A year after its introduction, Newer Technology's Power2U AC/USB wall charger remains a practical choice for consumers who wish to reduce clutter in the home or office from multiple USB connections.
The Power2U replaces an existing wall outlet and offers a convenient, centralized location in which to power up to four devices. Dubbed as the "perfect upgrade to your digital life", this handy gadget definitely has the cool factor and guests might be impressed enough to purchase one or more of their own. The affordable USB wall charger comes in either a 15 amp or 20 amp model and is compatible with all iPad and iPhone models, all USB iPods, Android devices, Nintendo, Sony PSP, Bluetooth headsets, digital cameras and GPS devices that use a standard USB plug.
While it's a great device and did very well in a two week test, the more important aspect of this review is with the installation. Before the Power2U is ready to go, it's important for purchasers to completely understand the installation process and whether the gadget will fit properly into the wall. Newer Technology's website features an informative video and states it should take just 20 minutes to complete the installation. However it's quite possible some users might take much longer to complete the setup. According to the video, the level of difficulty is straightforward and only requires a few simple tools – a standard screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver and optional electrical tape. But Newer Technology says to "avoid damage or injury to your self or home, installation should only be performed by those with basic knowledge about electrical wiring and standard electrical safety. If you are unsure or uncomfortable about performing this installation, you should consult a qualified electrician."In most cases, a consultation with a qualified electrician isn't necessary, as long as the user has that basic understanding of electrical wiring and follows the directions from the video carefully and step by step. It's also important to make sure the device fits into the wall space after a standard outlet is removed. Some users who live in older homes have complained that the Power2U won't fit or fits too tightly. One criticism I have of Newer Technology's video is its instructions to measure the electrical box apparently after a purchase has been made. According to the video, the electrical box must be 16 cubic inches or larger in order for the Power2U to be installed. This is a critical bit of information and should be known before making a decision to make a purchase.
If the wall space isn't examined in advanced, a purchaser might have to take the time and effort to return a device because it's incompatible in their home. To Newer Technology's credit, it refers to a FAQ section on its website for minimum height, width and depth requirements but reviewing the specs should be done before the purchase, not after. Imagine having someone receive a brand new Power2U only to find out on the video, that the electrical box needs to be a certain size and won't fit.
In newer homes, the electrical boxes are generally of sufficient height, width and depth in order to install the Power2U. For this review, the unit fit snugly into one of my electrical boxes without any trouble with space or wiring. Some consumers have reported other issues with the device, including USB outlets not working, not charging USB devices quickly or difficulty connecting next to an AC device. Yet during an extensive, two-week trial period with repeated connections with an iPhone and an iPad, I did not experience these issues claimed by some reviewers and worked just fine. Moreover, in measuring the length of time between the Power2U and the iOS devices' own charger, the length of time for charging wasn't evident. Lastly, it's just nice knowing where to find a USB plug without having to search for one and the Power2U simply looks great in any home or office.
Since its introduction early last year, plenty of generic AC/USB wall chargers have appeared onto the market, but I'd definitely stick with the Power2U. Why? Because Newer Technology has long had an excellent reputation in producing quality products and the Power2U is the best USB wall outlet I've seen and researched. Furthermore, some generic devices have been found to be incompatible with some newer Apple USB plugs, like the one that comes with the iPhone 5. Finally, Newer Technology's parent company Other World Computing (OWC) is equally as reliable, with 25 years in the industry, selling quality hardware products and support and has one of the largest online catalogs of computer, iPod, iPhone and iPad enhancement products.
Great prices for the Power2U can be found directly on OWC's website and prices drop when purchased in volume. The Power2U AC Wall Outlet with two USB charging ports come in four different colors – black, white, almond and ivory.