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NewerTech Power2U USB Outlet Review

by Josh Root, January 2013


I don’t know about you, but AC adapters and battery chargers run my life these days. Laptop, iPad, Kindle, iPhone, DSLR, point and shoot, MILC, bluetooth headset, AA batteries, and so on. Sometimes it seems as though my life is little more than a never-ending tangle of cords and cables and wall warts. Happily, I’m not alone in my frustration. No, I don’t mean that I am happy others are encountering the same annoyance. I mean that I’m happy so many people have the same issues because it means smart companies are coming up with clever products to help. NewerTech’s Power2U USB is one of those products.

While many of our devices these days have dedicated charging plugs and adapters, more and more of them are able to be charged through a USB interface. Gadgets that sync with our computers, like smartphones and tablets, being some of the most common examples. This is where a product like the Power2U USB outlet comes in. It is an easy way to upgrade an existing electrical outlet to provide two 5v 2000mA USB charging ports along with the standard two 110 household outlets. Not only that, but it comes in the four most common outlet colors (white, almond, ivory, and black) to match your existing outlets.

Installation is really very easy if you are at all familiar with household electrical work (NewerTech has a “how to” installation video here). It took me fewer than 15 minutes to remove the old outlet, wire up the Power2U, and reinstall. If you have ever installed or replaced any sort of household electrical outlet, you will find installing the Power2U to be easy.

But PLEASE let me be perfectly clear if you do not have the knowledge or skills to be doing even minor household electrical projects you should not even attempt to install this product yourself. There is no reason to risk the safety of yourself, your family, your house, or even your phone. The risk of fire or fatal electrical shock are very real and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you aren’t positive that you know what you are doing, call an electrician. Speaking of safety, one very nice feature of the Power2U is that it is a UL Listed device. While other similar products claim to be built to UL standards, the Power2U USB outlet is the only one I know of that is actually UL Listed.

Now, that having been said, there are a few things to note. The first is that the physical size of the Power2U outlet precludes it from fitting into some of the smaller outlet boxes (or into boxes with an abnormal amount of wire junctions). This kept me from installing it in my first location choice which was an oddball outlet near to my regular desk. If you are familiar with various brands of electrical boxes, there is a partial list of compatible boxes on the NewerTech website.

Also, it is worth remembering that the maximum output for the Power2U is 5.2 volt, 2000mA (10W). According to the NewerTech website, this is the equivalent output of an Apple iPad wall adapter. However, that output is shared between the two USB ports. So while charging one iPad will be just like using the Apple wall adapter in terms of charging speed, charging two iPads at once is going to be more like using an older underpowered USB port or adapter. A big deal? Not to me, but if your household workflow involves having multiple iPads charging at the same time, you may want to factor that into your plans.

How does it work? Just fine. I’ve got on installed near our kitchen “desk” where we charge phones, tablets, and other gadgets. If you were previously using the old “mess of chargers in a powerstrip” system, you may need longer USB cables depending on where your outlet is located relative to where your phones and gadgets sit while charging.Thankfully those are pretty cheap on Amazon or Ebay these days. Otherwise, the Power2U USB outlet pretty much just works exactly as it is supposed to.

Where to Buy

NewerTech Power2U USB Outlet

NewerTech Power2U USB Outlet, (compare prices) (review). From the NewerTech website: The Newer Technology Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet is the convenient and energy-efficient in-wall solution for powering and charging USB devices. Now you can charge and/or power up to four devices at once when using the USB 3.0/2.0 ports and standard three-prong outlets, while eliminating unsightly clutter created by multiple cables and bulky power adapters…


Text and photos © 2013 Josh Root.

Article created January 2013

Readers' Comments


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Tom Campbell , January 07, 2013; 10:14 P.M.

I bought a few of these on sale, but unfortunately had to send them all back. They just wouldn't fit into any of the electrical boxes in my house (which is old but was completely rewired in 1999). So I'd advise reading the information about this on the NewerTech website very carefully before buying.

Marcus Ian , January 08, 2013; 12:16 P.M.

In addition to the Cu-in requirement (which may or may not be a problem for your installation), there are a wide variety of similar products available, many of which vary with regards to layout (some have one outlet & 2x USB for example), plug placement (which can be important if you are going to plug an adapter into the 110v), power output (from 500mA to 2100mA per USB), and of course physical size (some protrude from the wall a bit, some are even inset).

 

The biggest thing that bugged me though is that none of the ones I've seen (including the dozen or so in the aisles of Home Depot) feature a hard on/off switch.  So the built in is always drawing 10W+ power - which can quickly add up - especially if you install one unit in every area you frequently charge.

 

Andrew Gilchrist , January 14, 2013; 10:03 A.M.

Most wall warts don't draw their full power (e.g. 10W) when not in use but some at least draw some small amount of power.   I don't know about these plugs.

 

Another possible issue with these is that for the kitchen usage proposed, they are not GFI; current code may require kitchens to use GFI outlets in many localities.

 

Also, I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss the problem of slow iPad charging; the iPads large battery is extremely slow to charge (and will not charge when in use) with lower-wattage charging.


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