Yesterday I posted the first in a series of posts on the "Aftermarket Smart Home". In this series of posts we will look at some of the current offerings that let you add smart home functionality to your abode without hard-wiring permanent solutions into the walls. In this post we'll look at an item that, while not a smart home product, does help your home become a bit "smarter". This is especially important since anything that goes into an aftermarket smart home may not require hard-wiring, but it will require power. The focus of today's review – the Newer Technology Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet - does just that.
I got tired of having adapter after adapter connected to my outlets. It was, for the most part, unavoidable. After all, in my home alone there are two iPhones, an iPod touch, an iPod nano, two iPads, assorted Bluetooth headsets and numerous other review items. The result was that I ended up plugging in a Belkin adapter next to my bed that turned two plugs into six. It also had two USB plugs on the top. It worked, but it was big and bulky. That's why I jumped when I saw a sale on the Newer Technology Power2U White AC/USB Wall Outlet. I ordered one … then another … then another. Each Newer Technology Power2U White AC/USB Wall Outlet is a dual-socket wall outlet with two integrated USB ports built into it. What makes it stand out is the fact that the Newer Technology Power2U White AC/USB Wall Outlet is no larger than the standard outlet it replaces.
The Newer Technology Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet is described as "the convenient and energy-efficient in-wall solution for powering and charging USB devices". The outlet is a basic "DIY" install on "any 15 Amp circuit". The USB 3.0/2.0 ports sit between the two standard plugs and allow you to use all four — two plugs and two USB ports – at the same time. In fact, the Newer Technology Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet will charge all models of iPad, all models of iPhone and iPod, almost every model of Android tablets and phones, Bluetooth headsets, digital cameras and GPS devices that offer USB charging. Better still, the units feature a "Smart Power design" that only outputs as much charging power as is required by the attached device and the spring-loaded Safety Shutters in the USB powers turn power off to the USB ports when a connecting cable is removed. The eliminates "vampire" energy draw.
When I initially got the Newer Technology Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet (as noted I bought a bunch) I asked my father-in-law to put them in for me. After all he is a contractor, and he is the one who has been renovating the house for us. He's a bit busy and it didn't happen. So last night I decided to watch the install video on the OWC website. It seemed simple enough and … a half hour later the first outlet was in place. I should note that these outlets are deeper than the standard one you will likely remove. That, in turn, means you need an electrical box of a certain depth. If yours isn't, then you will either need to replace the box or put the original outlet back in place.
Now I have my Sonos PLAY:3 and two Lightning connectors available on my night table and I am done with the bulky adapters. I think I'll let Mark install the remaining outlets (I kinda, sorta, didn't turn off the correct circuit breaker and found out why you are supposed to do that the hard way), but I'm really glad I decided to go this route. At under $15 the outlets aren't expensive.This is one piece of gear I can easily recommend to any and everyone! Learn more and order yours here. You can support Gear Diary by ordering through our Amazon Affiliate Store by clicking here.
What I Like: Charge four devices at once; USB plugs are accessible ben when the 3-pronged outlets are in use; Smart charge control limited vampire power draw; Clean and neat design
What Needs Improvement: DIY so make sure the power is really off; Requires an electric box of a certain depth if the outlet is going to fit
Source: Personal Purchase