Product review – Chargepod multi device charger

In this product review, I’m going to introduce you to the Chargepod multi device charger. The Chargepod is a product from Callpod, and it has 7 connectors; one for powering the device itself, and 6 for charging your electronics. Each connector holds an small removable adapter with the appropriate plug for your gadget.

In the version I am reviewing, the package comes with an AC (wall) charger and a car charger cord. There are some people (like myself) who will usually find themselves on the road with far too many gadgets. The hassle of carrying multiple chargers as well as extension cords and power splitters gets greater with each new gadget. It is however not unthinkable that even the most novice gadgeteer will have at least a mobile phone, a Bluetooth headset and and iPod in their luggage.

With the Chargepod, you simply carry the power adapter, the Chargepod itself, and the power adapters you need for your devices. Then, to charge them, you simply connect the Chargepod to an outlet, insert the power adapters and plug your gadgets in. The Chargepod then charges up to 6 devices at the same time.

Callpod, who make the Chargepod, have 48 different power adapters, and since some of these can be used for multiple devices, the product covers close to 500 different phones, PDA’s, smartphones, gaming consoles and more. If you can’t find the correct power adapter for your device, but you do have a USB cable, then you can purchase a female USB plug power adapter and plug the cable into that.

In my personal travel bag, I carry the Chargepod with tips for a Nintendo DS, Garmin GPS unit, Plantronics headset, a Blackberry, Nokia phones, 2 HTC smartphones, an iPod and a female USB tip for recharging my backup battery pack. The Chargepod replaces 7 different chargers, plus I can use it to charge all my devices at the same time, instead of having to play a boring game of outlet bingo.

The Chargepod kit I carry in my luggage weighs 15 ounces which includes the Chargepod itself, the AC and car chargers and 12 different power tips, as well as the carrying pouch.

You can purchase the Chargepod in 2 versions; a basic kit with the AC charger and the Chargepod, or a bundle kit with the Chargepod, AC and car chargers and an assortment of adapters.

If the bundle pack does not contain any of the power adapters you need, then you are better off with the basic version, and configuring your own kit. The basic kit costs $39.95 and the bundle kit costs $79.95. Each additional power adapter is $9.95 (all MSRP). You can purchase the Chargepod through Amazon, where it retails with a substantial discount; ($32.99 for the basic kit or $47.99 for the bundle kit)

I’ve come to depend heavily on my Chargepod, both for its ease of use as well as the convenience of being able to leave a bag full of power bricks at home. The included AC adapter works on 100-240 Volts, so with the appropriate plug converter it can be used anywhere in the world. The only minor annoyances with he product are that the prongs on the AC charger do not fold in, making it quite bulky, and that the carrying pouch is not always spacious enough to hold all the parts. Other than that, I can highly recommend the Chargepod for its ease of use.

Product review – Travelon 3-in-1 power converter/adapter

In today’s product review, I’ll show you an international power converter with three features in one.

The Travelon 3-in-1 power converter/adapter combines a regular international plug adapter with a power step down transformer and a USB charger.

With these three features in one charger, you can plug your regular US appliance into almost any outlet in the world. This includes Western Europe, the UK, Japan, China and Australia.

To accomplish this, the prongs on the rear of the device rotate to the V-shape required for Australia. For Western Europe you can attach the included round 2-prong adapter, and for the UK and Singapore you attach a 3-prong adapter onto the back of the device. I’ve included photos of each plug in the gallery at the bottom of this post.

The entire adapter fits together nicely. When you are not using it, you simply slide the European adapter into the top of the UK adapter, and connect them all together. The total weight of the unit, with all the plug adapters is just 5 ounces.

The build quality of the 3-in-1 converter/adapter is quite good, the adapters lock in place tightly, my only minor complaint is that the 2 locking clips on the top of the unit, (which hold the UK plug adapter) do not always stay in place, but this does not hinder the functionality of the device as the plug itself has a separate set of clips with a “release” button.

If you use the 3-in-1 adapter in a country with voltages higher than the 110 Volts used in the US, the device simply reduces the mains voltage. This “step-down” conversion can power up to 1875 watts. Unlike many step-down adapters, the Travelon 3-in-1 also features a built in overheat protection circuit which should prevent damage to your products, plus it should prevent tripping a breaker and plunging an entire floor of hotel rooms into darkness.

The third feature in the 3-in-1 adapter, is a USB power charger. This single USB port on the top of the device works on 100-240 Volts, and combined with the international plug adapter, you should be able to charge your USB devices (like the iPod or Blackberry) anywhere in the world.

The adapter even has a built in surge protector, which in my opinion is a “must have” if you plan to power any high-tech gadgets in a country with less than stellar public utilities.

The Travelon 3-in-1 power converter/adapter has a suggested retail price of $69.99, but a quick search shows several retailers selling the product for around $45.

The Travelon 3-in-1 converter/adapter is a great addition to your gadget arsenal, and as always, I am impressed with any gadget that can turn 3 products into one. The price is a little steep, but there really isn’t anything like it on the market. I’ve reviewed adapters with a built in USB charger before, but this is the first one I have seen that is compatible with all the various voltages and plugs in the world.


