The Intelli PowerHub is a charging station that can handle multiple tasks at the same time. It’s designed around a wireless charging pad that keeps your phone at a comfortable angle while charging, but it also has three USB ports and two AC power outlets for added versatility. Even if your device doesn’t use a standard USB charger or support Qi wireless charging, you can always use the AC outlets to plug in a proprietary charger.
Because the PowerHub is marketed as a universal device charger, I kept one on my desk for a few weeks to see if that description was accurate. With my trusty Pixel 3, I used the wireless charger on a daily basis, plugging everything from a Nintendo Switch to an M1 MacBook to a vacuum cleaner into the USB ports, and using the AC outlets to power a variety of fans, lights, and other electronics. With the exception of a few minor design flaws, the Intelli PowerHub does a good job.
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Design: Angular and chunky
The Intelli PowerHub is designed around an angled Qi charging pad that holds a phone at a comfortable 65-degree angle while charging. Only the charging pad or your phone is visible when viewed from the front, with the Intelli-labeled base underneath. The rest of the device appears to be tacked on to the back of this central feature, resulting in a chunky, angular plastic lump that appears more utilitarian than anything else.
The charging ports are evenly distributed throughout the device, with two USB-A ports on one side, a USB-C port on the other, and AC power outlets behind the charging pad. The AC power ports also face directly up, which is fine if you’re plugging in a power adapter, but it makes plugging in any device that uses a power cord feel awkward. Plugging some devices into these outlets resulted in the cord sticking straight up, past the top of my phone, creating an odd look depending on the stiffness of the cord.
Setup Process: Ready to work right out of the box
Right out of the box, the Intelli PowerHub is fully assembled and ready to use. Finding a spot for it on your desk or counter, plugging it in, and turning on the power switch on the back are all it takes to get it up and running.
If your phone supports Qi wireless charging, it will charge automatically when placed on the charging pad, and you can charge other phones or devices by simply plugging in the appropriate USB cable or power adapter. You’ll have to supply your own charging cables because it doesn’t come with any.
Ease of Use: Presents a cable management issue
The wireless charging cradle is the Intelli PowerHub’s main feature, and it gets high marks for it. I’ve used other wireless chargers that were a little finicky about positioning, but that isn’t an issue here. I was greeted by the satisfying buzz, tone, and animation that indicates a wireless charging connection every time I placed my Pixel 3 on the cradle.
During testing, I was able to nudge my Pixel 3 past the cradle’s edge without breaking the connection, and I was able to successfully establish a connection with the phone that was significantly off-center.
The connection will work even if your phone is not perfectly centered. During testing, I was able to nudge my Pixel 3 past the cradle’s edge without breaking the connection, and I was able to successfully establish a connection with the phone that was significantly off-center.
Because the USB ports aren’t all on one side and the power outlets protrude from the back, the charging station’s ease of use will be determined by where you place it. You can’t really push it against a wall or anything else because one or two of the USB ports will be blocked.
Because the USB ports aren’t all on one side and the power outlets protrude from the back, the charging station’s ease of use will be determined by where you place it.
Because the ports are on opposite sides, cable management can be a problem, as you can easily end up with USB cables coming out of two different sides of the charger, the main power cable extending from the back, and two power adapters or cables sticking straight up. I only leave cables connected for as long as they’re needed to charge a device before putting them away in a drawer, so this wasn’t a big deal for me, but I can see cable management being a pain for some users.
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Charging Speed: Great performance from the USB-C and Qi chargers
This device is marketed as a universal charging station, and it does a good job of fulfilling that description. It offers a wide range of charging speeds. The wireless charging pad, USB-A ports, USB-C ports, and AC power outlets all have different levels of power output to suit the needs of different devices, and they all functioned well.
Intelli rates its wireless charging pad’s output at 1 or 1.1 amps and 5, 7.5, or 9 volts DC, depending on the device you’re trying to charge. With 5, 7.5, or about 10 watts of power, that’s pretty good coverage. In practice, when charging wirelessly with an app, my Pixel 3 drew about 1,400mA, and a full charge took about three and a half hours. I was more than satisfied with that performance because a number of other wireless chargers I own only provide about a third of that.
This device is marketed as a universal charging station, and it does a good job of fulfilling that description. It offers a wide range of charging speeds.
