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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

I ordered this thing called a Chil PowerShare Reactor today; I'll let you know how it goes

The PowerShare Reactor 5.1 Amp Multi-Device Charger, available for $50 at chil.com and occasionally cheaper online elsewhere.

CHIL.com

The PowerShare Reactor 5.1 Amp Multi-Device Charger, available for $50 at chil.com and occasionally cheaper online elsewhere.

7

March

Why have I had such a hard time finding one gizmo that has a cord I can plug into the wall and a bunch of USB ports on the other end that I can use to charge all of my family's phones, iPods and whatever at the same time?

(You'd think you could just use a powered USB hub, but you can't — at least, you can't just use all of them. Most that I've found require drivers installed on your computer before they'll send power to whatever you have plugged in. And my goal is to charge a whole bunch of iThings without a computer.)

On our last family trip, I brought a power strip and festooned it with all the USB charging plugs I could find in our house. It worked okay, but you still have to pack a little plug-box for everything you want to charge. So yesterday iLounge posted one of their First Looks at the Chil PowerShare Reactor. It's pretty much what I was looking for — a cord that plugs into the wall and powers four USB ports, three at 1 amp, which is what you'd need to charge an iPhone or iPod, and one at 2.1 amps, which will charge an iPad (or iPhone, or iPod).

At first glance you might think $50 seems a little steep, but it compares pretty well on price to a power strip and four plug-box chargers. (The Apple ones we've got mostly came with their original devices, but Apple values them at $20 each.) Plus the blue cone you see in that photo up there — although I ordered mine in safe-but-boring black — is mostly hollow inside, giving you storage space for that cord when you throw it in your bag. The whole package will be a lot more convenient.

I'm hoping mine arrives for a little test run next week. I'll let you know how it goes.

[Last modified: Friday, March 7, 2014 4:37pm]

    

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