It doesn’t make much sense to travel with a dedicated charger for each device anymore. It’s much simpler and lighter to take a single multi-port USB charger hub.
There are plenty of multi-port USB chargers out there. You can get different numbers of ports, various combinations of high-output vs. low-output ports, and different overall power ratings. But, in general, they all do fundamentally the same thing: pass power from an AC outlet to USB devices.
And RAVPower 6-Port USB Charger FileHub does that too. It also has two high-power ports for fast-charging devices that support that—it’s a 60W charger with two ports that can provide up to 24W (when used alone). The folks at RAVPower sent me one to try out.
While it takes care of the charging part handily, it also has a party trick that stands out: you can use it to connect your phone to a thumb drive, external SSD, or hard drive. On some phones, you can do that directly. But with others, it’s not possible or at least not easy. The FileHub connects them in such a way that it’s a two-way street. That is, you can use it back up your phone to the external drive. Or you can use it to browse and play files from the external drive to your phone. (You do need to use an app to mediate the connection.) So if you’re traveling in places where internet or cell access is patchy or metered, you can still get the peace of mind of backing up all your photos and phone data.
Phone Backup and File Access
You’ll notice in the photos on this page that there’s a lighter gray section over the top two ports. Those ports are labeled Storage and Phone. And they’re the ones you use to for this particular operation. The Storage one is primarily for data transfer and has meager power output—just enough to power many of the standalone thumb drives and external SSDs and HDDs; you wouldn’t use it as a charging port.
To start the backup, you use the free U-Hub app (IOS | Android). It’s a different one to the RAV FileHub app, although it’d be much simpler (not to mention, more logical since this device also falls in RAVPower’s FileHub range) if it was consolidated into the same app.
There’s not much to it. It’s simple to use and, in my experience, works as advertised.
But the connection is two-way. Which means that you can also use it as a way for the phone to browse the contents of the thumb drive or external drive. There are all sorts of ways that might come in useful, but as a travel photographer, one that I often use is for browsing and selection photos. You could also use it as a way to watch movies when you have flaky wifi, non-existent internet connection, or metered cell data.
I’ve been using it mainly with the tiny RAVPower External SSD that I reviewed recently, but I’ve also tried it with a standard USB thumb drive as a well as a WD MyPassport HDD; it worked as expected with both.
You can use the Phone port to charge your phone, but there are four other ports for charging at various power outputs.
The two highest output ones are the PD (USB-C) and QC (USB-A) ports. They’re the best ones to use for devices that can handle higher input power—things like laptops and some tablets and smartphones. They can pass up to 24W (12V/2A) if used alone. But if you use more than one, that 24W is divided amongst the ports in use. In other words, if you use both the PD and QC ports at the same time, each will have up to 12W available.
The two iSmart ports use USB-A plugs and can provide up to 5V / 2.4A each. iSmart is RAVPower’s name for its variable output technology that detects the needs of the connected device and provides only what it needs and can handle.
- Model No.: RP-UM002
- Power Input: AC 100V-240V 50/60Hz
- “Storage” Port: USB-A | 5V / 0.9A max. Supports FAT32, NTFS, and exFAT drives with a maximum capacity of up to 8TB
- “Phone” Port: USB-A | Supports BC1.2 charging and data transfer | 5V / 1.5A max | max transfer speed of up to 20 Mbps.
- “QC” Port: USB-A QC 3.0 | Supports QC charging with a maximum power of 24W (12V/2A) when used alone. Note that if you use it at the same time as other ports, the max power is divided between the ports. For instance, if you use the QC and PD ports at the same time, each would allow up to 12W (5V/2.4A).
- “PD” Port: USB-C | 5V, 9V, 12V; 12V/2A Max. The maximum power it supports is up to 24W (12V/2A) if used alone. If used with other ports at the same time, the power is divided between the ports.
- Total Output: 5V / 12A
- Overcurrent Protection: Yes
What’s in the Box?
It comes with:
- USB Charger FileHub
- AC power cord
- user guide (hard copy)
Where to Find Them
You can find them at Amazon.
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Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2020-05-27 at 21:19. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.