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Last Updated on February 20, 2018 by Team Spinfuel
As a rule, Spinfuel VAPE always recommends charging removable batteries from our vaping devices in an external charger, rather than leaving them in the Mod and charging them with a USB cable. It’s safer, faster, and with an extra set of (married) batteries you never have to wait for your device to recharge. Our choice for external battery chargers has been Nitecore since 2013, and with the new Nitecore Q4 Charger, it remains our top choice.
Nitecore’s new addition to the Q Series line of chargers, is the colorful, and translucent Q4. The Q4 is fully capable of charging up to 4 batteries simultaneously, and can charge up to 2A, giving users a quick recharge of whatever batteries they use.
Like other chargers from Nitecore, the Q4 has many features to offer, including some safety features found in more expensive Nitecore chargers.
In this review, we’ll go over our first impressions, and usage report for this new charger. To be fair, unless Nitecore really botched this one, we were fairly certain going in that we would be recommending the Q4 for users that need a reliable, safe, and simple device for charging batteries. The four ‘fun’ colors don’t mean a lot to final score of the Q4, but they certainly don’t hurt.
Initial Impressions of the Nitecore Q4
Nitecore sent us one of each color of the Nitecore Q4 charger. In addition to color-coordinating the boxes to the color of the charger inside, the front side of the box indicates which charger model is inside, while the back of the box lists most of the features and, of course, which batteries the Q4 is compatible with. Those of you that are now buying the newer 20700 and 21700 Mods, the Q4 is definitely a good choice. Whether its an 18650, 26650, and those in-between, the Q4 handles them all, and at the same time. .
Inside the box is the charger, power cord, a user manual, and the warranty card. The Nitecore Q4 charger is smaller than you might expect, especially considering it’s a four-bay charger. Nitecore has chosen to eliminate as much of the extraneous plastic housing as possible. The small size makes it an ideal travel charger. The only thing missing is a travel bag that would fit the charger and cord.
Translucent Housing and Colors
The translucent colors that the Q4 are available in include; Pinky Peach, Lemonade, Blackberry and Juicy Mango. The photos in this review will show each of the colors so you’ll have a good indication of what each of these clever names actually mean. (pink, yellow, etc.)
Because the chargers are not opaque, the user can see the internal components. The top side of the Q4 charges shows the Nitecore logo, and the four slots for the batteries, and nothing more but an LED light above each slot.
The springs inside the battery slots work really well, with a nice, smooth spring mechanism. One of the issues I had with the Nitecore i8 was the vertical springs that would sometimes kick the batteries across the room. Here, the slots are horizontal again, (like most other Nitecore models) but the springs seem to be silkier, less prone to kick up.
These light above each slot indicate whether the battery is charged, or not. Once fully charged a simple glance will let you know. The bottom of the unit has four rubber grips that makes sure the Q4 sits securely..
Using the Nitecore Q4
For the office, the Nitecore i8 it’s the only charger we’ve been using. The Q4, as well as the Q2 (a 2-bay version) is the unit I’ve been using at home. For the review period (2 weeks) I took a Q4 home and when the time was up, I decided to keep it.
I’ve had zero issues with the Q4, it performed as I expected the entire time; quick charges, simple operation. Nitecore has released some fairly complicated chargers in the past, with options vapers might never use, so it was a pleasure using a simple charger made for vapers.
As I said above, the Nitecore Q4 is a simple charger. There is no screen, no options to choose voltage readings or percent of charge. When the battery is charged, the LED shows you. If you’re looking for something that gives you a lot more information, such as battery life, the speed of the recharging, and more, than you might want to check out the Nitecore D4, reviewed here. At home, or on the road, the Q4 is plenty for my needs.
Despite the physical simplicity, the Nitecore Q4 does have quite a few features. The ability to monitor and charge each slot independently, the power to charge 4 batteries at one time, the ACD (Active Current Distribution), two charging modes (constant current and constant voltage), and it is compatible with adapters you might use in the car.
A Vapers Cell Charger
As Vapers, the Nitecore Q4 is tailor made for us. As I mentioned, the compatible batteries are the 18650, 21700, 20700 and even the fat 26650 batteries… all at the same time. Of course, the more cells you charge at once, the longer it will take to charge them all.
While most Vapers still charge two batteries at a time, not 4, Nitecore built two specific slots (clearly marked on the charger) that will charge at a full 2A. For the fastest charge of one or two cells, always choose these two slots.
These two slots are labeled as 2A, they sit on the outer sides of the 4 slots. The two center slots are 1A slots. The maximum output of the Nitecore Q4 is an impressive 2000mA, and while you won’t get this number when charging 4 cells, it does charge all four slots concurrently up to 1000mA in each slot.
While the battery is charging in the slot, it’s LED glows red, and when fully charged it changes to green. If there is any sort of an issue with the cell, or the charge, the LED will start flashing red. I’ve experienced this in every charger I’ve ever used, and it is usually either dust, or a battery that has died out completely. Sometimes these dead cells cannot be recovered, but every time that I have been able to recover a dead battery, it’s always been in a Nitecore.
Other features worth mentioning includes; reverse polarity prevention and short circuit prevention. The Q4 also incorporates an optimized IMR charging system that monitors the charging process from start to finish, confirming the end voltage of a charge up is always within safety limits, to extend battery life, and overcharge protection. The Q4 is built with safe flame retardant and fire resistance PC materials, and designed with optimal heat dissipation in mind. In other words, even when charging 4 different types of batteries at the same time, the unit stays nice and cool.
Wrapping Up and Score
Using the Nitecore Q4 for the past couple of weeks has been hassle-free, and my unit will definitely remain my primary charger at home and when I go out of town.
Affordable, modern, safe, fast, and colorful, I would definitely give the Nitecore Q4 a grade of: