As an increasing number of knowledge workers turn to lives of perpetual travel, companies have begun to respond to the shifting market with new products designed specifically for them. AppleInsider took a look at two of these: OneAdaptr's Twist Plus and Nimbus's USB LED lamp.
OneAdaptr Twist Plus
The premise behind OneAdaptr's Twist Plus is pretty straightforward: give globetrotting Mac owners one product that replaces all of their USB chargers and outlet adapters. The solution — Â a cylindrical adapter head that piggybacks on Apple's charger — Â works quite well.
It's about the same size as most other world travel adapters, but uses a clever twisting mechanism to choose a plug. Depressing a small button and twisting the selector ring will cycle through the various options, with mechanical stops to hold the ring in place for each one.
Aside from the novel mechanism, the Twist Plus's major selling point is the small slot that lets it slide into a MacBook power adapter. OneAdaptr isn't the first company to come up with this idea, but the Twist Plus is the most well-executed take.
Because of the piggyback design, the Twist Plus leverages the Apple adapter to act as a wedge against the wall — Â this means it won't fall out in old, weakened sockets. Anyone who's ever had to prop their charger up with a shoe in a well-worn coworking space will appreciate it, as we did recently in Kuala Lumpur.
In addition to packing all the plugs you need into a single package, the Twist Plus also adds four USB charging ports. This was actually our favorite feature during a recent multi-week trip through Southeast Asia — Â we were able to charge our own MacBook Pro, iPhone and iPad and still share juice from the lone unobstructed outlet in the airport with our traveling companions.
We should note that the maximum 4-amp 20-watt unit built into the Twist Plus won't charge your iPad as fast as some other chargers if you're feeding power to multiple devices, but that's a tradeoff worth making.
If you're constantly on the move and routinely flit between countries with mismatched outlets, the Twist Plus is a more than worthy addition to your gear bag. It's a little heavy, but anyone who already carries an international adapter or three will find the net effect of discarding their other adapters actually lightens the load.
Score: 3.5 out of 5
Where to Buy
Nimbus USB LED Lamp
If you've ever found yourself trying to work in a hotel room or AirBnB rental whose desk lamp would be more properly labeled mood lighting, you've probably considered buying a portable light of some kind. This is where Nimbus comes in with their USB-powered LED lamp.
The small, plastic lamp sports three high-intensity white LEDs in a J-shaped housing with an on-off button on the base. A small, extendable clip on the lower portion allows the Nimbus to attach to things from a MacBook display to a shelf, which we found handy.
The Nimbus ships with a 5.5-foot USB cord that is, unfortunately, not detachable. This is one circumstance where we wish we had the option to supply our own cord, since we weren't often far from our power source and the longer wire had a tendency to get in the way.
Overall, the Nimbus performs as advertised: it's an extremely bright, versatile light source that can be powered by a wall adapter — Â a small Apple-style version is included — Â or by nearly any other USB power source. On a backpacking trip, we managed to power the Nimbus with a MacBook Pro, a Xiaomi power bank, and even a small hand-cranked emergency power supply with a USB port.
If you're a person who needs a portable USB-powered LED lamp, you already know it — Â and you could certainly do worse than the Nimbus. It's much brighter than any other USB lamp we've used, and its small and light form factor makes it easy to toss in your bag. It's a little on the expensive side, but when it comes to LEDs you often get what you pay for.
Score: 4 out of 5
Where to Buy
The Nimbus USB LED lamp is available for $29.99 from BiteMyApple.