The IDAPT i4 (“i4″) is a charging solution for those that use multiple devices on a regular basis. Like others that have come before it, the i4 allows users to charge multiple devices using a single charging mechanism instead of having to have an outlet filled with multiple charging cables. But while the i4 performs the same functions as its competitors, the i4 stands out in design. From the clean looking base stations itself, to the customizable charging ports, to the vertical presentation of charging devices, the i4 is designed to stand out in a crowded market.
The purpose of a charging station is visual cleanliness; to avoid the sight of cables everywhere. But because in reality a charging base sits on your desk or bedside table, it is important that it looks good as well. The i4 looks better than other charging stations for three reasons:
- the i4 has a simple pleasing rectangle shape that tapers inwards, creating a clean aerial view;
- the i4 adds a little flash with a glossy black top panel; and
- the i4 holds charging devices up vertically, putting your coolest toys on a kind of display.
Because the i4 is going for a substantial look–a feel that the charging base station is a single solid device–the i4 has taken a different approach to customization. Other charging stations I have reviewed provided a variety of plugs meant to be attached to the base station and the device (see my old Powermat review). That approach always bothered me because it seemed to betray the fundamental purpose of the device–to reduce cord clutter. Thankfully, the i4 takes a different approach, using a mix-and-match socket configuration. The i4 comes with a variety of tips blocks–Samsung 4, Sony Ericsson 2, Nokia 2, iPod-iPhone, Blackberry USB and mini USB–that fit into three compartments on its face. Simply pick three that you need and KABLAMO! you have a customized charging station with no extra wires. Combined with a USB port on its side, the i4 can charge 4 devices simultaneously.
While a simple charging base with three tips sticking up out of it looks pretty slick, I noticed some drawbacks in testing:
- because the tips don’t stick far out from the base, when I tried to charge any type of device with a heavy case on it, the tips did not reach out far enough to charge the device;
- micro-USB has gotten pretty popular, but you only get one tip for each type so don’t think about charging a Blackberry and a headset at the same time;
- another thing I noticed was that it is harder to lower devices onto smaller charging tips, It took me almost a minute to get a Blackberry connected to the micro-USB tip; and
- according to my wife, when the i4 is placed on a night stand beside the bed it is hard to fall asleep the the charging LEDs shining bright.
The most frequently charged device is the cell phone. For many users who use thicker cell phone cases, having to take the case off to use this charging station may simply be too much hassle to handle on a daily basis. But, if you have a thin case or you like to let your cell phone go bare, the i4’s design is spot on. At $59.99, it also might be worthwhile to keep the i4 in mind for the upcoming holiday season.
Disclaimer: IDAPT provided a demo unit for this review.