Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More Mediocre Than Extraordinary, The DLO Power Bug Is A Simple Device.

The Good: Easy to clean, Easy to use, Durable
The Bad: Not grounded, Expensive, No surge protection.
The Basics: If you're shelling out for an iPod and need a way to recharge it on the road, the DLO PowerBug offers an unfortunately risky way to do it.

Because of my wonderfully weird aunt, my house is currently rolling in the iPod products. The latest free acquisition which has arrived on our doorstep was a pretty cool 16 GB iPod Nano (click here for my review!) which has since gotten a decent amount of mileage around the house as my mother, brother, wife and I all find reasons to play on it at various times. With so many of us using it, the battery has gotten appropriately taxed, but we were fortunate (or so we thought) because my aunt shipped with the iPod a DLO PowerBug with the iPod Nano.

Usually, one may easily recharge an iPod by connecting it to a computer through a USB Port with the Apple connector for iPods (click here for that review!), which comes with each and every iPod. That connector is a very specific device because of the unique port on iPods, but it does connect to a USB port (the U stands for universal and it is truly a worldwide port type). The Digital Life Outfitters PowerBug (DLO29983) Charger is just the plug which connects into the iPod Connector and a wall socket (American) electrical outlet. Yes, the DLO29983 is intended specifically for the recharging of iPod products, but it doesn't even come with the connector to bridge the power supply with the iPod. This, however, does come in handy when one is using one's USB ports on their PC or laptop for other purposes and one still wants to charge their iPod or when one it traveling with the iPod.

The DLO PowerBug Charger is a 2 1/2" tall by 2" wide by 1 1/2" thick plug which is like shaped generally like an egg, but then split lengthwise. The flat side has the actual plug prongs and the round side, which faces the user, has a light to indicate when the PowerBug is connected to a power supply. The little green light is bright enough to be visible in virtually all levels of lighting and it is a nice way to assure users that it is working. After draining the iPod Nano to the point where it came up continually with warnings, it took six hours to recharge the battery to full capacity using the DLO29983 Charger.

To protect the PowerBug, the two-pronged plug on the PowerBug folds into the unit. When flat in the slots in the backside, the prongs are protected and unbendable. Also, because we've been using this in the common kitchen, I discovered that the DLO Powerbug's plastic casing is very easy to clean. If one were to, for example, spill soda on the face of this, it would wipe off easily with a damp cloth.

Unfortunately, the care that DLO puts into protecting the PowerBug is not put into protecting the iPod product one might connect the PowerBug to. Instead, users are recharging their expensive technological toy with an ungrounded recharger. I had a real scare when we lost power here, but I managed to unplug the PowerBug before the power came back on and surged through the socket. This was unsettling for me, but it is also an unacceptable risk for those who cannot be around (or awake) while one is recharging using the PowerBug. It makes the device far less practical when one has to carry a surge suppresser with the DLO29983 in order to actually protect their iPod products.

Ultimately, when I learned that people are compelled usually to pay $25.00 for this simple, ungrounded charger, it became absolutely impossible for me to recommend it. Anyone who relies upon their iPod for entertainment will want to protect their hardware much better than this offers.

For other iPod products, please check out my reviews of:
iPad (64 GB)
iPod Touch
iPod Shuffle


For other electronics reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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