Review: FastMac U-Socket USB wall outlet

With an ever-growing number of things (phones, lights, GPSs, helmet cams, and so on) turning to USB charging, it seems as though competition for outlet space at Chez Marc has gone through the roof.  The winter before last, I saw a piece about FastMac’s clever prototype wall outlet with integrated USB sockets.  Taken with the idea, I pre-ordered a $30 outlet and waited…  Hit the jump to see what happened next!

The suspense is killing you, right?  Well, several months later… it arrived!  Thanks to a better-than-average manual, the US-made outlet was easy to install (read the instructions, turn off the electricity, follow the instructions)- though a somewhat snug fit.  Electricity back on and…  it worked!  There’s really not much more to say other than that I’ve since ordered and installed two more, providing plenty of gadget charging.  It’s a bit easier than I’d like to accidentally install a USB cable in backwards- but so far there have been no ill effects.

Because the U-Socket only sends power to the USB outlet when something is plugged in, the company claims that it is able to save as much as $20 per year over standard wall warts.  Since mine have arrived, colors other than white and a second “Decor” style have joined the original.  Standard 2- and 3-prong plugs may be used in the same outlet, which is where the space savings really comes for.  Recommended for anyone who has too many chargers cluttering their walls…

marc

fastmac.com

Comments

Robin - 11/08/11 - 8:18am

Is it surge protected?

King County - 11/08/11 - 9:18am

Someone should make those multi outlet surge protectors with some USB slots.. no installation, plug in and its there alongside standard outlet slots.

Robert - 11/08/11 - 9:28am

Never mind a USB outlet. Campagnolo launched its electronic groupo (2 in fact) yesterday, and I have not seen any coverage on your site!

yippa - 11/08/11 - 9:53am

Now if only they would make a European plug version of this…

craigsj - 11/08/11 - 10:30am

That’s quite a review. Glad this got covered on a cycling site.

Krut - 11/08/11 - 11:43am

I for one am stoked it was posted on a bike site! Been looking for these since last year. Thanks for the review! Time to get mah charge on.

jimbo - 11/08/11 - 12:09pm

Why is this on a cycling site again?

Kuzu - 11/08/11 - 12:29pm

“Why is this on a cycling site?”

Hmm… Lets think for a second… How many of you use a Garmin? And what kind of cord is used to power said Garmin? Oh, yes, it’s a USB cable. Now, how many of you use rechargeable lights? And what kind of cord is used to charge those? Ahh, again it’s our old friend the USB. I understand the cords do come with adapters so you may plug them in, but that’s only one more thing to lose.

MW - 11/08/11 - 2:09pm

Gizmodo called.
They want their review back.

Squirrel - 11/08/11 - 2:09pm

Lets not forget iPods…. Want one of these.

Joshua Murdock - 11/08/11 - 5:45pm

Almost everything charges with USB these days. Now all bike gadgets can be charged at the same outlet. I’m glad this was posted.

steve - 11/09/11 - 8:51am

no problem on posting this lil’ tid-bit of info here.

Jake - 11/09/11 - 11:30am

I probably would have never found this product had it not been for the post here.

Good job and thanks!

John - 11/09/11 - 11:34am

I find this very useful. Glad you posted something that can be very helpful in my lifestyle!!! I use Garmin, Ipod, blinky light and all of this uses USB

IdeaStormer Jorge - 11/10/11 - 11:52am

I’d prefer one with a ton of USB outlets and no regular outlets, but it will have to do.

Bob - 11/11/11 - 4:09pm

$20/yr in savings is a totally bogus claim. Check out this site: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/sustainable/charger

I repeated it at home with my trusty Radio Shack multi-meter to see if I would get similar results with far bigger chargers (three laptop chargers). Same results. So you might save a few pennies a year (at most) with this device.

Note: it is true that some devices consume much power in standby mode: TV, PC, VCR, etc. Chargers just don’t fall into that category.

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