Tools for digital nomads: OneAdaptr Twist Plus and Nimbus USB LED lamp reviews

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2015
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 --?a cylindrical adapter head that piggybacks on Apple's charger --?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 --?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 --?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.

Conclusion

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
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Where to Buy

The OneAdaptr Twist Plus is available for $49.99 directly from OneAdaptr or at resellers like BiteMyApple.

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 --?a small Apple-style version is included --?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.

Conclusion

If you're a person who needs a portable USB-powered LED lamp, you already know it --?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
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Where to Buy

The Nimbus USB LED lamp is available for $29.99 from BiteMyApple.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    shaminoshamino Posts: 412member

    I like the concept of the Twist Plus, but unfortunately, it does not have any grounded plugs.  Apple's power bricks support grounded cables (the metal post that the adapter clicks on is a ground post), but this adapter doesn't connect it.

     

    When I travel outside of the US, I normally use a universal grounded adapter like this one, or this one.  Or if I think I'm going to need to plug in several devices, I use a universal power strip like this one.  Most of the time, if my destination doesn't have US-style plugs, then it has European-style.  If I go to a country that uses other kinds of plugs, I can usually attach the Skross adapter to the power strip.

     

    If the Twist Plus had a grounded connector, then it might be a great convenience over what I'm doing today (especially if I only need my laptop and some USB devices), but without that, I'd rather travel with my normal US chargers and my existing adapters.

  • Reply 2 of 13
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    Any chance we'll get a universal power plug across nations at some point in the next 100 years?
  • Reply 3 of 13
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post



    Any chance we'll get a universal power plug across nations at some point in the next 100 years?



    Only if Apple sponsors the US Military and USA takes over the world and implements a standard!

  • Reply 4 of 13
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,329member
    in other words no

    Only if Apple sponsors the US Military and USA takes over the world and implements a standard!
  • Reply 5 of 13



    Do you honestly think that the rest of the world will convert everything to 110v AC?

    It seems to me that the US/Canada would be better off converting to 220v but the NIH cries (it is unAmercia innit) would drown out any moves.

     

    And there goes a squardon of Gloucester Old Spots flying overhead.

  • Reply 6 of 13
    irelandireland Posts: 17,571member
    solipsismy wrote: »
    Any chance we'll get a universal power plug across nations at some point in the next 100 years?

    25 years or less.

    Wireless power should be the universal adapter. And all things considered it will hopefully be everywhere within the next 25 years.
  • Reply 7 of 13
    formosaformosa Posts: 261member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post





    25 years or less.



    Wireless power should be the universal adapter. And all things considered it will hopefully be everywhere within the next 25 years.



    Just as Nikola Tesla described.

    http://www.teslasociety.com/tesla_tower.htm

    http://www.edn.com/design/power-management/4435266/Nikola-Tesla-and-Wireless-Power-future

     

    Seriously though, a universal wireless standard seems to be the only way to achieve worldwide commonality. I think all the legacy physical connectors and electrical standards are too entrenched by now to change on a world wide level.

     

    Honest question: has there been in history a country that switched to a different electrical standard, either physically or electrically?

  • Reply 8 of 13
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    Only if Apple sponsors the US Military and USA takes over the world and implements a standard!

    I was thinking the EU could agree on a single standard and the rest of the world eventually falls in line… except the US who can't figure the metric system unless referring to 2 Liter bottles of caffeinated sugar water.

    Do you honestly think that the rest of the world will convert everything to 110v AC?
    It seems to me that the US/Canada would be better off converting to 220v but the NIH cries (it is unAmercia innit) would drown out any moves.

    And there goes a squardon of Gloucester Old Spots flying overhead.

    Is there any benefit to higher or lower voltage for standard use? I sure perfect how getting zapped isn't as scary with 110V.

    ireland wrote: »
    25 years or less.

    Wireless power should be the universal adapter. And all things considered it will hopefully be everywhere within the next 25 years.

