BlueLounge Refresh charging station

Charging must be this year's buzzword. We've seen increasing numbers of charging stations, docks and wireless solutions as the accessories manufacturers realise we are all walking around with a number of gadgets that need charging, and have a house full of chargers and cables.

The BlueLounge Refresh looks to keep things clean, by bringing all this charging under control. The premise is simple: combine all your device charging into one unit and power it from a single plug socket.

To achieve this, the Refresh has two major parts. The base is a hollow wedge-shaped box, with a DC input on the back and six cables on the inside. These internal cables give you 2x iPod/iPhone, Micro-USB, Mini-USB and two standard female USB connections.

The base itself is constructed from plastic, but feels solid enough. It has rubber feet to give you a reasonably secure setting once it is sited on a desk. Inside a single green LED will confirm that it is connected to the power supply.

The second component of the Refresh is a rubberised black plastic plate that sits in the top of the base. This provides the platform on which your charging devices will sit, with the tactile finish providing enough friction to stop them sliding around. A cut-out section at the bottom of this plate allows the relevant cables to come through from the base to charge your selected devices.

It really is as simple as that. You plug it all in, select the correct cables for your chosen devices, place the top plate back on and connect your gadgets. Voila! You are charging without the usual tangle of wires.

The two female USB connections give you scope for selecting any other bespoke connections you need, for example if you have a phone that needs something different, you can simply connect the cable you'd normally use with your PC, bearing in mind that unless you have spare cables, you'll have to disconnect it to sync with your PC. It is also worth checking that your device will charge from USB and not just exchange data.

We tried a number of different devices, with three being a comfortable number given the space to rest them on the top plate. All the devices we tried charged without any problems, although potentially there is the chance that if you draw too much (by connecting too many devices) then some might not charge.

Once setup and sitting securely on a desk or table, the BlueLounge Refresh looks tidy enough. Pick it up and the spare cables inside will rattle around a bit and the top plate isn't held in place by anything other than gravity.

Verdict

There is little to dislike about the BlueLounge Refresh. It looks smart enough and does the job it sets out to do. Once you have a charger of this type, you'll probably wonder how you lived with the mess beforehand.

It is expensive though, coming in at £70, which sounds like a lot for a plastic box with six wires inside.



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