As you are a reader of Gear Diary, it’s pretty likely that your house is something like mine–an impossible flood of electronic gizmos, gadgets, and geegaws, both portable, and not, but all requiring a simply astonishing amount of plug-in space for wall current.? Around our stereo area it can get bad, sure; the receiver, TV, VCR, DVD, TiVo box, satellite box, etc; you need some hefty power strippage to deal with it.
But for me where it gets really bad is my desk.? I work from home, so in addition to all the “usual” computer equipment that I have maintain powered-up–printer, fax machine, monitor, laptop, external Fantom drive, CD ROM burner, scanner–I also have a second laptop, and plug-in space needed for:? my main PDA (HTC Universal), my other PDA (Tapwave Zodiac), my cardo Bluetooth headset, my wife’s Treo, my wife’s PDA (Palm E2), my kid’s cellphone, my kids’ Nintendos, and on and on.? That’s a lot of plugs.? And all trailing on the floor to trip me up, seemingly.
Belkin makes a 6-place surge protector/power strip that is designed to clamp onto the side of your desk, table, or what have you.? It’s basic specs:
10 foot (3 m) cord
885 joules of surge protection
on/off switch with power indicator
clamp to hold the sucker onto the surface
No fancy unboxing photos; the Belkin just comes in an ordinary box.
The first thing I noticed about the Belkin was the cord; maybe I have low expectations, but 10 feet seems like a lot of cord to me.? I was quite pleasantly surprised.
The other thing I noticed was the designers were smart enough to recognize that, these days, a lot of devices have AC adapters as part of their plugs, which means they take up more horizontal space.? Belkin has compensated by having two of their plugs separated by a reasonable amount of width from the other four.
Personally, in my house, it would be nice to have four plugs with lots of space around them, and two be close together, but I’m happy to even have it as good as this; most of the less-expensive power-strips you get in stores have them all crammed together as it is.
The back of the Belkin has a clamp to hold it onto your table, chair leg, or what have you.
It’s easy to use; you just slide it onto whatever you want to clamp it onto, and it holds itself there.? To release it, there’s a big red button labelled (wow!) “Release,” which opens the hinge on which the clamp sits.? Very easy.? My only objection is that, as the entire thing is made out of fairly light-weight plastic, the clamp does not hold all that firmly to the desk (my desk is a standard laminate 1″ thick surface).? I honestly wouldn’t feel very comfortable clamping the Belkin the side or bottom of something, as is depicted on the box; I just don’t think it would hold firmly enough.? I also would be extremely cautious in letting a heavy power adapter such as a laptop AC adapter “hang” from it; you would do well to let the weight of the adapter rest on the floor.? Which is of course a good idea in any case, but still . . .
I have had the Belkin clamped to the side of my desk for a few days now, happily running my spare laptop, my Tapwave Zodiac, my Cowon A2, and whatever else I happen to need at the time.
I have to say, it’s been a real pleasure not to have to bend over or go diving under my desk or otherwise contort myself whenever I need to plug in something new.? Overall, I’ve been quite happy with the Belkin, and I can recommend it.
But what do I really think?? I’m probably going to order some more, is the real bottom line.
The Belkin Clamp-On Surge Protector is available directly from the manufacturer as well as from other retailers.
What I Like: Good overall design, keeps plugs off the floor and out of the way, saves wear and tear on my middle-aged back
What Needs Improvement: The clamp is not as sturdy as I would like