For the tech-obsessed (and, increasingly, normal people), bedside tables, desks, and coffee tables are a hazardous jungle of electronic detritus. Smartphones, media players, game controllers, remote controls, portable gaming consoles, digital cameras, e-book readers, and more, plus cables, result in giant power strips and unattractive clutter.
Belkin's new Conserve Valet charging station provides a nice solution to that problem, at least for those gadgets that can be powered by USB (which, truthfully, is most of them). The Conserve Valet uses only one outlet, but can charge four (three ports in the back, one on the side) USB gadgets at once. You can wind cables around the inside to reduce clutter, and simply plop the gadget down on top of the Conserve Valet once you've plugged it in. So far, nothing too new or exciting, but nice enough.
What I really like about the Conserve Valet is the automatic shutdown feature. Once your gadgets are fully charged, the Conserve Valet completely shuts off, including standby power. It'll turn back on if you plug in a new device that needs to be charged, of course.
That's a great addition to a charging hub. Gadgets like smartphones need to be charged almost daily, but don't take more than a few hours to fully charge back up. If you plug your smartphone in before you go to bed, like most people, you'll be draining power long after it's necessary, which is a waste of energy and is actually lousy for your battery as well. I wish the Conserve Valet offered a normal AC adapter as well, since some gadgets (like, say the Nintendo DS or 3DS) don't charge via USB. But the price is fair, and it's a nice solution to both an energy and a clutter problem.