XTAR VC2S Charger Review

Preface

Xtar has a bunch of new chargers out, including this update to a previous model.  This is the VC2S, which steps up the game from the original VC2 by adding an S!!  Maybe more, but read on to find that info out!


Official Specs

Price

These are going for around $20.

Short Review

This is a very capable charger, but I found the lack of ability to select the charging current to be a bother.  But it’ll charge a single cell at 2A, so if that’s your need, then this is a good charger for you!

Long Review

Key Features

1. Upgraded colorful VA LCD screen tells you real-time charging status!
2. Intelligent Visible Experience.
3. Micro-USB powered, charge anywhere.
4. Internal Resistance Testing.
5. Portable Power Bank Function.
6. Battery Type Auto-identification.
7. 0V Activation Function revives over-discharged battery.
8. Soft Start& TC-CC-CV Three-Stage Charging.

Manual and Packaging

The typical XTAR blue and white:

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The manual’s fine, and includes multiple languages.

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What’s Included

  • XTAR VC2S 2-bay Charger
  • USB to micro-USB cable
  • Manual

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Build Quality and Durability

The build of this little charger is quite nice.  It’s moderately heavy, the springs are fairly stiff, and the screen is excellent.

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You’ll get the joy of removing one of these screen protectors.

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There are six rubber feet, and they’re quite grippy.

The back also adequately describes the capabilities of the charger, which is something I always like.

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Only one side has ports, and that’s the top side.  Every other is either blank (bottom) or has some slots for cooling.

The screen is incredible.  Very crisp, clear, and … interesting.  I don’t really love this type of means to display information, but it’s still a very nice display.

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Verrrryyyy shiny!!

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Size

Officially 129*66.5*32mm.

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Power

The only means to power this charger is a micro-USB port on the top.  It wants that input to be 2.1A, too.

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As for what cells this charger will charge: many.  Li-ion, NiMH, and NiCD chemistries are supported.  Any size that’ll fit can be charged.  Unfortunately that excludes the newer longer cells like 20700 and 21700.  Edit:  21700 cells fit just fine!  Unprotected flat top 21700s, that is (though, I don’t know of any button top or protected 21700 cells.)  All the way from 10440 to 26650 and AAAA to C.

The charger also has powerbank function (which I’ll talk about more later), but here’s what the screen looks like when the charger first powers up. Notice that there’s a center display says “USB” (in blue) and the voltage there reads 4.99V – that’s the voltage of the USB-out port.

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Unfortunately for my testing of this charger, it’s sensitive enough to internal resistance that my normal test setup wouldn’t work with it.  That or it’s just too smart in general for my setup?  Either is possible.  So the below charts are from a makeshift setup, but still tells the general idea.

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The charger outputs at a max 2A.  Thus 2A is only possible when charging a single cell; having two or more cells in the device will split the 2A max possible between them.  Not that it’ll still necessarily charge those two at 1A each, but it can.

It’ll do a few other useful things too, like activate 0V cells, and serve as a powerbank.  Below is a simple display of what the charger does from the USB-out port.  Only the left bay is used for the powerbank feature (and it’s labeled as such).  When a cell is inserted, nothing happens – press the switch and the charger comes to life.  It’ll switch back to standby very quickly though – 5 or so seconds.  If you attach a device, the charger will also come to life if it’s been inactive.  The output wants a load.  If there isn’t one almost immediately, the powerbank will shut off.  So it needs half an amp or so being pulled – it’s not a low current device.  And up around 1.3A being pulled, the powerbank shuts off.  So the ideal range is between 0.5A and 1.2A.  That’s a fairly narrow range for a power bank, if we’re being honest.

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One thing I’ll add about charging is that the 2A setting is actually 2A.  I tested that independently in a non-logging fashion, but it started just under 2A and held around 1.8ishA.

User Interface and Operation

There’s a single button on this device.  It’s front and center, right at the bottom of the screen.  It’s a hard click, and quite loud, and really just doesn’t do much anyway.

The charger selects charging current on it’s own (despite what some product listings say.  In fact the only thing the switch does is cycle the display from reading CAP (Capacity, CCR (real time charging current) and IR (internal resistance).

On the one hand that means this charger is smart enough to generally do what you want anyway.  On the other, sometimes I might want 0.5A charging instead of 1A or 2A, and there’s no way whatsoever to do that.

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Conclusion

What I like

  • Limited button actions make this a “drop the cell in and forget it” charger
  • Actually charges at 2A

What I don’t like

  • Only 2A for one bay
  • Button doesn’t allow selecting charging currents manually.

Up Next

Working on the TM10K by Nitecore for tomorrow!

Notes:

  • This item was provided by XTAR for review.  I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this charger, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons.  Note I’ve upgraded that sheet so that now, you may subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

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