Power Adaptors: Cygnett PowerMini USB car charger

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cygnett_powerminiNearly every small handheld piece of gadgetry these days uses a USB interface and most can also be charged through that same interface providing a simple and easy way to charge up the internal battery.  This is great until you need to charge your device (mobile phone, iPod or other small device/mp3 player) whilst traveling in the car.

To remedy this problem Cygnett have released a new USB car charger which simply plugs into the cigarette/cigar lighter to give you a fully functional USB point for charging of virtually any device that can be charged through this interface (Cygnett claims compatibility with the iPod, iPhone, Blackberry as well as many other USB compatible devices). However, in contrast to previous USB car chargers by Cygnett, this one is much smaller and more discrete.

The device itself is made from lightweight black plastic with metal bar for connection in the lighter (similar in size to the Powertraveller Motormonkey that we reviewed previously), which ensures a good and stable power connection (some similar devices have smaller metal bars for connection which result in a poor connection).  The unit fits snugly into the cigarette lighter and fits flush to the fascia of the dashboard (although this will dependent on the location of the lighter socket) and the face of the unit also has a power indicator light to indicate power usage.

Although the unit doesn't come with a generic USB cable or connectors like the Motormonkey, the majority of devices have a USB to miniUSB cable or similar bundled so it just means that you have to remember to take the cable for your specific device on your journey.

In comparison with the Powertraveller Motormonkey the overall cost is fairly similar (£15 for the Motormonkey as opposed to ~£8 at the time of writing) and in our opinion even though the Cygnett Powermini is cheaper we felt that the Motormonkey was probably slightly better value as it felt more robust (being encased in steel) and included the majority of USB connectors (in the form of an extendable cable and various power tips) required to charge devices.  If you just need an USB car adaptor though and don't want the extra clutter in your glovebox then the Cygnett fits the bill perfectly.