Allocacoc PowerCube - the humble powerstrip reinvented
Is it possible to review a simple power strip? Until we came across the marketing pitch for the Dutch-designed PowerCube family of products we’d have said not but the company behind, Allocacoc it, claims to have taken an everyday object nobody thinks twice about and improved it in important ways without dramatically increasing the price.
But what’s wrong with the humble power strip currently in use by the billion across the world? Quite a lot it turns out.
Problem number one is the basic strip design copied by almost every company that makes such products was conceived at a time when there was basically one type of plug on the end of a lead. With the invention of fax machines, printers, DECT phones, laptops, mobile and tablet chargers, suddenly plugs started turning up in a variety of sizes and designs that have an annoying tendency to overlap and obstruct one another when plugged into a conventional strip.
PowerCube solves this by using a cube configuration where four of the six faces present dedicated power outlets (US, Europe and the UK being available). The fifth face offers two 2.1A USB charging sockets while the sixth connects to the 1.5m mains power cord. In use, this design works well – it is impossible for plugs to interfere with one another.
A second issue with strips is that adding more sockets means buying a second or much larger strip. The PowerCube design allows extra cubes to be daisy-chained up to a maximum of 3,500 Watts load.
In the process of studying this design, a third advantage struck us – the PowerCube takes us less space than a flat power strip and can also be anchored to tables (or the underside of tables) using a supplied plastic dock. The space-saving is surprising, occupying roughly a quarter of the length and less than half the overall volume of a conventional strip. If a second cube is used to extend the first, the space savings become proportionally greater still.
The PowerCube comes in a range of configurations which can be viewed on the firm’s website. Build quality was much higher is normal for this type of device - this strip should last for years.
The PowerCube doesn’t have any surge suppression, which might bother some people. My personal experience has been that this technology doesn’t work as well as advertised anyway and so isn’t worth paying extra for.
The only two small criticisms we’d make of the PowerCube is that it doesn’t have a power button or LED, which can be handy in some situations. It’s also more expensive than a conventional strip – about £18 - although it’s probably fairer to compare it with the more expensive branded strips from firms such as Belkin (£10-£12) than the £5 strips sold in any supermarket.
But if you want a solid, well-constructed space-saving power strip that will power devices without plugs interfering with one another, this is the best option out there.
The best power strip out there. It doesn't have surge protection and is a bit expensive but for everyday use this is a brilliant improvement on a basic concept that has been in line for a rethink.