You won’t find a late model car without a USB socket these days. But what you WILL find all too often is a cheap looking USB plug stuck in that socket. Why the mentality that enjoys having a luxurious or modern or stylistic car interior with a junky USB sticking out like a sore thumb? Because there hasn’t been Belkin’s Car Power Valet till now.
The Valet is designed to do the one thing it’s asked to do well — charge your mobile device while in your car — but it understands that esthetics are just as important. So instead of cheap plastic, it’s made from durable and sleek looking aluminum. And by “sleek,” it means exactly that — the Valet oozes class and if stared at, it stares right back because it ain’t embarrassed one bit.
To use it, you grasp and insert the obvious end into the USB socket (sometimes called the USB hub/port and once called the cigarette lighter ), with the two USB ports on the opposite end now ready for business. There’s a total of 4.8amps working, which translates into the power needed for an iPhone (1.2amps) and an iPad (2.4amps) — each getting what power it needs to charge as fast and efficiently as possible. And if you want to plug in two iPads, go ahead no problem. There’s a smart chip working inside that, in conjunction with the Lightning cable (included) registers what kind of mobile device is connected and so pushes out the power that’s needed for charging. Obviously there has to be protections built-in to protect against over current and excess voltage being given its freedom. So there is.
Now for a bit more about that Lightning cable. It’s braided so that it can handle wear and tear, but it’s also made to continue the attractive look started with the Valet. Otherwise it would be kind of like having a luxury refrigerator filled with rotting food. The cable is 4 feet long, a good amount for use inside a car, and the cable’s “head” (the lightning connector) can be placed against the dashboard, thanks to a dash magnet included that holds both to the dashboard and to the cable. This helps to keep the Lightning cable in sight but even more importantly, from flopping around — being both unaesthetic to the eye as well as a potential source of danger to the driver.
So now it’s time to park the car to go into the restaurant, or the parking lot for the day or home for the night — regardless, when you’re not in the car it’s become second nature to remove anything that isn’t built into the interior and which can attract unwanted attention (i.e., cause the car to get broken into to steal). But after all this attention to detail that Belkin put in, they sure don’t want you to throw the Valet into a glove compartment or dirty trunk or push it under the seat without wrapping it in something first. So that “something” becomes an included leather case which not only protects but looks good while doing so.
As should be obvious by now, the Car Power Valet is designed for and certified to work with Apple devices (iPhone, iPad and yes even an iPod). Shaped a bit like a torpedo, it retails for $79.99.