Review: IDAPT i4 Universal Charger

IDAPT hopes you'll trade your wire tangles for an i4 (June 5th, 2012)

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Product Manufacturer: IDAPT

Price: $60

The Good

  • Intuitive, pleasant design

    - Wide range of compatibilities

The Bad

  • Inserts seem a bit wobbly

Despite the trend toward convergence and the ever-increasing power of mobile devices, your average technophile likely still has an array of devices for different purposes. Take, say, a tablet for gaming, an iPhone for calls, a Kindle for reading: add it all up, and there's bound to be a mess of power cords. The Idapt i4 Universal Charger aims to make up for the shortcomings of your power strips and wall outlets, providing a centralized charging station. The device actually manages to do an adequate job of carrying the charging load, as we'll see in our review of the device.

Design

The i4 does sport some pleasant, if sharp, aesthetics. The charger's smooth plastic facade will make it a suitable addition to the desktop of any design-minded techie. The interchangeable charging inserts, which allow the charging of an impressive range of devices, snap into the charger's base with a satisfying click. The base features easily-pressed buttons to eject the inserts, as well as helpful lights indicating when an insert is properly seated and when a device is charging. The power button is also easily operated.








In all, the i4 is impressive in its intuitiveness: we simply took it out of its box and knew what to do with it, just by looking at its components. The device comes with six inserts: two microUSB, one miniUSB, and one each for Samsung, Nokia, and iPod/iPhone adapters. There's also a USB output on the side of the device, giving it one more slot for charging tablets. Additional charger inserts, making the base compatible with the Nintendo DS, many GPS devices, and a whole host of other gizmos, are available for purchase separately from Idapt. In all, the i4 is touted as being compatible with more than 4,500 devices. On the side of the i4 is a slot for standard USB-powered charging.





Were we to lodge any complaints about the design, it would be that devices seem to perch precariously atop the inserts. In our tests, plugging in a device such as a Kindle made the inserts a bit wobbly, and they looked as though sufficient force -- say, bumping into a phone or e-reader with an elbow -- could break off part of the charging insert inside the device. This is a sacrifice made necessary by the versatility of the i4, and the likelihood of breaking one of the inserts seems easily enough avoided: place the charging station away from where devices could be bumped and nudged.





Function

As a charger, the i4 adequately lives up to all it promises. In our tests, we plugged a Kindle, iPhone, and Samsung headset into their respective charger inserts and plugged them into the base, along with an Xbox 360 controller and, eventually, an Asus Transformer tablet. The i4 charged all devices plugged into it adequately, with no noticeable time difference between simply plugging the devices into a wall socket or power strip.





Conclusion

So, is the Idapt i4 the answer to your wire and wall socket woes? From our point of view, it certainly seems that way. The device handled everything we threw at it, and admirably so. There are the aforementioned concerns about the stability of the inserts; but, should you keep the charging station out of the way of any swinging limbs, the i4 is considerably better than struggling with a mess of wires or continually budgeting power strip space to the differently-sized plugs on hand.

At $60, the i4 is affordable enough. This is a device that is going to pay for itself in hassle saved; so, if you often struggle with a multitude of wires, it's worth looking into. If you can get the right inserts to match the devices you own, you'll likely find your life getting much easier as soon as you take the i4 out of the box.


by Kevin Bostic


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