As time goes on I seem to gain more and more devices that charge off of a USB port. My phone, my iPod, Bluetooth Headphones, Kindle and even the Zi8 that I recently reviewed all charge off of a USB port. So it just makes sense to start to see devices like the Super Travel A/C USB Wall Charger I reviewed a while back. That’s fine for travel and works well. However, it sure would be nice to actually have a place to manage the cables as well as to hold the devices as they charge. That’s why I was glad when Belkin offered to send me a Conserve Valet that charges my devices and looks nice too.
The Conserve Valet looks a lot like an oversized USB hub. It has a total of 4 USB ports. Three of these are in the back and one is on the side. The top has a nice sized tray to hold your phone, iPod or other USB chargeable device.
The charger comes with a MicroB cable and a MiniB cable. These cables are only for charging your device and are also a little shorter than a regular USB cable. These shorter lengths help keep these cables tidy while in use. That leaves one more port free on the back and the one on the side if you use both of these cables. Regular USB cables work just fine with the charger. There is also a channel that goes all around the outside of the charger with notches for the cable ends. Only thicker USB cables won’t slide in these notches so a regular iPod cable should work fine on the Conserve Valet. Once it’s all wired up, plug the power cord into the charger and the wall and you are all set to charge.
What makes the Conserve Valet different from other chargers? Well, some chargers come with a sticker reminding you to remove the charger from the wall. The Conserve Valet does not because it uses no power when plugged in and no devices are attached. The Conserve Valet has some great features that fixes most of the problems of leaving a charger plugged in. First, the charger will not charge until you plug your devices in and press the button. Once you do that, it will start a charge cycle of 4 hours. Plugging in new devices resets this timer so that all devices that are plugged in will be fully charged. Once all devices are fully charged, it will wait until the end of the cycle and then power off. This keeps the charger from using any power once your devices are charged. If you pull all the devices off before the charge cycle ends, it detects this and shuts the power off 2 minutes from the time the last device is unplugged.
The Conserve Valet is extremely handy. The design allows you to plug-in any USB cable on the side so if you have to swap devices, use the side port and reserve the ports on the back for devices that take standard cables or devices you always charge. It is extremely handy to have up to four devices simultaneously charged.
Now if you are wondering how I am sure the charger doesn’t use any energy when plugged in, well all I have to say is stay tuned for the next review, Belkin’s Conserve Insight.
What I liked: Handy to have sitting by your bed or on an end table in the living room.
What needs improvement: You can only charge up to two devices with large LCD screens like a smartphone or iPod Touch like device. This may not be enough if you want to simultaneously charge a whole family’s collection of touch screen devices.