Here in the ByteNow offices, we toy with numerous gadgets every day ranging from devices that we test for review to devices we use as our own. At the end of the day, they all have one thing in common: The need for a recharge. At times, it feels like there just are not enough outlets in the wall to charge all of the devices fully so we can continue to work with them the next day. There is a company looking to solve that problem that many gadget enthusiasts such as ourselves face on a daily basis.
Back in January when we traveled to our first MacWorld show, we ran into a company on the show floor that was introducing a product that we just had to have. IDAPT — short for Innovative Adapter — was just introducing the IDAPT i4: a charging station, capable of charging up to four devices simultaneously. We spoke at length with the company about the product and decided we’d be purchasing one in the very near future. Amidst the fluttering that was our company’s first time covering a trade show, we lost the IDAPT company information and completely forgot all of the information they had given us at the show.
Fast forward to now and we came across an advertisement for one of IDAPT’s products and we reached out to them right away. The folks were nice enough to send us an i4 for review, and we’ve been using the device for about 2 weeks now. Read on for our full thoughts.
Hardware & Design
Inside the box, the i4 ships with the charging bay, a power cable, 6 device tips, documentation, and our device had some information on IDAPT’s other products, but your mileage may vary.
The charging tips that come in the package: microUSB, miniUSB, Apple iDevice, Samsung, Nokia, Sony Ericsson.
The IDAPT i4 doesn’t have a very large footprint and will easily fill some of that empty space on your bedroom dresser or nightstand. The device measures in at just 169 x 135 x 32 mm and weighs just 300 grams. For comparisons sake, we stuck it next to a picture frame in the photo we’ve attached above. Really, it isn’t big. Our device is a glossed black color, but the company also offers the product available in white, red, blue, magenta, green, orange, amber, and navy blue. The device is powered by a single cable which outputs 13 W of electricity. The power cable is roughly 4 1/2 ft in size, so you’ll want to keep this pretty close to your power outlet.
On the top of the device, you’ll find the power button, which provides a very nice tactile click, and the three slots for the charging tips; two in the back and one front and center of the device. The right side of the device sports the extra USB port which you’ll use to charge your fourth device. Alongside the back of the i4 is the port for your power cable and that’s pretty much it. The design is very simple, sleek, and elegant. We were really impressed with how well the i4 just fit in any room that we put it in.
Set-up of the i4 is simple and quick. Simply select the three charging tips that you’d like to use, arrange them in a manner that you’d like, plug them in and turn the device on. Because the microUSB charging ports of a lot of devices these days are built into the side of phones, we recommend placing the microUSB charging tip up front if it happens to be one you select. Placing it in the front will give you more room to charge your devices, since they’ll need to be laying down when charging on the i4.
Our setup consisted of: Apple 30-pin connector (rear left), miniUSB (rear right), and microUSB (front). For most of the time we had the device in testing, we used another Apple USB charging cable to charge other Apple devices. Our iPad didn’t hold too well when we tried to charge it in the stand. The weight of the iPad and the flimsiness of the charging tips would cause the iPad to flip the entire i4 over.
So, how’s it work?
- Sleek design doesn’t make you want to put the device away when you’re done charging devices. It just looks right wherever you put it.
- Four devices at one time? Yes please. Having the ability to top off all of our devices right before the end of the day was a blessing is disguise.
- Power efficient. Much more eco-friendly than plugging four plugs into your wall. Over time, you’ll save on your electric bill, but we weren’t able to pinpoint an exact amount.
- IDAPT gives you the ability to customize your tip package when purchasing the device. Instead of six tips however, you’ll only be able to get four with the custom package.
- Buying additional tips for the IDAPT will run you $10/tip.
- Like we mentioned above, some devices house their charging ports on the side of them. Having to lay down the device on the IDAPT really didn’t help in the space saving department and sometimes only allowed us to charge 1 or 2 devices at a time. This isn’t a fault in the product as much as it is in today’s mobile devices. It’d be much easier if the charging ports were standard on the bottoms of devices.
At the end of the day, we found that the IDAPT i4 took slightly longer to charge our devices than the traditional wall chargers for the individual devices. That said, being able to charge all four devices at one time without taking up four AC outlets is just a fine trade off. After all, we typically charge our devices overnight, so we weren’t too concerned with charging time.
The Bottom Line
No product is perfect and the IDAPT i4 is no exception. The device has its flaws, but they are overshadowed by its incredible usefulness. Your $59.99 investment might turn into a $70-$90 investment after you are done purchasing all of the extra tips you’d like, but if you can deal with the set of 6 tips that come in the package, there is nothing wrong with shelling out the cash for this device. It’s sleek, it’s stylish and it works wonderfully. We love this product and we think you will, too. You’ll thank yourself for making the purchase when all of your devices are fully charged, in one place, when you’re ready to leave for work or school in the morning.