Belkin Conserve Valet Saves Power, Reduces Charger Clutter

Leaving a charger plugged in to the wall for your mobile phone can seem convenient, but it has two disadvantages: you can end up with a bunch of chargers lying around and looking tangled and ugly, and your chargers will draw a small amount power even when there's nothing connected. Belkin's Conserve Valet charger station is a neat way to solve both problems.

The Conserve is a charging station with four USB ports, so you can connect and charge any four devices which can connect to a USB cable. (It comes with one mini- and one micro-USB cable in the box; you should also be able to use your supplied phone sync cable for charging.) You can wrap cables around the central column to avoid excess and stop them tangling with each other. One USB port is on the side for easy access if you want to connect a single device in a hurry.

When your device is attached, you press the green button at the top to activate it. Once every attached device is fully charged, it shuts down automatically, and draws zero power when not in use.

My only minor criticism is that the indicator light for when it is active could be a bit brighter. Belkin says this was a conscious design decision to fit in with the low-power ethos of the unit, but in a brightly-lit office, it can be hard to tell whether it's operating or not. However, that's a fairly small quibble.

The Conserve Valet is $49.95, and definitely worth looking into if you charge a lot of devices regularly. Given how many test phones pass through Lifehacker HQ, it has proved itself as an essential pretty quickly.


Comments

    Basically it's a 4 port Powered USB Hub with an on/off switch.

    Unless that button is a Physical switch from the mains, it is not possible for it to be able to use "zero power when not in use." It's the nature of a switch mode power supply to use a little power on stand by. But as you state, it uses only 1 v's 4, so it is a 75% stand by power saver... (if it replaces 4 charges.)

    Without having used the unit, I think I'd prefer the dim indicator light. I'm sick of my devices that use those ultra-bright blue LEDs, such as my desktop PC's power lights, the charging cable of my ladyfriend's laptop (which stays lit when it's not plugged into the laptop), my USB-powered laptop cooler, an unpowered USB hub, etc.

    Okay, I'm going to be an arsehole with this comment, and not care about the "green" aspect, or the CO2 emissions that are potentially saved by a lower power drain.

    What does interest me is the cost-benefit. At $49.95 how long is it going to take me to recoup my initial outlay in reduced power bills? I'd be very curious to see some hard facts on how many kilowatt hours does a phone charger draw on an average day, and in turn, how much this device can actually save. Honestly, I suspect $50 can be far better spend elsewhere..

    Well, I did a bit of research...
    The Belkin product page actually claims that the product "automatically shuts off power—including standby power".

    That said, Nokia's website gives these figures for annual standby power consumption for their chargers:
    300 mW charger: 2527 Wh
    150 mW charger: 1264 Wh
    30 mW charger: 253 Wh

    Assuming you have the 300mW charger and you're on a 22 c/kWh plan, your standby power cost would be 55c/year.

    So, you would recover the purchase price of this thing in....*drum roll* 91 years...

    Add to that the fact that this is an additional thingy that has its own environmental footprint to produce...

    I think I'll just get a bigger power board to handle all my chargers :)

    I like this because of the ability to keep cables tidy. Anyone know of anything similar to help keep all my external hard drive cables tidy?

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