While it's certainly convenient that most mobile devices can be charged via one of your computer's USB ports, what happens if all of the ports are in use? Even if they're not, you don't always want your devices and their cables cluttering up your desk. You can buy USB adapters for wall outlets, but then you end up needing to find an available outlet, and subsequently occupying it (in older homes especially, unused AC outlets are often something of a rarity). Now, there's an alternative to using your computer or an adapter to charge your gizmos - it's the Newer Technology Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet.

The outlet can reportedly be easily user-installed, in place of an existing wall outlet on a 15-Amp circuit. It incorporates the usual two AC receptacles, but it also features two USB 3.0/2.0 ports. All four plug-ins can be used at once, with a power-saving feature delivering only enough power to the USB ports necessary for charging the attached device.

When a device is unplugged, a spring-loaded safety shutter snaps into place, both protecting the USB port and completely shutting off its power supply - so, there's no "vampire power" draw when it's not in use.

The Power2U outlet is compatible with all models of iPhone, iPad and USB-chargeable iPods, along with Android devices and pretty much anything else that can be charged using a USB 1.1 or higher cable. It's available for US$27.99 via Other World Computing.

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