I don't know about you, but AC adapters and battery chargers run my life these days. Laptop, iPad, Kindle, iPhone, DSLR, point and shoot, MILC, bluetooth headset, AA batteries, and so on. Sometimes it seems as though my life is little more than a never-ending tangle of cords and cables and wall warts. Happily, I'm not alone in my frustration. No, I don't mean that I am happy others are encountering the same annoyance. I mean that I'm happy so many people have the same issues because it means smart companies are coming up with clever products to help. NewerTech's Power2U USB is one of those products.
While many of our devices these days have dedicated charging plugs and adapters, more and more of them are able to be charged through a USB interface. Gadgets that sync with our computers, like smartphones and tablets, being some of the most common examples. This is where a product like the Power2U USB outlet comes in. It is an easy way to upgrade an existing electrical outlet to provide two 5v 2000mA USB charging ports along with the standard two 110 household outlets. Not only that, but it comes in the four most common outlet colors (white, almond, ivory, and black) to match your existing outlets.
Installation is really very easy if you are at all familiar with household electrical work (NewerTech has a "how to" installation video here). It took me fewer than 15 minutes to remove the old outlet, wire up the Power2U, and reinstall. If you have ever installed or replaced any sort of household electrical outlet, you will find installing the Power2U to be easy.
But PLEASE let me be perfectly clear if you do not have the knowledge or skills to be doing even minor household electrical projects you should not even attempt to install this product yourself. There is no reason to risk the safety of yourself, your family, your house, or even your phone. The risk of fire or fatal electrical shock are very real and shouldn't be taken lightly. If you aren't positive that you know what you are doing, call an electrician. Speaking of safety, one very nice feature of the Power2U is that it is a UL Listed device. While other similar products claim to be built to UL standards, the Power2U USB outlet is the only one I know of that is actually UL Listed.
Now, that having been said, there are a few things to note. The first is that the physical size of the Power2U outlet precludes it from fitting into some of the smaller outlet boxes (or into boxes with an abnormal amount of wire junctions). This kept me from installing it in my first location choice which was an oddball outlet near to my regular desk. If you are familiar with various brands of electrical boxes, there is a partial list of compatible boxes on the NewerTech website.
Also, it is worth remembering that the maximum output for the Power2U is 5.2 volt, 2000mA (10W). According to the NewerTech website, this is the equivalent output of an Apple iPad wall adapter. However, that output is shared between the two USB ports. So while charging one iPad will be just like using the Apple wall adapter in terms of charging speed, charging two iPads at once is going to be more like using an older underpowered USB port or adapter. A big deal? Not to me, but if your household workflow involves having multiple iPads charging at the same time, you may want to factor that into your plans.
How does it work? Just fine. I've got on installed near our kitchen "desk" where we charge phones, tablets, and other gadgets. If you were previously using the old "mess of chargers in a powerstrip" system, you may need longer USB cables depending on where your outlet is located relative to where your phones and gadgets sit while charging.Thankfully those are pretty cheap on Amazon or Ebay these days. Otherwise, the Power2U USB outlet pretty much just works exactly as it is supposed to.