Fastmac U-Socket USB/Power Outlet

Back in December of 2009 (is that really almost 2 years ago?) I found an online article advertising a very cool product that I fell in love with. Fastmac corporation had combined a standard 110V power outlet with 2 USB ports and called it U-Socket. I glanced around at my computer area and took note of the tangle of cables and huge number of power adaptors and decided I needed to get me some of these!

Fastmac offered an introductory price of $9.99 per outlet but pre-order wasn't available. A coupe of months later they did offer up a pre-order but the price was now $19.95 each. I thought about it for about 10 seconds and then plunked down the $40 and sat back and waited for them to arrive. I waited. And waited ... and waited. 

It turns out Fastmac had a great product but the US government needed them to make changes. Great for safety not so great for delivery quick delivery times. The USB ports went from a horizontal orientation above each outlet to a vertical orientation to the left side of each outlet. Not a big deal one would think but if you have to go through testing, verification and the US government approval process it can take a while. It also impacts the price. They now sell for $22.95 and come in a variety of colors. About 2 weeks ago I finally was  notified that the U-Sockets I had pre-ordered were available and they were on their way. I installed them today. 

Each outlet comes with a wire nut, an extra wire in case your outlet is in the middle of an electrical run, a faceplate, the outlet itself and instructions.

If you are a DIY type of guy then it shouldn't be an issue to install them yourself. Just make sure you keep safety in mind and TURN OFF THE POWER FIRST!  To install the two outlets took me about 20 minutes. The biggest issue is the size of the outlet. It requires at least a 16-cubic-inch electrical box to accommodate it. That means you may have to swap out a smaller electrical box for a larger one. Not necessarily an easy task.  Thankfully for me that was unnecessary.

The two USB ports are USB 3.0-compliant, have 12W of total charging power and are rated at 2.1A.  My brand new iPad 2 can charge at full speed but if/when I get a second one it will slow things down a bit as they would share the power draw. 

Another nice feature of the U-Socket is that it's designed to cut off power to the USB ports when nothing is plugged into them. That should put a stake through the heart of those vampire charging adaptors you leave in all the time.

U-Socket is a great device, easy to install and unique in the market right now.  If you’ve been looking for a convenient way to charge all your i-devices and hate the mess of USB charging adapters, give it a try.