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USB Geek Universal AC Travel Adapter

on January 29, 2007 7:15 pm

Although I’ve personally travelled outside the United States only once so far, I can totally see the value of the gadget I’m going to tell you about today. The Universal AC Travel Adapter from USB Geek, is a nifty little module that will allow you to use your favorite electrical devices in other countries.

I’m sure you’re aware that the shape and configuration of plugs are different in other countries. As such, if you take your US based hair dryer or Treo charger to the UK, it won’t fit in the wall outlet.

This barrel shaped adapter is made of Black plastic and stands 2.625 inches tall and is 2.375 inches in diameter.

One end of the adapter is the female side, which accepts plugs. This end also has a small Red LED (seen at the 11 o’clock position in the image above) that is used as a power indicator. It glows when it receives power from an outlet.

The other end is the male end of the adapter.



You will notice a ridged ring on one end of the adapter. This ring has an arrow and when turned it will line up with labels for UK, EURO and US/AUS (these three settings cover outlet configurations for more than 150 different countries). Each label represents a different plug configuration. As you turn the ring, the desired plug will extend from the male end of the adapter and snap in place. Although I don’t show it, the Australian plug configuration is the same as the US plug (right most picture above), but the plug blades can be rotated inwards or outwards.

Since I’m not currently in the UK, Australia or anywhere else besides Columbus, Indiana USA right now, I can’t truly test this adapter. Yeah, I love you guys, but I can’t afford to take off from my day job and spend a bunch of money just to go overseas to review this adapter. ;o) So, I had to improvise…

I scrounged around in my drawers and found 2 products that happened to come with non-US power adapters. I’m showing one of them above. To test the adapter, I plugged this Euro AC adapter into the female side of the adapter and then dialed the ring on the adapter to the US/AUS selection.

What results from this combination is what you see above. Then I plugged everything into an empty wall outlet and verified that the LED on the adapter glowed Red. It did. Then I plugged the end of the AC adapter cable into the mobile phone that it came with. Yay, charging started just fine; the Universal Adapter worked as advertised.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when using this adapter. First of all, the documentation that comes with it is says that it is to be used with class II electronic devices up to 5A (max. 120V-600W / 240V-1200W). I should also make it known that this adapter does NOT convert electrical current. If the device you wish to use it with does not match local voltage, you will need a separate converter or adapter. The only other issue I can see with using this product is the fact that it is so wide that it might block a more than 1 outlet in a power strip or wall outlet. Other than those issues, this is an easy to use adapter that you can toss in your gear bag the next time you plan a trip to another country.

 

Product Information

Price:17.0
Retailer:USB Geek
Pros:
  • Easy to use
  • Settings for over 150 countries
  • Compact
Cons:
  • Width may cause clearance problems with adjacent outlets

Comments

  1. 1
    Julie says:

    Post your comments on the USBGeek Universal AC Travel Adapter review.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/usbgeek_universal_ac_travel_adapter

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  2. 2
    EllenBeeman says:

    Julie, you didn’t highlight the -price-! $17 as compared to $50 for the similar Tumi adapter that I was thinking of buying until I read your review.

    http://www.tumi.com/wallets_accessories/electronic_accessories/category_search/electric_adaptor/product_detail/index.cfm?modelid=44325

    —Ellen

  3. 3
    Julie says:

    Ellen:

    I guess I didn’t realize the price was that great ;) Thanks for pointing it out!

  4. 4
    CBMTTek says:

    Should compare that to the Kensington adaptor. Does all the USB Geeks one does, but also includes a USB port (power only) that lets you charge any USB compatible device without requiring a PC.
    http://us.kensington.com/html/7207.html

    Got one for $19 at Best Buy (If you can find it in stock.)

  5. 5
    Smitty says:

    CBMTTek is correct – the Kensington device rocks. I would post photos, but a colleague has it on a three-week trip to Europe, India, and Philipines right now. The USB charger is keeping his Treo 650 going, even when he can’t get service.

    The Tumi device EllenBeeman mentioned looks almost identical to the Kensington one (without the $30 little net case). There’s a button on one side that must be depressed before moving one of the sliders on the opposite side. Each slider is a different prong set. The same button releases the top multi-plug female side to allow the USB insert to be installed.

    I used it for a few weeks back in October, and it performed well in Germany and the UK. Although some hotels now have US power outlets (as well as UK and Euro), it should always, always be noted that anything designed to create heat or run a heavy-duty motor (hair dryers, curling irons, immersion water heaters, etc.) should never be used with this kind of adapter or in the hotel outlets. Anything more than a laptop power supply will cook them.

    I got mine at the Apple Store.

  6. 6
    Adam says:

    I got the kensington, but disappointed as most australian appliances have a earth plug which the kensington does not allow for.

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