Auto XS is the Aldi automotive line, representing everything from car cleaning supplies to emergency gear. (We’re fans of the Auto XS Trunk Organizer.) Among the Special Buys we’ve seen from Auto XS are cell phone accessories, including this USB car charger, which seems to run in the spring.
The Auto XS USB Car Charger, which retails for $4.99, is a basic USB car dual charger, designed to fit in the car charger port of your vehicle (or what older folks might refer to as the cigarette lighter adapter). The USB charger is equipped with two ports, each of them clearly labeled:
- One 5 volt / 9 volt / 12 volt + 2 amp port. This one is at the top of the charger, farthest from the indicator light.
- One 5 volt + 1 amp port. This one is closest to the indicator light.
We tested the charger with two Android smartphones … and we were disappointed. The charger worked adequately enough when we had the phone on standby or we were navigating with the screen off, but it was clearly overmatched when we tried to use the charger while using a navigation app with the screen and GPS running. The 2 amp port drained slowly, while the 1 amp port drained faster than that. Our phones, it should be noted, are competent but hardly top-of-the-line; this is not a high-end smartphone or tablet running a movie.
Unlike the Auto XS, our Anker has the juice to charge our phones even when they’re running everything. To be fair, the Anker charger is twice as expensive as the Auto XS — $9.99 to $4.99 — but for a charger that actually charges with a phone in full use, that’s a pretty big no-brainer. (The Anker also comes with an 18-month warranty, while the Auto XS charger comes with none.)
Aldi’s Auto XS USB Car Charger looks the part of your typical generic charger, like the ones you might get from a grocery store or Walgreens, but it doesn’t deliver a lot of punch, not even for $4.99. It’s adequate if your phone screen is off, but it couldn’t keep up when we needed our middle-class smartphone screen for navigation. We can only imagine how much more overpowered a tablet would be.
Overall, with more powerful options available for not much more, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.