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Thursday, 06 December 2012 14:12

Beware the 3rd-party USB phone charger

By

A bargain smartphone charger may not be the bargain you think it is.

Here's a personal tale of irritation that might cause others something of an ah-ha moment.

My last 2 smartphones (a recently retired HTC Aria and a brand-new Galaxy SIII) were both shipped with 5V 1A wall warts for charging through the USB socket. Being on a standard post-paid plan, I've has the Aria for a full 2 years and have just recently upgraded to the SIII, and thus the HTC-provided power pack, being nice and small has lived in my briefcase for charging on-the-go.

The new Samsung charging unit, being even smaller, was destined for the same usage.

In order to gain some flexibility, I bought a couple of seemingly similar wall warts from Catch of the Day a little over a year ago. I left these plugged in at home or the office as permanent charging supplies; previously the phone was connected to any local computer for charging.

For ages now, I've been complaining that first the Aria and now the SIII had remarkably insensitive touch screens when the cable was attached - in fact the only way to answer an incoming call was to disconnect the charging cable as my touch (nay, very firm bash!) went entirely undetected while the cable was attached. In addition, ever since it was purchased, the SIII has been suffering from super-sensitivity at random occasions (again when the cable was attached, but only when fully-charged) and would click itself into all kinds of random things while un-attended on my desk.

In a fit of desperation (and at a suggestion from another contributor on my Telco's forums) I've just swapped the charger to the official Samsung one and the insensitivity problem has vanished, and I'm expecting that the oversensitivity has gone also (I'll have to wait and see as the unit is currently still charging).

The only difference? The official chargers are both rated at 5V 1A, while the Catch of the Day-supplied ones are rated at just 400mA

Clearly the phone sucks harder than 400mA.

…and so does my opinion of the third-party chargers!

(a link to this story will be passed to Catch of the Day for comment)

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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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