ChargePod V1 (or how to be a hero)
When the folks at CallPod asked me to review Keeper, they also asked if I could review the ChargePod. This product has been out for a while (at least a year I believe) and I was not quite sure what I could add to the reviews that are already out there. But I figured I’d take a stab at it, just because I like to be respectful of companies that send products my way. I’m still too new at this to be inured to all the swag that comes from being a mighty tech blogger. One day perhaps!
So for those of you who don’t know what the ChargePod is, it is a very simple device. Basically, think of it as a starfish with charging ports for arms. Up to six different devices can be connected and charged using a variety of dongles. And by variety, I mean variety – over 3,000 different devices can be charged using the ChargePod’s stable of available connectors. The device comes with three different connectors – one Apple Dock connector, one mini-USB connector, and one micro-USB connector. It also comes with a coupon for a free connector and another for 20% off your first order, so all in all, you can set yourself up pretty well for not a lot of money. Each dongle is about $10.
From a review perspective, it’s very simple. The product does what it’s supposed to. I plug in the power to the ChargePod and plug in my device and the device charges. Cool. A product that works as described. It’s mindlessly simple. My fiancee and I use it to charge her RAZR, her iTouch, my iPhone – I’m planning to get connectors for my son’s PSP, DSi, a generic USB connector so I can plug my headphone recharger into it….(umm, you folks at CallPod weren’t expecting this unit back anytime soon were you?). We like the device, needless to say. And the great thing is that it removes the tangle of wires that connect to my USB hub. With ChargePod, I realized that 90% of the reason I have a USB hub is so I can re-charge something. The ChargePod removes the need to keep my hub around. The only cord I have in there now is for my iPhone so I can sync, and my headphone charger cause I don’t have the USB connector for the ChargePod yet.
The only “complaint” I have (cause no review can be perfect) is that you need a fairly decent amount of surface area to plug everything in. To give you a sense of perspective, that sheet of paper is roughly 10″x14″. It’s more elegant than a tangle of wires, but I’d love to wall mount this thing and somehow create a little electronics mandala to help remove some of the horizontal space requirements. But it’s a minor quibble. I’m looking forward to the V2 ChargePod, which will allow you to charge a laptop as well as other devices, plus plug in USB drives and the like. It’s basically a portable universal laptop adaptor on steroids.
So why do I say that the ChargePod allows you to be a hero? Well, I was in an all-day meeting last week at an off-site with limited Internet connectivity (which you had to pay for). Almost everyone in that meeting was checking Blackberries every 10 minutes if not more frequently. And because of that, their little addictions needed to be charged. I personally was using my iPhone to access the corporate webmail presence, so I’m certainly not innocent. But the thing I noticed was that everyone was swapping out a single charger between the various Blackberries. And I thought to myself, if I got like five more mini-USB connectors and brought the ChargePod to my next all day offsite, people would love me. LOVE me. Hmm…$32 to buy the affections of a bunch of VPs and Directors…? Might be worth it…