Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/21/review_gadget_idapt_i4/

iDapt i4 multi-purpose charger

Does 'em all, apparently

By Caleb Cox

Posted in Hardware, 21st October 2010 07:00 GMT

Review Charging cables inevitably get knotted, misplaced or mistaken, yet appear a necessary evil to keep mobile devices going. So many proprietary connections are in circulation nowadays and, with most people owning at least two devices, cables soon become a mess and families fight over plug sockets.

iDapt i4

On multiple charges: iDapt's i4

The iDapt i4 charging dock offers some respite from this situation. With self-regulating power outputs and the ability to simultaneously charge up to four devices, it features an interchangeable tip system, with plentiful options.

A pack of six standard tips are supplied: iPhone/iPod, miniUSB, microUSB and recent Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Nokia adapters. A further 16 tips are available and customers can opt upon purchase for their custom choice of four rather than the standard six. Bought separately, the tips cost £6 each, so it’s worth getting the ones you need in the first place. And they’re not all for phones either, there’s one tip that houses a couple of AA/AAA rechargeable batteries.

The hub unit accommodates three tips – two at the back and one at the front. With each port having a button either side to release each tip, detachment from the hub from accidental knocks is extremely unlikely. In place, the tips protrude from the hub with LED status lights next to each that glow red when a device is on charge and, you guessed it, green when not.

Unfortunately, when power is on, these lights are always green, so if your device is nudged and breaks the connection, it’ll probably look like it’s fully replenished.

iDapt i4

The side USB port can charge other devices, with the right cable, of course

Also, for those with more obscure mobile devices, a USB port on the side allows you to hook up other gear. This port lacks the audio-visual charge notifications of the main adapters, so you’ll have to rely on your device to tell you how charged it is. In tests, the standard pack of tips only covered half of my devices, so the USB port was used frequently, but due to cable use, appears no different to using a port on your laptop. That said, given the iDapt i4’s 13W total output, it knocks out a bit more juice than a typical PC port.

iDapt i4

Bung hole surfer

If a thick rubber cap protects the charging port of a device, like on the Alcatel OT-808 I tried, it can make the fitting awkward. The shape of a device and port location can also be a problem. To charge, it must be a snug fit, as there isn’t much leeway. The tips only work one way round too, so its tough luck if the device is facing away from you when on charge.

iDapt i4

Clutter-free and easy to get used to having around

Rather conveniently, there’s no straggling external PSU, as the power supply is housed within the body of the hub. Just plug in a standard 2-pin figure-of-eight mains cable and away you go, which makes it a handy all-round option for travelling. The review unit was the black and shiny model, which is a fingerprint magnet, of course. Other colours are available that don’t show pinkie marks so readily, and iDapt has recently expanded the range of colours for the i4.

Verdict

Overall, I’m rather impressed with the iDapt i4. The USB port is a welcome addition over previous models and its convenience in removing the need to search for chargers and untangle cables shouldn’t be underestimated. Indeed, the longer you use it, the more dependent you become on it. While it’s not exactly an amazing breakthrough product, its multiple recharging points serve a very useful purpose, and all for a reasonable charge. ®

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