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…




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

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

  3. 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.

  4. “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.

  5. $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.

What do you think?