For a majority of us (especially those who regularly visit the Gadgeteer), the number of power-hungry tech-devices we must plug in is ever growing. Keeping those devices charged up while keeping the cable clutter down is a never-ending effort. To assist tech-toy junkies accomplish just that, NewerTechnology has released the Power2U AC/USB wall outlet, which replaces your standard electrical wall outlet and adds two USB ports. I have wanted to try a USB-enabled wall socket since they were announced years ago. So, when Julie asked if I would like to review the Power2U, I responded with a 'most definitely'.
Unlike other USB enabled outlets, the Power2U USB ports do not take the place of one of the three prong electrical outlets, enabling you to plug in two USB cables and two electrical plugs at the same time (aka no more USB power bricks). The USB ports are covered/protected by 'Safety Shutters' when not in use. The shutters easily slide out of the way when inserting the USB plug.
Additionally, there is zero 'vampire draw' from the USB outlets; electricity only runs to the USB ports when a cable/cord is plugged in.
The Power2U comes in white, light almond, ivory, and black. While both the Power2U electrical outlet and faceplate are well made, my biggest concern is that if for whatever reason the specially designed faceplate gets broken you cannot just go buy another at your local hardware store. You would be required to order it from NewerTech.
I am a pretty good handyman around the house. I have replaced countless electrical wall outlets and switches over the years/decades. So, based on the instructions and how-to video, I thought this would be a five minute installation.
However, I came to realize just how huge the infrastructure of the Power2U is. Unfortunately, the standard electrical box is too small to accommodate the Power2U. According to NewerTech, the minimum gangbox size is 16 cubic inches but I recommend the biggest one you can find that will fit in your wall.
It is very important that you do not overfill electrical boxes. That said, I did try jamming the Power2U inside three different existing electrical boxes within our home….there was not a chance of making it fit in any of them. So, the installation included a trip to Lowe's for a new electrical outlet box.
Once I had the new gangbox in hand and the electrical breaker flipped off, the next step was to remove the old plug, tear out the old outlet box, replace it with the new one, and prep the wires for the Power2U….piece of cake, right???
***If you are not comfortable installing it yourself, definitely find someone who is or contact a licensed electrician to do it for you.***
In my case due to the design of the old gangbox, the swapping out took a hammer, hacksaw, Bosch Impact hammer, screwdriver, electrical tester, etc….definitely not a piece of cake.
Once everything was in place, the new gangbox installed, the Power2U wired, and I was screwing it in, I came to find out/realize that the plug did not fit within the larger volume/gangbox either. This was due to the internal design of the box itself. At this point, I was to say at the least….frustrated with too much time lost :-I.
My fault really….I should have taken the plug with me to confirm that, whichever gangbox I bought was able to accept the Power2U. Well, I guess the third time really is the charm. After I installed the third and final gangbox, installing the Power2U took all of 5 minutes.
Once installed, the Power2U AC/USB outlet definitely works as advertised. NewerTechnology's Power2U is a great way to add convenience, capacity, and (I would say) greater tech-Zen to your digital life. There are many ways to charge your devices, but few that are as sleek or (once installed) as easy to use as the Power2U. The Power2U cost between $20 and $30 depending on the color and quantity you order. That said, while the Power2U is very well built/designed, it is a bugger to install. Do not get me wrong, I really do love the concept and functionality but I am guessing that there are similar products that are not as big & bulky and easier to install. Read more at http://the-gadgeteer.com/2012/09/09/newertech-power2u-acusb-outlet-review/#7jpO0jiiAiCctmE4.99