In the past I have looked at a number of products in the IDAPT range. These products have featured the company’s exchangeable tips that allow a number of devices to be charged simultaneously from a base platform. While the latest IDAPT product, namely the i1 Eco Universal Charger, also uses the company’s exchangeable tip feature and lets you charge a pair of devices simultaneously, it does away with the platform aspect.
Instead you get a small device that, despite its familiar appearance, took me a while to come up with an appropriate description. I finally settled on one of those cones used to hold slab ice-cream – rectangular rather than the more familiar round cornets. Thicker at one end than the other, this device provides the conduit between the chosen power source and the attached devices. You also get a mains power lead, 12v in-car cigarette lighter adapter with a single USB port, three tips and a standard USB to mini-USB lead for charging from a computer whether of the PC or Mac variety.
First impressions are, to say the least, hardly promising. The rather plain cardboard box, even if it does feature instructions and diagrams, reminds me of packaging used by economy goods. Opening this box reveals components that, apart from the tips, have a plastic look and feel to them. But the reason for this is explained by the “Eco” part of this product’s title. With the claim of being greener than 99% of known chargers, the i1 Eco is constructed from unpainted recycled materials and has been designed to be recyclable so that the circle should not be broken. Further adding to this product’s green credentials is the auto turn-off feature that instigates when charging is complete so protecting battery life and saving on wasteful standby power that can sometimes happen.
As mentioned earlier, the in-car cigarette socket adapter provides a single USB connection which means only a single device can be charged by this route. The main unit, however, allows you to charge two devices simultaneously. One of the devices will be charged from a tip which slots into the head of the unit. Due to the design of the device, the tip can only be inserted the correct way round. A quick-release button allows for easy changing of available tips. The second device can be attached via a side-mounted USB slot. An on/off button will need to be depressed to start the charging process.
The three tips that are supplied with the i1Eco cover miniUSB, microUSB and iPod/iPhone connectivity. Extra tips can be purchased at a cost of £5.99 (9.99USD) each from http://www.idaptweb.com/UK/idapt/tips/availables_tips.html. Here you will find tips for devices such as the iPad, Blackberry, Kindle, Samsung Tab Galaxy, Xbox controllers, Nintendo DS /3DS plus almost every MP3 player and GPS system currently on the market. In fact the IDAPT system is compatible with over 4,000 devices.
While I had no trouble inserting and removing the various tips from the unit, connecting the mains power cable required more effort. It was rather a tight fit but this did mean there was little chance of the i1 Eco being accidentally disconnected from the mains lead. While charging is taking place, a light will glow on one side of the device. This light will automatically switch off when charging is complete.
Rather disappointingly, as this product is being promoted as a device for power hungry travellers, no carry pouch is included to keep all the various items together when on the road. Other than this, the i1 Eco is a useful product ensuring that various devices can be easily charged. The i1 Eco has been priced at £20.00.
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