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February 03, 2012

Power2U! Built-in device charger (review)

Power2UEver wish you could recharge your iPhone or iPad without hogging a three-prong receptacle? Well the Power2U is just what you are looking for.

Newer Technology's' Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet is an in-your-wall solution for conveniently powering and charging all sorts of USB devices. It's just like your standard electrical outlet, with two sockets, only it also features two USB charging ports. So now you don't have to unplug your reading light or alarm clock to charge up your phone, or search for that extra power adapter when your partner and you both need a charge. In short, the Power2U lets you charge two devices while still leaving both 120 volt plugs free. Heck, that means you could plug in two chargers and recharge four devices if you wish!

The Power2U looks just like one of your regular outlets. Neat little doors over the USB outlets help keep out dust and dirt, as well as keep the look clean when you're not charging.

Here are the main features of the Power2U:
-It charges iPads, iPhones, iPods, Android tablets and phones, tablet computers, MP3 players, GPS devices, digital cameras, and other USB 3.0/2.0/1.1 chargeable devices without requiring an adapter. Just stick in your USB cord and charge! Frees up your adapter for other devices, or other areas of your house.
-Smart Power feature only outputs enough charging power required by the attached device. When you plug in the device it automatically delivery the right amount of power for that device. For instance: iPhone: 500 milliamps of juice, iPad: 2 amps of power. And when your battery is fully powered, it cuts off the juice.
-Energy-efficient, spring-loaded Safety Shutter design turns USB ports off when connecting cable is removed. When you remove the USB power cord from the outlet it 100% cuts off the power there is no vampiring or constant power drain . Nice!
-Uses standard four-pin type-A jack USB cable, (the kind you get with your iPhone or iPad).
- Installs on standard 15A electrical circuit, the kind used in the United States and Canada. Power2U is the first and only UL listed AC/USB outlet.
-One year warranty, plus Other World Computing provides detailed installation documentation, online video walk-thru and 24x7 support from their HQ in Illinois.

Power2U side viewDue to its size behind the faceplate, the Power2U will only fit in a single box receptacle of 16 cubic inches or more (note: it won't fit in a dual outlet box). Make sure you open up and check the box you want to install it in before you purchase one. Several outlets in my older home were not large enough to accommodate the Power2U, or else they were wired in such a way that prevented installation.. (If the box is too small or too cramped, you would have to replace the receptacle box with one large enough. That could be a considerably longer job, and will probably involve you cutting and replacing drywall or other wall coverings.) Good news is, it should fit fine in most boxes!

There some great video instructions over at OWC, so you can get a good idea what's involved. Basically all you will need is a slot screwdriver and a Phillips screwdriver. It's all pretty simple, if you've ever replaced an outlet, you know what's involved, and if you haven't, well this is a great way to learn a little skill that will come in handy throughout your life. BUT FOR GEEK'S SAKE, be sure to TURN THE POWER OFF before you work on your outlet. Turn the breaker off, and double-check that both receptacles are not receiving power.

The Power2U is an awesome addition to any geeky home and makes charging your iPhone or iPad so convenient, you'll wish all of your outlets were like this. Well, when you build your geek dream house, you can make sure they are, as OWC offers 10, 20, and 100 packs! For a single unit, the price is around 28 bucks, buy two and that goes down to about 24 bucks each. That's pretty darn good considering you can spend that on a single iPhone charger alone!

UPDATE: NewerTech has lowered the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price by 25%. ThePower2U is now priced at $29.95 MSRP, with street pricing as low as $22.99.

Posted by Snaggy at February 3, 2012 11:25 AM