Review: Griffin PowerBlock

Light and easy to pack makes this charger a good companion (March 29th, 2006)

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Product Manufacturer: Griffin Technology

Price: $29.99 US

The Good

  • Lightweight. Well priced. Bundled with Dock Connector cable. Easy to open package.

The Bad

  • May cover two outlets when used in a power strip surge suppressor. Plastic insert in package isn\'t environmentally friendly.

Griffin Technology is well known for its quality peripheral devices for Apple Computer products. Unlike many iPod product vendors, Griffin has been around for almost 15 years, and has a solid reputation for customer support.

Small and Light

Griffin's PowerBlock AC Charger for USB Devices is lightweight, at 1.9 ounces, and compact. It uses about 1/3 of the space that Apple's adapter does, so it can be easily squeezed behind furniture or tossed in a case with ease. According to Griffin, it "features Type-A, flat-blade plug design for international use and multi-outlet configurations." It is about 2 1/2" long, so if it is used in a surge suppressor, it might cover two outlets.

An Apple Comparison

Although my 60 GB iPod photo came with a FireWire Power Adapter, it can also use the USB power adapter. The problem is they are now sold separately for $29.00. These come with a removable plug adapter so you can switch in their foreign compatible plugs (which cost another $39.00). It is bulky, sticks out from the wall about 2 1/4 inches and is relatively heavy, weighing in at 3.4 ounces. The Apple iPod Dock Connector is $19.00. Therefore, the total package is $48.00. I purchased one about a year ago, and just last week, the casing separated from the Dock Connector cord.

Better Weight for travel

The PowerBlock also ships with a docking cable that sits securely in its USB socket. It seems to be better made than my Apple cable. It only comes in a USB model, which makes sense because FireWire is no longer supported for transferring music to the newer iPods. It does accommodate an iPod shuffle easily though. The two pieces together weigh half as much as Apple's power adapter, so it is perfect as a travel companion.

The PowerBlock is compatible with the 4th and 5th generation iPods. Griffin even has an iPod compatibility chart for all their products in case you forget for which iPod a product is suited.

Griffin's charger with the cable is a much better buy than Apple's, plus it is better suited to carry around. The only missing piece is a little case for it to live within.

3/30/06: Corrected compatibility informaiton. Oversights corrected. --ilene

by ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor


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