IDAPT i4 universal charger: Lose the cables (review)

Summary:This universal charger handles four mobile devices without any cables or power adapters. It is a solid addition to the geek's mobile arsenal, even though it doesn't go anywhere.

IDAPT i4 ready for business

The price I pay for being a gadget nut is dealing with a huge pile of charging cables and power adapters. Every gadget has a never-ending thirst for power, and that means a cable and adapter for each one. My home office has long had far too many cables snaking in all directions, with power adapters plugged into the multiple surge protectors needed to supply the outlets required.

I don't take photos of the cables in this office, partly out of embarrassment and partly to avoid attracting the attention of those government agencies tasked with shutting down unsafe work sites. A new gadget I picked up is the first start to help me tackle this unruly situation by eliminating both the wires and the adapters.

The IDAPT i4 is a modular charging system that is configurable to meet the user's needs. The base station is a small plastic unit about the same size as a VHS cassette (remember those?), with three charging bays plus a USB port on the side. The charging bays each accept one module that snaps in place, consisting of a single charging connector of different types to fit specific gadgets.

The unit ships with six commonly used charging tips: iPhone/iPad, microUSB (2), miniUSB, Samsung tip, and a Nokia tip. The unit charges three gadgets by plugging the tip module into the bay, and then plugging the gadget onto the tip. The USB port on the side of the IDAPT i4 allows charging a fourth device by plugging the gadget into the USB port with the appropriate device cable. It will handle most small gadgets, including the iPad and Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet I have tried.

Charging 4 gadgets

Charging 4 gadgets

The ability to charge four devices simultaneously using only the one power cord of the IDAPT i4 is a great benefit. Each charging bay on the dock has an LED indicator that glows red when a device is being actively charged, and turns green when the gadget reaches a full charge. This is a handy indicator as it doesn't require firing up the device to check the charging level.

3 gadgets loaded (note LED charging indicators)

3 gadgets loaded (note LED charging indicators)

It is rare such a small device offers so much utility as the IDAPT I4. It has eliminated three charging cables and freed up the power outlets the gadgets normally require. It is small enough I can place it on my desktop with all of the gadgets conveniently at hand. I am currently using the IDAPT i4 to charge my Galaxy Nexus S 4G phone, iPhone 4S, Samsung 4G LTE hotspot, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. I can tell at a glance if the phones or hotspot are fully charged.

The IDAPT i4 is $60 and well worth that price for the utility it provides. Most folks will find the 6 included charging tips to be sufficient, but the company has a long list of special tips that can be ordered separately for use with any of the iDapt charging solutions. While the i4 has earned a coveted place on my desktop, I would consider traveling with it to avoid carrying so many cables and adapters on trips.

Of interest:

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Networking, Telcos

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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