Chances are that you have an assortment of gadgets with you and with that kind of digital lifestyle, you also need an assortment of chargers. This can get very cluttered very quickly, both because your different devices use different cables and because you need different chargers for your home, your car, and through your computer. There has to be an easier way.
And that is the crux of the idea behind the IDAPT i1 Eco universal portable charger. You get one charger that you can effectively use for everything and you can use it everywhere.
The Universal Gadget Charger
If you were following along with our coverage at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, then you may have seen our video coverage of IDAPT at the show. One of the products being showcased was the i1 Eco, which the IDAPT rep said looked like a shaver. I think I might have to agree.
With the IDAPT i1 Eco, you get a single device that is effectively compatible with nearly every portable gadget out there. It uses the IDAPT signature tip system for wide compatibility, plus it has an additional USB port on the side for added flexibility. Even though it's called the i1 Eco, you can actually charge two devices at the same time. What's more, the other end of the product is equally flexible.
You can detach the cord at the end, depending on where you want to charge your device. There's a regular AC cable for plugging into the wall, a USB cable for charging through your computer, and a USB-to-12V adapter for charging in your car. By combining the tip system with this trio of charging options, you really do get a universal charging solution.
Three Tips Included
They have everything from miniUSB to legacy Nokia, AA battery chargers to Nintendo 3DS. If you have interchangeable tips from other IDAPT products, like the older IDAPT i3 desktop charging system, they can work here too.
Attaching and Removing the Charging Tips
When you use one of the desktop charging solutions from IDAPT, you get a satisfying "click" when a tip engages with the slot. To remove the tip, there are typically buttons on either side of the slot that you press. The tip pops out and you can replace it with another without any trouble at all. Everything is clear and obvious.
The same isn't exactly true with the IDAPT i1 Eco. While the interchangeable tips do fit into the same sized slot, there isn't the same kind of "click" when the tip engages. I was never quite certain that it fit correctly, aside from seeing that my mobile device had started charging. Similarly, removing the tip isn't quite as obvious either. There is a plastic tab on the side that is supposed to release the tip, but pressing it results in a sound that's almost like the plastic is cracking.
It just seems like IDAPT used thinner and cheaper plastic for the i1 Eco compared to its other chargers. Of course, it still gets the job done, but the i1 Eco doesn't instill the same sense of confidence when it comes to build quality.
MEGATechie Tip of the Hat or MEGATechie Wag of the Finger?
The idea behind the IDAPT i1 Eco universal portable charger is really quite brilliant. You've got the IDAPT interchangeable tip system and a "bonus" USB port that can be used to charge thousands of different gadgts. You've got the option to swap cables, charging via USB, wall outlet, or the 12V outlet in your car. That's about as universal as it gets.
That being said, the build quality does leave something to be desired and considering that you can "only" charge two gadgets at any given time, I'd almost want this product to be quite a bit more compact. I do appreciate that it kills vampire power, though, as it shuts itself off when the device you're charging is no longer pulling a draw.
At about $30 online, including three charging tips, the IDAPT i1 Eco isn't terribly expensive and it could prove to be a great investment for the person who needs to charge everything and everywhere.