Electronic devices — whether mobile or used in the home — they all need power to function. And even if they run off a battery, at one time or another a cable will have to be attached to them at one end, with the other going to a power source, be it an AC outlet or a USB socket. Having lots of wires on the floor opens up all kinds of problems: simple “disasters” like tripping over and pulling out a plug (while consequently damaging the outlet the cable was plugged into), causing the mobile device to hit something or, at the very worst, causing an electrical issue. None of this even brings up the potential issues that can occur if small children or pets get involved. Add to all this just how ugly wiring lying on the floor looks and Art of Power’s TOWER suddenly seems even more attractive than it is.
Okay, it DOES look a bit like a scaled down parking meter. But don’t let the shape fool you into thinking it’s just another pretty face, even if its off-white lets it match pretty much any decor. At around 3′+ tall, the TOWER free stands anywhere you want, what with its weighted base to keep it from tipping over and a 6 foot shielded AC cable looking for a nearby outlet. Right off the bat one can see the attention to sensible detail that the TOWER brings; the plug is a flat, right angled one that means it can go into that nasty outlet hidden behind a bookcase or otherwise short of the space needed by a conventional plug. Once in, the TOWER is now ready to take those power cables you have off the floor and condense them into a single and controllable area. At the top is found 4 AC outlets and 2 USB sockets, all aligned in a row for easy insertion. Surge protection, right. EMI and RFI noise filtering, sure. A resettable 15amp circuit breaker (1875 watts) watching over everything, correct.
So here’s my situation that the TOWER will fix: my Mac Pro is under a table (as I’m in a relocated temporary place), with attached USB cables for my iPad, iPhone and “point n shoot” digital camera. Most of the time I’m just connecting for power — not worrying about syncing — and that means getting on my knees to grope for a cable, connect it, place the device on the floor and then move away. And while I am fairly careful, I do know that one of these day’s Murphy’s Law is going to take over and I’ll either kick a device against the computer and dent it, or accidentally step on it with disastrous results.
So I placed the TOWER next to the wall nearby but first attached the mobile device cradle to one side using a simple series of “catching” hooks. The cradle provides a secure holding station for my iPad, with a second section geared for smartphone use, so I placed my iPhone 5 (still in its protective case) in this area. I then attached USB cables to both mobile devices and plugged them into the USB sockets. This was followed by my connecting the power cable from the Mac Pro (turned off first) into one of the AC outlets, and the inkjet printer that was on a table nearby got its plug placed into the TOWER too. I toggled the “On” switch and saw both mobile devices light up, even as the two blue LED lights on the TOWER’s front showed me that there was both surge protection and grounding protection both active.
Having used the TOWER, I’ve been a lot more comfortable compared to plugging all of these cords into the wall outlet. Also less nervous as to when the next power outage occurs (6 having occurred over the last 3 months, ranging from a split second to a few minutes). It’s the momentary surges that you have to worry about as these cause a “wave” like effect that blasts the electronics with a burst of electrical energy that can cause damage, even if it’s not noticeable until a lot of time has passed.
Bottom line: The TOWER performs a task that has often been relegated to a $6.00 extension cord but does it with a security that no drugstore cord can match. Its physical appearance makes for an attractive alternative to ugly cables on the floor, combined with sophisticated technology and design. Spending $99.00 for a “power cord” only sound silly to one who hasn’t seen the TOWER — those who have will find it useful, practical and a boon for backs which would prefer not to have to bend down all the time.
Right angle grounded plug, Resettable 15A circuit breaker (1875 watts)
No syncing pass-through
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.