August 30, 2016

POAO Multi-Port USB Charger

Surprisingly solid build quality and a generous 8 ports make this an effective charging station for all your devices, despite the unnecessary screen

I live in an apartment with far too few outlets. Over the years, I have gotten better at working around this with increasingly ridiculous chains of power bars and splitters. It’s gross.

Anything that can help me get the most out of my precious few outlets is a godsend. Enter the POAO Multi-Port USB Charging station.

Like most products of this sort, it automatically detects the optimal current required for any device you plug in and charges it accordingly. It doesn’t offer Qualcomm Quick Charge or anything fancy like that, just 8 identical ports for normal-speed charging. Unlike most of its peers, however, the POAO has a screen designed to show you the charging status of everything that’s plugged in.

The screen is basically useless. Each device tends to report charge level anyway, and the screen has the added disadvantage of being unpredictable. It lights up when you plug something in, which makes sense, but it also spontaneously comes to life mid-charge for no discernible reason. This would be little more than a quirk if the screen wasn’t so bright—there’s no way I could use this in a bedroom.

Thankfully, I had need of it in my office instead, where it has allowed me to free up no fewer than four outlets on my power bar! Best of all, I still have room for more gadgets.

One thing that surprised me is how well built the thing is. It’s not exactly small, but I don’t mind it since I already have a portable USB charger for travel. In fact, one of my favourite aspects is the presence of a long cord, making it easy to plug it into a distant outlet (sigh) and still be able to place the unit itself where I need it. The POAO feels like it could take a beating, and while I’m not the biggest fan of its pearly white colouring, it’s sitting out of view under my desk so it doesn’t really matter what it looks like.

What matters is this: I’ve reduced cable clutter in my workspace, freed up a bunch of outlets, and spent less than $30 doing it.

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