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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Add an iPad/iPhone USB charging port to your MacBook AC adapter with PlugBug



plugbug_column_hero.jpegIf you carry a MacBook along with an iPhone and/or iPad, you can use your MacBook to charge those portable devices through USB but they don't charge as quickly as they would with a separate power adapter. Charging everything from the wall, however, requires you to carry multiple adapters and that can really bulk up your bag. Want a solution for that? Meet the PlugBug from Twelve South.

The PlugBug is designed as an accessory for all stock Apple MacBook adapters. Like a red Tetris piece it slides onto the end of the adapter after you remove the longer power cord or smaller, AC plug. Once in place it gives you a full 10-watt USB charging port for your iPhone and iPad and a MacBook charger in one piece, so you can charge everything using just one wall socket. Those 10 watts are important for the iPad, which requires twice the power of other USB devices. The PlugBug also can be used as a standalone iPad charger for times when you don't need to charge your MacBook.

As an added bonus for those outside the U.S. and Canada, the PlugBug converts your MacBook power adapter for compatibility in the U.S. and also gives you that extra USB charging port for your iOS devices. So it's perfect for that trip across the big pond.


PlugBug looks like a very handy gadget with excellent design. Anything I can do to lighten the load in my gadget bag is always welcome. Using PlugBug means giving up about five feet or power cord length, however, since you have to remove the MacBook adapter's thicker power cord to use it. There are times when at a busy Starbucks or Panera that I'm able to find a place to sit, but the nearest AC socket is two tables away. In those cases I need that extra cable length. So while PlugBug will work for me in most situations, I probably would still carry the longer power cord in my bag, just to be safe.

PlugBug is available now on the twelvesouth site for $34.99.

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 5:17pm]


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