Updated. If, like me, you lost your original 10W iPad charger while travelling, don’t buy an official Apple replacement. Why? Because you can have a much better one for slightly
less more: The twelvesouth PlugBug.
The PlugBug is $34.95 at the online Apple Store, which is
5 cents cheaper about five dollars more than Apple’s official version at $35 $29, but it has a neat trick up its sleeve that makes it infinitely more valuable. I thought they looked very promising back when twelvesouth initially announced them, but after using one for a little while, it’s clear the PlugBug is actually indispensable.
Indispensable, that is, if you satisfy at least one of three criteria:
- You have a MacBook and an iPad.
- You have a MacBook and an iPhone, iPod touch or iPod.
- You have a MacBook and an iPad/iPhone/etc. and you travel a lot.
In any of those cases, you will be impressed with what the PlugBug can do, which is piggy-back on a MacBook power adapter (any variety) and provide both USB charging and MacBook power through a single outlet. It can also act as a standalone iPad/iPhone charger, too, and offers 10W so that your iPad will charge at full speed. Plus, if you happen to have an older MacBook that can’t put out the power necessary to charge an iPad, you can at least plug it in to the PlugBug attached to your power adapter.
I really appreciate it around the house, since you can pretty easily keep both cords wrapped around it and tuck into a corner outlet out of the way, providing power for any Mac notebook or iOS device on demand. But it truly shines when you’re packing for a trip: only one charger to keep track of and find space for, instead of two.
My only complaint is a minor aesthetic one: The PlugBug’s bright red finish is a little loud for my tastes, especially in a device that should really be mostly inconspicuous. But at least it’s more likely to catch my eye when I’m doing my final check of the hotel room before handing in my key.
Ed.: The $35 price for the Apple iPad 10W USB Power Adapter is in Canadian dollars. The correct price for the U.S. Apple Store is now provided.