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Macally USB Power Wall & Car Adapter

Thu Dec 20, 2007 - 9:14 AM EST - By Andre Kibbe


Some people define “power users” as those who operate their devices with exceptional proficiency. For Treos, at least, I define power users as those who tax their device’s power resources with exceptional operation. They use the Treo as their default MP3 player, voice recorder, Web browser, portable game system, and email solution—all on a single charge. Road warriors relying on persistent IMAP IDLE connections for push email rapidly push battery life to the limit. Rotating batteries, even the extended high-capacity versions, doesn’t necessarily cut it.

The same road warriors also have to contend with the idiosyncrasies of power sources around the globe. Finding the right plug for a unique outlet is something that should be done before, not when, it’s needed. Visiting the same one or two countries on a regular basis probably won’t present any unpleasant surprises, but business travelers who don’t know from one day to the next whether they’ll be in Marseilles or Manila need to get really need to get their ducks in a row.

Macally’s USB Power Wall and Car Adapter is essentially a one-stop shop for mobile power. The car adapter, needless to say, charges your device—Treo, Centro or iPod—while driving. The wall adapter features interchangeable plugs for use here in the USA and abroad.

What’s Included

This kit is simple, but comprehensive for its purpose. The two core components are the cigarette lighter power adapter, and the wall plug adapter. A carrying pouch for travel use is also included. The complete set inside the pouch takes up very little space: roughly a 5” x 5” x 5” cubic volume.

Both units output to a USB cable. (USB cable NOT included) The cigarette adapter has an LED to verify a consistent charge (not something you want to assume—inadvertently failing to push the adapter in all the way it is very easy to do).

The wall charger is a well-designed, solid construction, with a female connector on one end to accommodate one of the four included male-to-male plugs. One of the plugs is a standard 2-prong NEMA 5-15 straight-blade plug for US outlets. The other three plugs are for international use, supporting 100-240VAC input in over 150 countries.

In Use

On seeing the components, the operation is fairly self-evident. The interchangeable plug snaps into the wall adapter, and is unlocked by the quick-release button on the opposite corner of the same edge. The connection is very secure, leaving a good impression about the product’s overall quality (which, at $29.95, should be expected). Being landlocked in Los Angeles, I wasn’t able to try the international plugs, but they connect exactly like the standard plug I used without incident.

There’s not much not to like about the units, with one exception. It does not include the USB cable. Though the adapters are fully compatible with the Treo and the Centro, Macally markets the product by appending “for iPod & iPhone” to the product name on the box. I would at least expect to see a USB cable for the 30-pin iPod/iPhone connector included. For car use, I’ve been using my Seidio 8” Sync & Charge Cable, which I carry anyway, for use with my laptop.


The Macally adapter set is a bit much for those who don’t travel internationally. If you don’t need the extra plugs, many car adapters are sold separately at two-thirds of the price (such as Mobi Products’ DoubleTalk, the TreoCentral Store’s highest-rated dual vehicle and travel charger for domestic use). But this is a very complete solution for business travelers, for whom acquiring adapters in a piecemeal fashion invites the risk of being caught without power, and access to the appropriate power source, at the worst possible time.

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Design 5
Features 4
Usability 5
Cost/Benefit 4
(not an average)
  • Built-in circuit protection
  • Very secure connections
  • Charges iPods as well as Treos
  • Cons
  • Cost is a little on the high side
  • Lacks device-specific USB cables (e.g. for Treo)

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