Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM
If you're like me, a major part of travel packing involves making sure you have all your power requirements met to charge your devices on the road. Our typical travel pack usually includes two phones, two MP3 players, two digital cameras, a video camera, two GPS units (one for geocaching and one for use in the car), and a laptop. Some of these items have their own rechargeable batteries which charge either via USB or AC adapter and others use rechargeable AA or AAA batteries. If you are like me, you often find yourself crawling around on the floor of a hotel room looking for extra outlets to charge your gear. Even if you find enough, you usually end up with devices all over the room and perhaps even one or two in the bathroom. This is a less than ideal situation, and until hotels figure out that they really need to provide more than one outlet on the desk, Belkin has stepped up with a solution to this common travellers dilemma with the Belkin Mini Surge Protector with USB Charger. So how did they solve the problem?
In recent years, I’d taken to adding a strip outlet to my travel gear. I really like to keep all my electronics on the desk when staying in a hotel. This makes it less likely that I will accidentally leave something in the hotel. The strip outlet worked, but even though I was using one of the smaller ones I could find, it was still on the bulky side and didn’t offer any type of surge protection. Belkin felt my pain and they developed a compact surge protector designed specifically for your travel needs.
The Belkin features a plug that rotates 360 degrees so that it will work with even the most awkwardly placed outlet. Unfortunately the plug does not fold flat into the unit, but they have included a protective cover to keep the prongs from getting bent or scratching up your other gear. The front of the unit features three grounded outlets. As an added bonus, the side of the unit features two USB plugs for charging your USB enabled devices. The outlets are spaced to allow power bricks, but I'd really like to see some more space between the plugs to handle larger bricks since there is plenty of room on either end. I was not able to use the third outlet due to the size and orientation of the two plugs I did use. But, as you can see, I was able to charge my Asus Eee, phone, MP3 player, and GPS all at once.
In addition to being more compact that the strip outlet I was using, this item also features 918 Joules of Surge Protection and a $75,000 connected equipment warranty. Upon my first use of this product in a hotel, I quickly realized the value of this. Apparently there was a problem with the outlet I was using and the surge protector kept cutting off my power. Since this was my first time using this product, I thought maybe I had a faulty one, but I tried another outlet and it worked fine. Who knows how many times I may have been plugging my devices into less than safe outlets in the past.
So, in conclusion, this is a great little product for the road warrior as it offers both convenience and protection for charging all your toys. You can pick one up for $19.99 at Amazon.com. [Affiliate]
Chris Gohlke is a Contributing Editor for Digital Media Thoughts. He loves Sci-Fi and loves to get his hands on real-life tech gadgets. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, USA with his wife and three cats.