Eggtronic HUB-IT Review: The Humble Charger Goes Social


 

When you think device charging, you generally don’t think of it being a big social experience. Sure there are those times where you share a charger or charging station with a random stranger, but it’s usually a pretty low key and common thing everyone who owns a device does at some point. On the other hand, Eggtronic’s HUB-IT Sync & Charge Station practically demands to be shared with up to seven other people just about anywhere for a few reasons. It’s larger than a pocket charger, meaning you’ll deliberately be carrying it around to get attention and its unique cartridge based connectors allow for charging everything from iOS and Android devices to handheld gaming systems such as the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS. Up to 10,000 devices are currently supported, so there’s a very good chance what you have in that pocket or bag can indeed be charged up quickly.

HUB_IT_devices_1 (Custom) 

What makes the HUB-IT wonderful is overall ease of use. The base unit costs $79.99 and comes with a mini-USB connector, micro-USB connector, 30-pin connector and a lightning cable connector. If you’re a fan of other devices, you’ll need to pick up additional connector cartridges for $7.99 from Eggtronic’s online shop or one of the other locations HUB-IT is sold at. Out of the box it takes only a few seconds to set up, plop onto a table and get charging. As noted, if you whip this thing out in a public space, the stylish design (by Eggtronic founder, CEO and former Maserati designer Igor Spinella), glossy black finish and super light weight of the charger will get people noticing and yes, walking up to ask what exactly that cool-looking thing plugged into your laptop is.

open_cover_4 (Custom) 

Changing connectors is also fast and easy. The case cover pops off and you pop new connectors into the slots by lining them up and pressing them into place. A delicate touch is required here, as the metal pins on the bottom of each connector can be bent if one is careless. If you have young kids at home who want to charge their devices, I’d highly recommend an adult do the setup and connector changing stuff. Each connector has a short retractable cable that insures you don’t have tangling issues with multiple devices. The caveat here is at 7 1/2 inches, some users may find the concept of “personal space” an issue. Then again, the social element of HUB-IT makes for some fun moments when some stranger slides up when they see a device or a few plugged in and asks if he or she could fit their phone or other tech into your grouping.

Some light specs for you spec-heads:

– USB 3.0 specification Compliant
– Battery charging 1.2 standard compliant device fast charge
– Auto-Detection upgradable firmware
– Plug-and-Play installation
– Hot swappable
– Customization and upgrade slots 20W output power

Connections:
– 3 x USB 3.0/ 2.0 / 1.1 Compatible Ports
– 4 x USB 3.0 / 2.0 / 1.1 Slots
– 5 x Power Cartridges Expansion Slots

open_cover_5 (Custom) 

At the very least, you’ll get enough people poking themselves and their devices at you that you might help sell someone on snapping their own HUB-IT up. it would have been nice to have some sort of carrying case included, as the shiny finish is quite prone to fingerprints and smudging. But that’s what cleaning cloths are for, right? Also, currently, the HUB-IT doesn’t store charges like smaller pocket chargers. While this isn’t a bad thing, it might be nice to see a cartridge update that allows for a single charge (or more) to be stored and used in an emergency situation where a user might not have access to a power supply.

replace_cartridge_2 (Custom) 

Charging time varies per device, but the fewer you have plugged in, the less time it takes. If a device just needs a top-up charge, you’ll see some speedy times thanks to the hardworking USB 3.0 ports. Devices that are completely out of juice will take longer, of course. But it was noted that some devices gained partial charges in slightly less times than with OEM chargers. Your mileage will vary, of course. Overall, if you’re someone in need of a highly useful instant conversation piece, you can absolutely use a HUB-IT in your life. Just pack a cleaning cloth and maybe pick up a small cloth bag so you can carry it around with the rest of your gear so you can put on a little magic show when you’re out and about and want to make some new temporary friends. Sharing the power is a great thing indeed and Eggtronic has whipped up a simple, stylish and just plain neat new item worth picking up.

-Greg Wilcox

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