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Product Review: Kensington Travel Plug Adapter with USB Charger

Going strictly by its function, the Travel Plug Adapter ($39.99) is nothing new nor special–there are dozens of plugs out there to let you use your electric shaver overseas. But what Kensington’s product has going for it is its elegant design, which takes all those different plugs and puts them into one unit. Inside the small plastic canister are four different plug types that slide out, making this adapter compatible with outlets in more than 150 countries, according to the literature. (Italy is one of them, as I found out on my Roman holiday a few weeks ago.) The different plugs all slide in and out with a minimum of fuss, and you don’t have to go rooting around your suitcase for all those adapters.

What also makes the Kensington device stand out is that the female input (where you would plug your shaver or hair dryer) can be swapped with a USB port for recharging your iPod or digital camera, which definitely comes in handy after a 7-hour flight and a few days of sightseeing. Come to think of it, I should have remembered to lend this device to Mark when he went off to Davos.

The one caveat is that the adapter doesn’t convert voltage (except with the USB attachment), so remember, just because the plug fits, doesn’t mean you can use it.