, Europe/Asia, Australia/New Zealand and UK styles — and they all fit into place firmly and easily.
Each of the USB sockets is rated at up to 2.4 amps, but the adapter itself has a maximum output of 4.8 amps. What does that actually mean? Well, in practical terms, you could charge two tablets or four smartphones at the same time, or a tablet and pair of smartphones, or a few smaller gadgets like e-readers and such, at full speed.
It’s unfortunate you can’t simultaneously run all four sockets at their maximum rating, but it’s unlikely to be much of a drawback unless you’ve got a lot of high-amperage gear.
Real World Testing
After unwrapping the adapter and connecting the European plug attachment (I’m currently in Spain), I connected the charging cables for a Nexus 7 tablet, Nexus 5 smartphone and iPhone 5, and plugged it into a wall socket. It stayed firmly in place with the cables hanging off it, no matter how much I nudged and wiggled it.
Given how often my usual plug adapter falls out of the wall in Europe and Asia due to loose-fitting sockets, it was a small but welcome bonus.
Plugging each of the respective devices in, they lit up with charging icons one after the other. There was no noticeable charging speed difference for either the phones or the tablet, although things slowed down a little once
I also connected a portable battery pack requiring 2amps. Given I was exceeding the maximum output by around 25% at that point, it wasn’t exactly a surprise.
Since I’m a geek, I then spent the next ten minutes plugging every single USB device I could get my hands on into the adapter. Two models of Kindle, two other battery packs, a GoPro, even a USB-powered electric toothbrush (no, really) — they all worked without a hitch.
Get Us in Your Inbox
Get our regular email updates with the latest travel tech news, tips, and articles. We'll also send over a free 5000-word guide to get you started!
I liked this travel adapter, and found it useful. It’s very much the kind of thing I’d take with me on the road, especially when travelling with someone else who also has gear that needs charging over USB. For £19 (or $25 in the US store), it’s an inexpensive way of dealing with both a lack of wall sockets and a bag full of adapters.
The inclusion of various wall plugs is a nice touch, and that, combined with the price and lightweight design, lifts the Olixar above similar products on the market.
The only addition I would have liked to see was a small carry case or pouch to keep the plug attachments in, rather than digging around at the bottom of my bag when I need them. That’s a small niggle, though, with what is otherwise an easy product to recommend.