Product review – Belkin mini surge protector with USB charger

In today’s product review, I’m going to give you a closer look at the Belkin mini surge protector with USB charger. This device is a portable 3-outlet surge protector, with a built in 2-port USB charger.

The Belkin mini surge protector with USB charger weighs just under 7 ounces and is about 5 inches long. The prongs on the back are protected by a plastic cover, which means you won’t stab yourself or bend them if you stash them in your laptop bag right before leaving on a trip.

The plug on the rear rotates a full 360 degrees, which means you’ll be able to rotate it to the best angle for the outlet you connect it to. The plastic protection cap can even be stored in a little slot on the bottom, so you won’t lose it.

As the name implies, the Belkin surge protector with USB charger has 3 regular (grounded) outlets and dual USB charging ports on the top. This means you’ll be able to connect 3 AC powered devices to it (like a laptop and a printer), as well as charge 2 devices using the USB ports (like a mobile phone and an iPod). Naturally, you will need to carry the item specific USB cables with you.

The surge protection is rated at 918 Joules with spike currents of up to 36,000 Amps. What this means to you and me, is that it’ll protect you from most of the harmful stuff that could come out of an outlet.

In the event that the device fails during a surge and you do end up killing some expensive equipment, Belkin provides a $75,000 equipment warranty. The device itself is even covered by a lifetime warranty. The maximum load is 1850 Watts, which means if you accidentally plug in too many devices, you won’t instantly fry the outlet.

Included in the package is the surge protector itself, a Mini-USB charging cable, the manual and the protective cap for the prongs. If you don’t already carry a surge protector, then you really should consider it. When you look at the price of your devices then it’s a small investment to keep them safe.

The Belkin mini surge protector with USB charger will only work with 110 volt outlets, so it’s only going to be useful for trips within North America.

All in all, a great product. It has lightened my gadget bag by combining my old 3 outlet tap and a USB charger into just one compact device, plus I’ve got the added security of a surge protector to protect my gadgetry. The lack of support for voltages outside North America is a bit of a disappointment.

You can find the Belkin surge protector at ($19.99) or the Belkin online web store ($24.99).


Product review – Kensington Mini battery pack and charger for iPod and iPhone

Today’s product review will take a quick look at a kind of product that has suddenly become quite popular.

Many owners of the new iPhone 3G have been rudely awakened by its poor battery life. In some cases, the phone won’t even last till the end of the afternoon. Since an outlet and charger are not always available, Kensington have developed a portable power source to help get you through the day.

The Kensington “mini battery pack and charger for iPod and iPhone” is a 1.5oz/42g pocket battery pack with an iPod dock connector.

The battery pack contains a Lithium-Polymer battery with enough capacity to fully recharge most iPod and iPhone models. On most devices, you’ll add up to 30 hours of music playback or 6 hours of video. On the iPhone, you’ll add up to 3 hours of talk time.

The battery pack can be charged using your computer or any other power source with a USB connector, including the AC adapter included with some iPods.

Using the battery pack couldn’t be easier, you simply plug it into the bottom of your device, and let it charge. On the front of the battery pack are 4 lights. Three of these lights show the charging status of the iPod or iPhone, and one turns on when the battery pack itself is being charged. One of the other big advantages of the Kensington battery pack is that you can charge your phone using USB, which means you can leave the Apple charging cable at home (of course, you can’t synchronize your device through the battery pack).

Included in the package is a handy retractable USB cable and a plastic cover to protect the dock connector when you are not using it. The only minor complaint I have is that the battery pack adds close to 2 inches to the total length of your iPod when it is plugged in. An alternative product is the Kensington ultra portable battery pack, which I reviewed last week. Of course, with that product you will lose some of the convenience of having such a light battery pack, and you will need to carry your iPod charging cable.

The Kensington “mini battery pack and charger for iPod and iPhone” costs $49.95 ($47 from Amazon).

Daily deal: Duracell portable USB battery pack

Today’s daily deal is for the Duracell DR7000LI portable USB battery pack. If you read my review yesterday of the Kensington ultra portable battery pack, you’ll understand the convenience of carrying backup power on your trip.

The Duracell DR7000LI has an internal Lithium-Ion battery pack with a 1000mAh capacity. This is slightly lower than the Kensington I reviewed, but still perfectly sufficient for charging an iPod or your mobile phone several times.

The DR7000LI does not include an AC adapter, so in order to charge it, you’ll need to hook it up to your PC, or purchase a separate AC charger with a USB port.

Included in the package is a USB to mini-USB cable for connecting the battery pack to your Blackberry or other device with a mini-USB connector. For charging your iPod, iPhone or other product, you’ll need to bring the appropriate USB cable which is usually included with your device. There are no buttons on the battery pack, so it’s simply a matter of plug and charge.

Next time you find yourself stuck at the airport with a dead mobile phone, or halfway over the ocean with an empty iPod battery, simply grab your portable power pack and you’ll be making phone calls or watching a movie before you know it.

It’s on sale today for just $19.99 over at which is a $10 savings over the normal price. Add an additional $5.01 to reach the threshold Amazon free super saver shipping.