This article was published on May 5, 2011

Review: iDapt i4. Finally, a gorgeous universal charger.

Review: iDapt i4. Finally, a gorgeous universal charger.
Matthew Panzarino
Story by

Matthew Panzarino

Matthew Panzarino was Managing Editor at TNW. He's no longer with the company, but you can follow him on Twitter. Matthew Panzarino was Managing Editor at TNW. He's no longer with the company, but you can follow him on Twitter.

Most universal chargers are incredibly ugly. If you want to charge multiple devices you’re normally in for a big black brick of some sort, lots of cords and a forest of tips. Oh so many easily lost tips. The iDapt i4 is a different breed entirely. It looks fantastic, doesn’t use tips and is a welcome addition to my desk.

The i4 consists of a base with an acrylic top that houses three interchangeable plugs. These plugs can be swapped out to fit a variety of different devices including Mini-USB, Micro-USB, Apple’s 30-pin dock connector and most brands of cell phone.

The i4 comes with the base, a power adapter and a full set of plugs to get you started. iDapt also lets you order the i4 with a pack of custom plugs instead of the 6 generic ones so you can get just what you need. This is a super cool touch and one that I think all universal charger manufacturers should take note of.

I love the deco influenced design of the i4, it stands out from the pack when it comes to desk chargers, which are normally black plastic monstrosities. The angular base leads up to an acrylic top that has a nice embedded laminate of color. You can get a variety of different colors but I went with the red, it makes for a nice splash of color among all of the grey and black on my desk.

The plugs themselves have a clever spring-loaded design that makes it much harder to break the plug or the device that is sitting on it. If you bump a device while it’s on or rock it on the connector while you’re attaching it, the plug just sways backwards or forwards, keeping the plug and the connector on your device safe.

It’s an inventive solution to the problem of how delicate the charging ports are on most mobile electronics.

To change out the plugs you punch in the buttons on either side of each hole, ejecting the plug. Then you insert a new one. It works very simply and never caused me any issues. In addition to the top plugs there is also a standard USB port on the side for charging just about anything else.

I do have a short wish-list of features for a future version of the i4. I would love a sync passthrough, something that iDapt told us was coming when we previewed the i4. I’d also like a thinner power cord, perhaps of the DC variety, although that would mean an external power brick, something that iDapt has tucked away in the interior of the i4 now. So that’s really just a personal preference.

I’ve absolutely come to love the iDapt over the course of my testing and it’s become a permanent fixture on my desk. It looks so good though that I would be just as happy if it was sitting on my kitchen counter or the side table by the door. I wish that all of the accessories that I had were this stylish and well thought out.

The iDapt i4 charger is available now for $60 on iDapt’s site.