The Twelve South PlugBug: What a difference one extra USB port makes

The Twelve South PlugBug: What a difference one extra USB port makes

Hi, my name is Matthew and I’m a packaholic. I have a long history of taking way too much stuff with me when I travel. Half of what I pack ends up staying in the hotel room unused, waiting for me to haul it back through two airports on the way home.

As I’ve come to the realization that I must change my ways some time, I’ve come to appreciate simple products that trim, one by one, the bits that I have to take along with me on business or pleasure trips. The Twelve South PlugBug attracted me as an interesting candidate in this category and now I’m hooked. I don’t want to travel without it again.

The PlugBug is a small dongle that hooks onto your MacBook’s power supply (sorry PC users, it’s Mac only) adding a spare USB port to the puck-sized adapter.

The unit slides on where the standard wall plug or extended cord normally attaches. It’s finished in a pleasantly shiny red finish that mimics the Apple plastic but provides a nice counterpart at the same time. Dare I say that it actually makes the power supply look pretty stylish.

On the ‘back’ of the addon is a standard USB plug which offers a full 10 watts of power to any device you decide to plug into it. Perfect for an iPhone or full-speed charging of an iPad.

It adds only a single USB port, but somehow adds up to just the additional one you need. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve tapped out the two USB ports on my MacBook Air and needed an additional port to charge one of my other devices, be it iPhone, Galaxy Nexus or battery pack.

The adapter is small enough, adding just an extra inch or so to the height of your standard power brick and next-to-no weight. This makes it a decent space/weight tradeoff for leaving your iPad charger at home.

At CES I was charging a Galaxy Nexus, WiFi hotspot, iPhone and an iPad while using the two USB ports for importing images from an SD card and hardware accelerating my video conversion. The PlugBug was a lifesaver as I could rely on it to charge any of the items at full tilt.

At $34.99 I feel that the little adapter is very reasonably priced. It certainly feels just as well constructed as any Apple power adapter. If you don’t travel, then the PlugBug may be a bit of a harder sell, but if you’re a MacBook user that is on the road a lot, an extra full-power USB port can make the difference between enough and not.

As a paring knife that removes one more bit of spare kit to carry as well as a truly useful, beautiful and well made gadget, the PlugBug is easy to recommend.

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