gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Masterplug 6-Plug Power Block With USB Ports Reviewed

USB isn’t going anywhere fast as a way of charging mobile devices, so it seems only logical that it would find its way into power blocks as a far more convenient way of delivering that necessary power than juggling a handful of socket-monopolising mains adaptors.

The Masterplug series of Power Blocks offer exactly this; combining USB and regular mains sockets in a variety of neat form factors and finished in stylish black or white high gloss.

I got hold of a Masterplug 6-plug power block. It’s an unusual form factor that’s designed more to be placed on a desk and used as a power hub, than hidden inside a TV cabinet.

Its double-sided design means that even the biggest of plugs wont take up more than one socket. This is a common problem with traditional flat plug blocks that promise 8-10 sockets but realistically deliver only 4-5 once you’ve filled them up with bulky transformers. Unless your transformers are exceptionally wide ( I find that most are just deep or tall depending on how you want to look at it ) then you should have no problem using all 6 sockets.

I’d personally prefer it if plugs pointed downwards, or even horizontally, rather than up when it sat on a desk, but there’s a reason behind this; it’s wall mountable. Having chunky power cables leap up away from the Masterplug and trail messily away to whatever they are powering isn’t exactly the prettiest of arrangements, but it works well if you find somewhere you can mount it on a wall. This is probably easier to accomplish above a bedside table than anywhere else. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest you’re less likely to move your bed than your computer desk!

USB ports are definitely the reason to pick up a Masterplug and, setting aside its good looks and well thought out design, are the main justification for its premium price. Each port can deliver 1A which will charge most phones effectively, but might be a little slow on the larger and more power hungry phones and tablets. You could even use it to power a Raspberry Pi if the fancy takes you.

Overall the Masterplug is a good looking and highly functional example of why even a tried and tested old concept like the power block still has plenty of room for improvement. Masterplug eliminates most of the power block frustrations and delivers a product that looks good, doesn’t succumb to giant-plug-taking-up-multiple-sockets syndrome, and gives you some always-on USB ports for ad-hoc device charging. Because of this they’d almost certainly be my #1 recommended accessory for a new Samsung Galaxy S4, or whatever shiny new phone or tablet you might come across… honestly, I’ve completely lost touch with the market!

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013, Home Appliances.