First Look: Aluratek Mini Surge Dual USB Charging Station
Understanding the appeal of Aluratek's Mini Surge Dual USB Charging Station ($20) is fairly simple: some time ago, Fastmac debuted a prototype wall power outlet with integrated USB ports, but took a crazy long time to actually bring the product to market. Moreover, the outlet required replacement of your existing wall power outlet, a process many users wouldn't want to go through. So despite its long name, the Mini Surge Dual USB Charging Station boils almost all of the aforementioned concept's appeal into a much easier accessory to swallow: the wall adapter has twin USB ports built into its face, as well as a total of three female triple-blade AC outlets scattered across its sides and front. The back has a grounded male power plug that's retractable for portability, and inside is a 612 Joule surge protector, complete with a green light to let you know that the protector's circuit hasn't been tripped. Aluratek has also designed the unit so that it can be plugged into one of your existing wall outlets without blocking the other. All of these features are great; all the company has missed is one thing -- 1A or 2.1A charging. The USB ports provide only 0.5A of power, which is enough for full-speed iPod charging and half-speed iPhone charging, bringing up the "Not Charging" indicator on iPads.