Product review – Kensington 4 port USB charger for mobile devices

In this brief product review I’ll give you a quick look at the new Kensington 4 port USB charger for mobile devices. Despite a long and complicated sounding name, the product is about as simple as it gets.

The charger is nothing more than a power brick, with 4 USB ports. While this may sound boring, it is actually one of the most convenient chargers I’ve seen in ages. Almost all my pocket gadgets charge over USB nowadays. Everything from my mobile phone to my iPod can be charged using a simple USB cable and charger. With that in mind, I can now carry a single small charger, and power 4 gadgets at the same time.

The concept is similar to the Chargepod, which I reviewed here last year. Of course, you’ll still need to carry the USB cables required for your device, but with just a single power brick, you’ll reduce the amount of stuff you need to carry with you. If you carry a laptop, you can use its USB ports to charge your devices, but that means you’ll have to keep the computer on.

The Kensington 4 port USB charger for mobile devices operates on voltages from 100-240 Volts, so you can safely bring it abroad, as long as you carry a suitable plug adapter for the outlet at your destination. The unit provides up to 2 amps of power, which is enough to provide full power to all 4 gadgets at the same time.

You’ll find the Kensington 4 port USB charger for mobile devices at ($29.99) and Amazon ($21.99). Several of the Amazon reviews mention that it did not charge their devices, but I have connected it to every USB device I could find, and it always charged them correctly.

My only minor complaint with the device is the lack of folding prongs. Other than that it is simple, reliable and affordable. If you travel with more than one USB powered device, it’s certainly a product I can recommend.

Juicing up on the road

Most of us these days travel with all manner of digital, battery-powered devices. Whether it’s a laptop, an iPod, a digital camera or a mobile phone, it’s inevitable you’ll need to plug in at some point and recharge. Thankfully, Engadget has been all over the topic this week, offering several solutions. If you’re traveling around the U.S., they recommend this power strip that combines three power outlets and two USB ports in one portable device. The best part is the addition of USB, which will let you hook up your iPod or other USB-powered peripherals for charging.

If you’re headed abroad, Engadget also has you covered. They posted earlier today on this universal travel adapter that also features a built-in USB connection. These new power adapter/USB hybrids arrived just in the nick of time – I was beginning to wonder where I could plug in my USB blender while I’m on the road.

Zaptag’s Waterproof USB Drive Stores Your Important Medical Information

Before I left the US for Africa, I photocopied my important documents and carried them with me. Had I lost my passport, I would’ve had proof I was who I claimed to be. Unfortunately, the papers took up a fair amount of room and quickly got crumpled. Moreover, I was frequently paranoid someone would pinch them. Had Zaptag been available, I might’ve invested.

Zaptag allows you to store emergency contact information and personal medical records on a USB drive. Featuring specialized Windows-compatible health-records software, when a Zaptag is attached to a PC’s USB port, the Emergency Record page — which holds your key information (name, blood type, allergies, and next of kin details) — is displayed. The rest of the drive — holding your insurance details, for example — is password-protected. Of course, Zaptag holds general files, too, like passport scans, driver’s license details, itineraries, that hot girl’s phone number, etc.

Zaptag has several models available, ranging from $50-60. They even have a waterproof model available, for about $80.