Category Archives: USB2-HUB4BC

Plugable Hub Charges iPhone 5 and iPad Mini Faster than Their Bundled Chargers

With the release of Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPad Mini and their new “Lightning” connector, we wondered if Apple would update the charging behavior of their devices. If you don’t recall or aren’t aware of the convoluted story behind charging Apple’s products (the 30-pin generation), here is a refresher from a post we published a while back.

As far as we’re aware Apple hasn’t announced any changes in regards to their USB charging spec compliance with these devices, so we weren’t exactly optimistic. But we grabbed our 4 Port Hub which complies with the Battery Charging 1.1 standard, connected an iPhone5 and iPad Mini to it (without connecting the hub to a host computer), and measured the charge rate. In true X-mas miracle fashion, both devices charged at the full rate equivalent to what you would get by using Apple’s wall charger; instead of the old behavior where 30-pin generation devices would charge at 500mA max (with a computer attached) and not at all without (unless the iOS device itself was powered off).

There’s even icing on the cake; in our test iPhone 5 and iPad Mini charged at a HIGHER rate via the hub than with Apple’s wall charger, we calculated 1.1A through the hub whereas the in-box charger provides only 1.0A. Which equates to reaching a full charge from 10% battery in about 1.5 hours on iPhone 5, compared to 1 hour 50 mins with the wall charger.

What’s more (yes, there’s even more!) both the iPad Mini and iPhone 5 charged at the accelerated rate via our hub while syncing them to a computer. So they appear to be making full use of the great possibilities with the USB Battery Charging 1.1 standard. It’s wonderful news, and a great move by Apple.

Here’s a breakdown of all the charge rate data we recorded:

In Box Charger
Charge Rate
Synced to PC
Charge Rate
iPhone 5 930mA 1150mA 1150mA
iPad Mini 950mA 1170mA 1170mA

Please feel free to comment here with your experiences, or e-mail for any questions or inquiries — we’re always glad to help!

The Windows RT and Surface USB Device Compatibility Story

[Updated 11/20/2012]

Microsoft’s official statement is “Windows RT uses class drivers and in-box drivers exclusively, departing from a common driver added scenario on the x64 or x86 architectures.” (see Microsoft policies). There is no DDK. Officially, installing drivers on Windows RT is not supported.

That said, it turns out there is at least oneWindows ARM driver that exists (probably built and extracted from a full Windows RT platform development kit), and as a user you can install those drivers on a normal, unmodified Microsoft Surface device at least.

Whether Microsoft will close this mechanism in the future is unclear.

But for now, these steps show how to install a driver on the Surface to get wired ethernet support for particular devices like ours.

Below is a more complete list of all the Plugable devices which can and can’t be made to work with the surface today. Most use the drivers already built into the RT, so none of the above is a concern — but Windows RT is “special” so check for compatibility before assuming a device will work!

What devices work out of the box with ARM-based Windows RT (without a 3rd party driver install)?

USB hubs, including

USB extension cables, including

USB storage devices, including

USB keyboards and mice, including

What needs a driver package, but don’t have one for ARM-based Windows RT devices

Anything with a USB graphics function, including

Quite a few other devices with driver installs required, such as

What needs a driver package and has one available for ARM-based Windows RT devices

Feel free to add additional information in the comments, if you discover anything new or find any errors.