Twelve South’s late-2011 PlugBug was a nifty little power adapter. Originally launched as an accessory for MacBooks at a time when iPad-friendly 2.1-Amp USB ports were just beginning to appear in Apple laptops, PlugBug added one such port to any MacBook’s wall charger — handy for quickly recharging any Apple tablet, or a lower-powered device if you needed it. PlugBug could also be used on its own, if you just wanted a 2.1-Amp charger with a slightly different form factor, or paired with Apple’s own 10W and 12W USB Power Adapters to double the number of USB ports. But until the release of PlugBug World ($45), PlugBug was only useful in countries with American-styled wall blades. The newer model changes that.
Once again, PlugBug World adds a 2.1-Amp USB charging port onto any MacBook, 10W iPad or 12W iPad power adapter, matching their thickness and style, albeit with glossy red plastic rather than white. PlugBug World is a little taller than PlugBug, but otherwise very similarly designed. Although Apple’s 12W iPad adapters offered more powerful 2.4-Amp output for faster recharging of power-hungry third- and fourth-generation iPads, newer (and older) iPad models are virtually indifferent to that added power, so PlugBug World’s lack of 2.4-Amp support won’t be a dealbreaker for most users. The port is also capable of supplying enough juice for the latest iPhones, as well as every USB-powered iPod.
This version’s trick is the addition of five different international wall plugs that can be used when traveling. A standard US/Canada/Japan plug allows PlugBug World to operate like a slightly larger version of the original PlugBug, while three-blade UK/Hong Kong/Singapore, two-tube Continental Europe, diagonal-blade Australia/N.Z., and straight-blade China AC adapters attach and detach as needed. Functionally, PlugBug World worked like a charm during a test trip abroad to Spain, properly charging independently and when connected to a MagSafe 2 Power Adapter.
If there’s any negative about PlugBug World’s design, it’s a fairly common one for international adapters: the plugs are all large and non-collapsable. Thanks to a carrying bag that’s included to hold all of the parts, you can carry whichever you need to reduce space, but they’re each pretty beefy. However, if you need to pop one of Twelve South’s international blades directly onto Apple’s MagSafe adapter, you can do so.
Like its predecessor, PlugBug World is a good accessory — a handy way to add an extra 2.1A USB port to your travel collection, ideally suited to use in the aforementioned supported countries. While it bears mention that Apple sells its own “World Travel Adapter Kit” for $39 with somewhat comparable parts, Twelve South’s package has the added advantages of reducing the number of wall outlets you’re using and enabling you to adapt both a MacBook adapter and wall charger at the same time. It’s definitely good enough to merit our general recommendation.
Company and Price
Company: Twelve South
Model: PlugBug World
Compatible: All iPads, iPhones, and USB iPods