Editor's Review: USB Receptacles
review date: May 17, 2012
With all the electronics I plug in for a recharge at the end of the day, it became clear that I needed at least three receptacles near my bedside table. I had a “eureka” moment when I came across several wall outlets that integrate USB charging ports with a duplex receptacle.
These receptacles are essentially standard duplex wall outlets combined with low-voltage transformers. They deliver voltage and amperage comparable to that of most USB-style chargers, allowing me to charge my phone from the USB port while one of the two 120v receptacles powers another device.
After a careful review of the field, I decided to order Newer Technology’s Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet. Unlike some competitors, the Power2U combines a fully functional duplex receptacle with two USB charging ports in a package designed to fit into most standard electrical work boxes.
The installation instructions included with the device are sufficient for the average Joe, and the company even has an installation video available on its website (www.newertechnology.com). Even so, the installation was tougher than I thought it should be. The screw-clamp style connectors on the Power2U receptacle are less than ideal, and it is the biggest receptacle I’ve installed in some time. The minimum-size work box outlined by the manufacturer is 16 cu. in., but I had a tough time making the connections and getting everything tucked neatly into the 20-cu.-in. box at my bedside table. The size alone may render installation unnecessarily difficult or impractical for older homes with smaller-capacity work boxes.
In theory, the USB standards govern how much power a device of this nature can supply, so anything that charges from a USB port should be compatible. However, it makes sense to check your devices to determine their needs before installing a USB wall charger. There are certainly some improvements to be made to this particular receptacle, but it is a welcome solution to a longstanding problem.
Editor Test Results:
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