December 26th, 2011 by Kevin OBrien
NewerTech Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet Review
If someone asked you how many wall chargers you have for a USB-powered device, chances are you could probably list off a few from the top of your head. Most devices sold today, including wireless hard drives and smartphones include a charging cable that terminates with a common USB plug. With its widespread compatibility, this allows users to charge their devices anywhere a computer or wall charger is located. This is where the NewerTech Power2U Ac/USB Wall Outlet comes into play, offering a cord-only charging solution for portable devices putting the charger inside the wall, never to be misplaced again.
The NewerTech Power2U AC/USB wall outlet priced at $29.95 integrates two standard USB ports into an AC outlet, capable of charging most devices on the market. Aimed primarily at smartphones that devour battery life in a matter of hours or days, the Power2U outlet puts a charger at any area inside your home or office where devices frequently get charged. This means you don't need to worry about lugging your only charger around to multiple spots, just bring your cable with you. Another nice perk is the charger no longer takes up a valuable AC-plug in a kitchen or bedroom, leaving it open for other devices.
NewerTech Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet Specifications:
- Amperage: 15 Amp
- Voltage: 125 Volt
- NEMA: 5-15R Compliant
- Pole: 2
- Wire: 3
- DC power specs: 5.2 volt, 2A (10W) Duplex USB charging receptacle with integrated on/off safety switch
- Dielectric Voltage: Withstands 2000V per UL 498
- Overload Test, HP Ratings: 125V AC 58.8A
- Current Limiting: Full Rated Current
The NewerTech Power2U wall outlet looks like a standard flush-mount AC-outlet with two ports integrated into the side of its decorative wall cover. The two USB ports are hidden with spring-loaded covers which are dual purpose.
First they keep out dust and debris when devices aren't plugged in, keeping the port itself safe. Next it acts as an on-off switch, keeping the USB-port cold when it is not in use. Both are safety related, since this device is designed to be installed inside your wall permanently.
The Power2U unit is rather large when compared to your basic three-prong 15A outlet. The body is nearly the width and length of a standard electrical box itself meaning that some care will be required when choosing the proper spot for this in-wall charger. Looking behind a few outlets in our office, we found two scenarios where the Power2U wouldn't fit. The first was an outlet with a large bundle of wire brought in from additional outlets in the circuit and tied together behind a standard wall outlet. Normally this setup wouldn't cause any problem for a standard outlet, but with the extra length, the Power2U couldn't fit. Another scenario we found were basement outlets located on the perimeter wall. With our office built using metal studs maximizing room size, the wall cavity was about half the depth as usual, meaning a standard outlet would fit but not this particular model. In most areas though, the Power2U will fit, so just plan ahead and scope out an area with adequate clearance.
It is super easy to install the NewerTech Power2U AC/USB wall outlet even if you don't have a lot of experience with home electrical work. The first step in any project working with AC-current is to always double and triple check that the outlet you are working on is turned off at the circuit breaker. Plugging in a clock radio with the radio on is a good trick if the outlet you are trying to disable is far away from your breaker panel. Just listen until the stereo turns off, and you know you have found the proper circuit. If you have a multimeter on hand it is also good to verify there is no voltage at the outlet as well.
With the power turned off, remove the old outlet cover by loosening the center screw on the wall plate. With the plate placed to the side, next remove the top and bottom screws that hold the outlet into the electrical box. Carefully pull out the outlet, slowly bending the wires that are attached. Next remove the wires, making note of the correct wire positions. On a standard wall outlet configuration with the grounding plug facing down, ground is on the bottom, white/neutral is on the left, and black/hot is on the right. If your installation has the grounding plug facing up (the outlet looks upside-down) the configuration is reversed.
Next remove the wires and attach them to the NewerTech Power2U AC/USB wall outlet by loosening the set screw and securing the wire underneath it. After all of the wires are attached to the new outlet, slowly push the assembly back into the electrical box. You may have to slowly bend some of the wires towards the top and bottom of the outlet so they clear the sides of the box.
Once the outlet is in position to be secured by screws, tighten them all the way and admire your work. From here the only remaining setup is pushing the wall plate over the outlet and cleaning up any drywall dust that may have come dislodged.
The NewerTech Power2U AC/USB outlet worked with many devices we tested around the office. It had no trouble charging our Seagate GoFlex Satellite wireless hard drive or a new iPhone 4s. Inserting the USB cable into the outlet required a work, holding back the spring loaded cover with a fingernail to orient the plug correctly. Besides that the entire process was rather painless.
This type of outlet isn't designed to replace every standard outlet in your house. Not only would it cost a fortune at over 30-40x the price, but nearly all of them would go unused. For most homes the main areas would be near your bed for charging your phone or devices while you sleep, a countertop in a kitchen where your devices might rest, or even a media area where you are playing music off a phone frequently and need to keep it topped up. the main intention though is putting one where your phone or USB-powered devices frequently rest so you can always keep them topped up.
NewerTech came out swinging with another great product aimed at making life easier for everyday users. The Power2U AC/USB wall outlet solves an issue many of us have run into where either the one charger than came with your phone is somewhere else, but you still need to charge your phone. It also fixes the problem of your charger taking up valuable real estate on countertop outlets. By integrating two USB plugs into the outlet body itself, the Power2U puts a charger in any primate location in your home or office. Another benefit is comparing its price of $29.95 against the cost of purchasing another charger. Considering that the Apple iPhone charger costs $29 each, it can be a savings for some people.
Installation was a breeze, although given the safety concerns of working with electricity, it is best to leave this installation to a professional if you don't feel up to it. With proper safety precautions it doesn't take much time at all to install the Power2U, but this it is still best left to a trained professional if you don't feel comfortable. The large physical size of the outlet body also makes it difficult, but not impossible, to install in some areas as we noted in this review. Overall this is a great product to put in your home or office, replacing two USB chargers with each outlet installation.
- Straight-forward installation
- Great design and build quality
- Compatibile with almost every USB-powered device
- Large size makes installation difficult in some areas
The NewerTech Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet puts two USB charging ports in any location in your home or office, freeing up AC plugs in prime areas if your home.