The USB-A ports are rated at 5V DC 2A each, according to Intelli. With nothing connected but my tester, I measured the output voltage to be 5.1V, and then tested how much amperage it provided to a variety of devices. I measured 1.14A for my Nintendo Switch, 1.46A for my Pixel 3, 0.8 watts for my USB vacuum, and 0.44A for a Sharper Image air purifier using an amp meter. When devices were plugged into both USB-A ports at the same time, power output did not drop, indicating that each port is capable of putting out its maximum amperage without affecting the other.
While USB-A ports are limited to 5V and 2A, the USB-C port is rated at 18W 12V DC 1.5A/ 9V DC 2A/5V DC 2.4 A, which is sufficient to charge a variety of devices quickly. When plugged into this port, my Pixel 3 flashes the “charging rapidly” message, just like it does with the fast charger that came with it.
When devices were plugged into both USB-A ports at the same time, power output did not drop, indicating that each port is capable of putting out its maximum amperage without affecting the other.
Another point of comparison is that the port can also power my M1 MacBook Air, which believes it is plugged into the factory power adapter. My M1 MacBook charged fully in just over three hours when plugged into the USB-C port.
According to Intelli, the two AC power outlets are capable of a combined 1,000W of output for devices that don’t charge via USB or if you have more than four USB devices to charge at once. Everything worked as expected after I plugged in a variety of power adapters, lamps, my desk fan, and anything else I could find.
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Charging Capacity: Easily power up six or more devices at once
The Intelli PowerHub can charge or power four devices simultaneously without the use of any additional adapters: one phone on the cradle, two phones or other USB devices plugged into the USB-A ports, and one phone, laptop, or other compatible device plugged into the USB-C port.
Two additional devices can be easily powered by plugging them into the AC power outlets. If you have a USB power adapter with multiple built-in ports, you can easily increase that number, though it will necessitate additional hardware.
The charging station’s total AC output is limited to 1,000W, with each USB-A port capable of 10W, the USB-C port capable of 18W, and the Qi charging cradle capable of 10W. That means you can charge six or more devices simultaneously without worrying about one or more of them running out of juice.
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Price: Decent price for what you get
The Intelli PowerHub is a little pricey for a wireless charging station, with an MSRP of $70 and a street price that’s typically closer to $30-50 (), but it’s pretty decent when you consider the good mix of features it includes, such as the inclusion of two AC outlets and the great performance you get from the charging cradle and USB-C port.
Charging cradles for about half the price of an Intelli PowerHub are available, but they do not include any power outlets. Power bricks with more AC outlets and USB ports are also available, but they usually lack a charging cradle or a USB-C port. This is a reasonable price for such a unique combination of features.
Bestek Wireless Charger vs. Intelli PowerHub
The Bestek Wireless Charger Desktop Power Strip, with an MSRP of $50, eight AC power outlets, six USB-A ports, and a wireless charging pad, is a strong competitor to the Intelli PowerHub. It has a higher number of AC outlets and USB ports, as well as a lower MSRP.
While these units share many of the same features, their functions are slightly different. The Intelli PowerHub is better suited for desktop use because it rotates your phone to a comfortable 65-degree angle, allowing you to see all of your notifications at a glance. When used in a desktop setting, the charging platform on the Bestek is just the flat surface of the device, making it difficult or impossible to even see if the phone is charging, let alone read notifications.
In terms of wireless charging, the Intelli PowerHub has another advantage: it charges faster. When compared to the Bestek, the PowerHub provided nearly three times the power, resulting in a much faster charge.
If you have a lot of devices to power at once, the Bestek unit is definitely the better choice, and it also comes with a built-in surge protector. Due to the angle of the charging pad and the inclusion of a USB-C port, I believe the PowerHub is the better desktop solution.
The Final Word
With only a few minor flaws, the Intelli PowerHub is an excellent charging station. It performs admirably as a charging cradle, with a wide viewing angle and convenient positioning for wireless charging, and the USB-C port is versatile and capable of charging a wide range of devices quickly. Some users may experience cable management issues, and the placement of the AC power outlets is inconvenient if you want to use this charging station in your kitchen or bathroom, but the device’s overall performance speaks for itself.