With a lot of anticipation, I recently purchased the Satechi Smart Travel Adapter with USB port. It is a travel plug adapter, router, wireless access point, repeater, and client all wrapped into one stylish package. Satechi is one of my favourite manufacturers and they produce some innovative gadgets.
For many years I’ve traveled with a pretty standard travel plug adapter that has two USB ports, however, it does not deliver enough power to charge a tablet or two devices at the one time. Enter the Satechi Smart Travel Adapter which does all of this, and more.
Here’s the good stuff:
- It works in over 150 different countries. These include the United States, Canada, Mexico, UK, EU, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and China. Since its rated at 100-240v and 50/60Hz it can be used almost everywhere. (Its important to note that it does not convert voltage or frequency though.)
- Charge two devices simultaneously. One by the AC power port and the other via a USB 5 volt 2.1A power port. What’s great about that is that voltage is enough to charge a tablet like an iPad directly from the USB port on the side. Many travel charger / adapters don’t supply enough power to charge a tablet and so you need to bring your charger adapter along as well. That adds to the total weight and amount of gear you have to pack.
- Four networking modes. It functions as a router, repeater, access point and client.
- Built in 6A fuse protection. Provides some degree of protection for your devices if you’re in a country with a dodgy electricity supply.
- Compatible with most smart phones and tablets. These include the iPhone/iPad/Samsung Galaxy series/Windows/Blackberry/Droid/LG and more.
The main reason I purchased the Satechi Travel Adapter (besides for its plug adapter) is to create my own wireless network from a hotel’s wired Ethernet connection, and as a repeater to make the Wi-Fi signal stronger. How that works is you connect the Satechi Travel Adapter to the Wi-Fi network in your hotel by accessing the adapter’s settings on a web page. Then you connect to the Wi-Fi network being broadcast by the Satechi Travel Adapter and it boosts what otherwise may have been a weak Wi-Fi signal in your room.
Also, in some hotels you have to pay per device connected to their Internet. Using a gadget like the Satechi Smart Travel Adapter you can turn one wired connection into a wireless connection that several people can share. Also, on occasions I’ve found whilst traveling that I’ve had problems with the Wi-Fi reception although the wired connection they provided in the room was fine. A device like this would enable me to keep working without disruption by plugging the wired connection into the Satechi Travel Adapter and creating my own Wi-Fi network. Using the Satechi Travel Adapter also means you can use your tablet somewhere that only has a LAN connection.
Like many travelers, I travel with several power hungry gadgets. Traditional plug adapters usually have one power outlet. The Satechi device has two with the second one being a 2 Amp USB port on the side of the adapter. This means you could charge two tablets at the same time. One in the AC power port, the other in the USB port.
In terms of design, I found that the operation of the unit is not totally intuitive. All of the prongs for the wall sockets fold back into the cube. Which I guess is great for when you pack your bags. In order to get them out you need to slide a lever on the side of the unit and then ‘push’ the lever down to get the prongs to pop out. Once you understand the process though its not difficult to do and I guess it does protect the prongs from being bent or accidentally snapped off in your luggage or broken if something was dropped on the unit.
The device itself weighs in at about 130 grams, which is about 40 grams more than the travel adapter charger that I normally carry with me. On the flip side it does things my normal travel adapter can’t and it replaces the need to carry other devices (like a Wi-Fi router) and also my higher powered iPad plug adapter for my tablet. (I can just take the cable and leave the plug adapter at home).
One shortcoming of the router is that it only supports Wi-Fi passwords that contain number and letters. Special characters are not supported.
Remember though that the travel adapter charger does not convert the electrical output, current or voltages. You’ll need a separate voltage transformer if you want to do that.
For frequent travelers the Satechi Travel Adapter is a great little device to pack with you. You can pick one up here at Amazon.com for around $49.99.
Here’s a link to the version of the Satechi Travel Adapter which doesn’t have the router at Amazon.com ($21.99).