    We've had mass adoption of wireless power "just over the horizon" since Tesla. I don't see it. My reasoning is simple: If we we're so close to getting the entire power grid in a city to be wireless wouldn't there already be a great many number of wirelessly powered and charged products in our homes from the outlet to the device, like the iPad or iPhone always being charged whilst in the home?

    formosa wrote: »
    Honest question: has there been in history a country that switched to a different electrical standard, either physically or electrically?

    That is a much better question than I asked. Points.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post



    Is there any benefit to higher or lower voltage for standard use? I sure perfect how getting zapped isn't as scary with 110V.

     

    Electric tea kettles work a hell of a lot better on 220. 

  • Reply 10 of 13
    jm6032jm6032 Posts: 147member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post



    Any chance we'll get a universal power plug across nations at some point in the next 100 years?

    Not likely. If we're discussing wired power, keep in mind that in the USA we use 110V/60Hz power in our homes. The real problem here is the 60Hz frequency. The frequency of the voltage affects the size of transformers. Converting to 50Hz (Europe) would require changing a lot about the amount of current all our transformers could handle.

     

    Conversely, in Europe the wiring is designed for 220V at 50Hz. This means all the wires there are smaller guage because to get the same power at the wall outlet requires less current and smaller wires.

     

    One could discuss a common plug that would plug into a wall socket anywhere in the world. This puts a burden on everyone that designs equipment that draws power from a wall socket. Everything would have to work with whatever voltage and frequency that particular socket was providing. Luckily, all the Apple power bricks I have will take 120/220 volts at 50/60 Hz. Just one plug adapter and I could charge my iPhone and iPad anywhere I went in Europe this summer.

     

    The other comments about wireless power are interesting. This would allow numerous ways of power conversion at the end point. However, knowing that many people don't want to live near our 60Hz power distribution lines in fear of radiation I would expect this notion to have a very dificult time proceeding.

  • Reply 11 of 13
    formosaformosa Posts: 261member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jm6032 View Post

     

    Not likely. If we're discussing wired power, keep in mind that in the USA we use 110V/60Hz power in our homes. The real problem here is the 60Hz frequency. The frequency of the voltage affects the size of transformers. Converting to 50Hz (Europe) would require changing a lot about the amount of current all our transformers could handle.

     

    Conversely, in Europe the wiring is designed for 220V at 50Hz. This means all the wires there are smaller guage because to get the same power at the wall outlet requires less current and smaller wires.

     

    One could discuss a common plug that would plug into a wall socket anywhere in the world. This puts a burden on everyone that designs equipment that draws power from a wall socket. Everything would have to work with whatever voltage and frequency that particular socket was providing. Luckily, all the Apple power bricks I have will take 120/220 volts at 50/60 Hz. Just one plug adapter and I could charge my iPhone and iPad anywhere I went in Europe this summer.

     

    The other comments about wireless power are interesting. This would allow numerous ways of power conversion at the end point. However, knowing that many people don't want to live near our 60Hz power distribution lines in fear of radiation I would expect this notion to have a very dificult time proceeding.




    I'm old enough to remember that clocks and other devices (early VCRs and TVs) in the distant past actually used the 60 Hz frequency as a timebase. I think that dependency is now long gone.

     

    For wireless power, 60 Hz would be useless for wide area coverage, so a (much) higher frequency or "carrier" would be needed. Then that opens the discussion as to what frequency is healthy, as you pointed out. Remember the health scare of cell phone radiation in the 90's? That created the "SAR" rating, to which all cellphone adhere today (cellphones typically transmit less than 1 Watt). And wireless power would need to be an even higher power signal to be meaningful in the home. Think about wirelessly powering your home appliances...

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_absorption_rate 

  • Reply 12 of 13
    Back to the reviewed device.... The four USB ports combined provide only 20 watts. That's fine for iPhones but pathetically anemic for iPads. I'll stick with my international PlugBug for now.
  • Reply 13 of 13

    I really really like the Nimbus USB LED Lamp, just to have a little light when I'm not allowed to turn on the big lights in the bedroom. It's a bit expensive but a like the bright lights though. I do like my big lights for everything else ;)http://www.rietveldlicht.nl/artikel/vloerlamp-51170-modern-kunststof-metaal-staal_-_rvs-wit-rond )

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