Tuesday, July 12, 2011

IDAPT i2+ (Universal Charger) Review

Wires suck. Once you’ve plugged a few in to the socket and left them for a day they’re bound to be tangled together. Worse still, if you’ve got chargers that don’t get used every day where are you supposed to put them? Nobody wants to fish through a drawer of chargers to find the one they need, especially in a house of a few people and multiple devices. Manufacturers still don’t seem to care about creating chargers that are the same for lots of devices, so this is the logic behind the i2+ Universal Charger from IDAPT which aims to do the job manufacturers can’t be bothered to.

The IDAPT i2+ unit is a rectangular shape around the size of a book. It contains two slots that you can insert ‘tips’ that contain the same heads as the chargers you need. Included in the box are six tips that cover some of the more common devices - Nokia 2, iPod /iPhone, MiniUSB, MicroUSB, Sony Ericsson 2, Samsung 4 – and there’s a guide on the bottom of the box so you can tell what this means in real terms, aka whether they’ll fit your stuff.

The ‘plus’ part is a USB slot that can be used to fit an additional device. This helps support the claim of IDAPT being able to charge over 4,000 devices, with so many now going down the USB route. There’s also extra tips that can be purchased for around £6 that open up the number of devices even further and allow you to tailor the device to your household.

Purchasing extra plug-ins is essential if you want to charge two of the same device for example. Our house has an iPhone and a Sony Ericsson so we were fine with the included tips, but if you both have an iPhone then you’ll need to buy an extra tip. Switching out tips is easy, and you push down a button either side in order to have it pop out. Keeping a few tips together in a drawer is a lot easier than tons of wires and you can get units with more slots for tips if you want to always have three tips for example.

When the unit is in use a separate charging light under each unit goes from red to green to indicate when each device is charged. So you can switch one out when it’s done and charge another device without affecting the other product currently charging. New tips can only go in one way round so it’s pretty fool proof. As my Sony Ericsson lies on its side I did wonder if you could have a scenario where a device would block another fitting in, but this is likely to be more of an issue with the i3+ that has two slots on the same horizontal line.

One slight problem I have is that the box shows a Nintendo DS-L tip right next to a circle which says “6 tips included” when in fact you have to buy that particular item separately. It’s not listed on the bottom of the box, and the window at the side that shows the tips gives an indicator of what you get, but I still felt it could have been clearer.

Coming back to the uses, I think this would be a great device for an office, and would resolve the standard email of “does anyone have a charger for product X?”. If an office was to buy one and the basic chargers they’d know their employee work mobiles would always have a place they could be charged. Likewise a student flat could use one as a spare in case anyone ever need a common charger.

Unlike the wireless charger I reviewed last week this product makes a lot more sense, and solves a need rather than being just a cool feature. You also don’t need to change anything on your existing devices, so can use your normal iPhone case and still slot the phone in to place. Whilst the Powermat confused me, this was a clear product to understand. It’s an effective solution to wire overload, and the selection of extra tips makes it future proof for as long as it continues to be well supported.

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Every product on this site has been received for free, and given to me by the product manufacturer or their associated PR organisation in return for a review.

I have no other personal or business association with these companies, and all reviews are written truthfully and based on my own experience. If I hate a product I will say so (and have done on many occasions!).