The power board is a modern necessity, you`ll struggle to find any household that doesn`t have at least one. In my case, I use an enormous 10 port board; it powers all my gadgets, but hardly with visual graceful and at times practicality. Some of my older devices, devices that require an adapter or even devices with a right angle plug have a tendency to block the neighboring port. In addition, it`s not easy on the eye nor the back when you have to navigate the wire jungle to find an available port. That`s where the Powercube comes in. It`s an innovative take on the conventional power board, rather than having parallel ports, each face on its cuboid body has its own port, keeping things well separated and meticulously organized.
Most buyers will use a power board with an attitude along the lines of “it gets the job done”. Allocacoc argues that a power board can be a design statement instead, promising to remedy this modern day affliction. Well presenting and handy, the Powercube might have a place in more homes than you would think. Can the Powercube be more than just a power board? Let`s find out.
I would like to thank Amber from Edifier very much for sending me the Powercube in exchange for my honest opinion. There is no monetary incentive for a positive review, I will be as objective as possible and provide an honest evaluation of the product.
The Powercube is nicely packaged for a household gadget. A frosted plastic box displays the Powercube at the top with the main features on the sides and back.
It would have been nice for Allocacoc to colour match the render on the box with the Powercube but it does add some contrast to the appearance. The Powercube slides out from the top with the cable coiled just beneath.
The card box that encases the cable doubles as a manual somewhat like Xiaomi Pistons earphones, a nice touch.
Allocacoc provide a bracket and two adhesive tabs to mount the Powercube in a convenient location. There`s also a cable router built around the cable itself that can be nailed or stuck to a neighboring surface to keep the whole setup looking organized.
Design & Usage –
Allocacoc actually offer quite a few Powercube derivatives, the model I`m testing is the Powercube Extended which is a cabled version of the original Powercube (plugs directly into the outlet). There`s not much to say about the design and that can probably be taken as a positive.
The Powercube, as its name would suggest, consists of a cuboid body and a 1.5m power cable that allows the cube to be placed in a convenient location. Five of its faces house power ports with the cable protruding from the rear. The Powercube+ sacrifices one of these ports for two 2.4A USB ports. The design is clean and practical, the corners are rounded off for ergonomics and everything feels perfectly molded with no rough edges. The Powercube is offered in a variety of colours, the body is always white but the ports and highlights can be changed to the buyer`s preference. Allocacoc boast that this design is 70% more space efficient than a traditional power board, an easily justified claim. The Powercube is absolutely dwarfed by my 10 port board and is a lot smaller than a standard 5 port power board. The more clutter conscious will definitely appreciate this and average buyers are sure to notice a substantial difference too.
But apart from the basic shape, the Powercube is otherwise well built. The cable is thick and well relieved, the plastic body is similarly sturdy, feeling a few steps above the traditional powerboard, of course it is also more expensive. Perhaps Allocacoc could have fit a sixth port in if they moved the cable to a corner, but this design was likely due to size constraints of the cube itself. It`s worth noting that the Powercube is surge protected and has a fuse that can be reset from the rear. The Powercube will accept up to 10A, from a 240v outlet that equates to around 2400W, which is more than enough for any usage. For audio conscious buyers, it would be interesting if Allocacoc offer a filtered Powercube as there was still some buzzing with my active Subwoofer.
Using the included mounting bracket covers one of the ports but allows you to hang the Powercube either out of sight or in a convenient spot. It connects to the Powercube through a basic two prong clip mechanism that firmly holds the cube but can be easily removed should you need access to that extra port. The clip twists 90 degrees to lock and over the few weeks I tested the device, not once did the cube drop from my desk, the adhesive and mounting mechanism are well considered.
Gratuitous before shot
In actual daily usage, having the Powercube around has been more practical than I would assume. There`s something satisfying about the lack of cable clutter and the ability to plug-in bulky adapters anywhere on the cube without blocking neighboring ports. Even when all 5 faces are occupied, the look isn`t something I would call unappealing, it`s more of a power plug katamari which is amusing in its own right. The Powercube is touted to be 70% smaller than a regular board, but in reality, it feels and looks about 10x more compact. In usage this downsizing seems to be the Powercube`s crowning achievement.
After – much better!
One could also argue that the Powercube reduces trip hazards, I can see potential applications for the elderly or clumsy such as myself. Too often have I tripped over a cable, sending my phone cartwheeling across the room; the ability to keep the Powercube close to my desktop keeps cable slack off the ground and my phone out of harms way. But apart from de-cluttering, the Powercube doesn`t offer many functional advantages over a conventional power board. There`s no switches to power off individual ports, nor are there any other filtering mechanisms for sensitive audio equipment. The USB model is surely more appealing and the Powercube is definitely more of a convenience/visual package.
In fact, as far as functionality is concerned, there are certain applications where the Powercube is actually less practical than a standard power board. A fitting example includes powering appliances, since the Powercube sends all of the cables in different directions. For instance I like to have my phone charger and fan directed towards my bed for easy access. With the Powercube, only one of them can face towards my bed, the other is angled away, placing strain on the cable and looking a little messy. It also doesn`t work awfully well on the ground since one of the ports will be facing downwards. When mounted using the included bracket however, the Powercube is perfectly practical and these issues are far less pertinent.
There`s nothing wrong with a purely visual upgrade over conventional equipment and its a great thing that the Powercube manages to pull it off without much functional compromise. The Powercube is not going to revolutionize your lifestyle, but it might make it a little more practical. Similar to buying headphones, as you move up the chain you find diminishing returns. While for some buyers, a better headphone will illuminate details they`ve never heard before, for me it`s more about better representing what is already there. The Powercube does just this, it`s an interesting take on a simple product. It doesn`t revolutionize the way power is delivered to your gadgets, but it does do the same job in a more convenient and aesthetically pleasing way. The addition of surge protection and a re-settable fuse are a great addition for those powering expensive or sensitive equipment as are USB power ports for smartphones and tablets.
Looks super clean after a bit of cable management
Taking a quick look at equivalent spec power boards on Officeworks reveals a multitude of options that are far cheaper and a few that are more expensive too. Similar protected boards range from $18-40, putting the $30 Powercube closer to the high end. Of course the Powercube boasts a much smaller volume and a cleaner design than any of them, but whether these aesthetic and convenience perks will be enough to justify the price is up to the buyer.
Accessories – 9/10, Well packaged, the mounting bracket works perfectly as intended. Residue-less adhesive is of high quality, adhering well to most surfaces. No option to swap the plug for travelers. Included cable guide keeps things looking organized.
Design – 8.5/10, A very nice looking piece of equipment, there`s something inherently futuristic about cube shaped gadgets. Doesn`t work well on the ground, but using the included bracket alleviates most issues. Is easily dwarfed by similar power boards and large plugs don`t obscure the next port. From the before and after shots in the design section, it`s evident how much smaller the Powercube looks over a traditional power board.
Value – 7/10, The Powercube isn`t cheap for a power board, but it`s actually not expensive for a surge protected unit. In addition, it boasts several key advantages over competing products as aforementioned in the design section. A few online sellers were offering prices closer $20, at which the Powercube is be a great buy.
Overall – 7.5/10, The Powercube is undoubtedly a well built piece of equipment with a pleasing design that delivers on practicality and reduced cable clutter. It is by far, the most compact solution on the market but doesn`t add any remarkable features. If you`re looking for a very nice power board, possibly for travel or simply to compliment a clean setup, then perhaps you should be looking into a Powercube instead.