Messless charging station
Gadgets are great, but giving over half the sockets in your house to keep you digital life on track does start to grate. When you have to add the family's gadget's too, it gets a little overwhelming, and a little wirey. There are a burgeoning number of solutions out there, but Messless wins out with a catchy name and an even catchier design.
The principle here is no different to other charging stations we have seen, but the Messless will look much more elegant in your house. It looks more like a miniature designer coffee table than a gadget charger.
It is constructed from plastic with a round base and a round top with a clear overhang that edges things beautifully. You could mistake it for glass, although it's obviously not. The top has the tips protruding through, looking like the shoots of a really techy plant pot.
The top is actually spring loaded, designed so you can push it down so it clicks, then swap the tips around to the configuration you want. The tips unplug and when you remove them, you'll find they are simply connected using USB connections plugged in to the circuit board inside.
Pressing the top once again will see it spring back into the original position, giving you that seamless look around your charging tips. Having the top moving does mean that you aren't pulling the charging tips out by grasping their vital parts, but it does mean the whole device is slightly less sturdy than you want to it be.
Plug it in and connect the power cable to the base of the unit and it sits neatly waiting to receive your favourite gadgets. The selection of tips is perhaps a point of contention. The selection that you receive includes: Nokia large, Nokia small, Sony Ericsson (wide one), iPod/iPhone, Mini-USB, Sony's PSP/Reader.
The glaring omission here is Micro-USB, of course, the standard for smartphones and many other portable gadgets. The PSPGo now uses a new connector, but you can charge one of Sony's Readers on the Messless standing straight up. Before you dismiss the Messless as providing obsolete connections, you can also buy Micro-USB, Sony Ericsson (narrow one), Samsung and Nintendo DS tips; each costs €9.50 from the Messless website. http://onlineshop.yourmessless.com/init
You could, technically, remove the tip and plug in your own cable if you want to charge anything else, but that sort of defies the "messless" idea here.
The Messless is sold "as is" in the pack. We'd have liked to see an order-what-you-need approach, but we guess that wouldn't be cost effective, as each unit would have to be made up individually, so expecting you to buy extra tips is forgivable: not including the now industry standard mobile phone tip is not and we hope that they make an exchange in the future from the current defaults.
In use it all works as you'd expect, you plug in your gadget and it charges, with a blue LED indicating that a connected device is getting its juice. The PSP tip has been designed to accept the PSP on its side so is slightly raised to fit the sculpting of the handheld gaming console, so if you do use it for a Sony Reader for example, it won't be the most stable.
The proof of the pudding, they say, is in the eating, and for us the Messless did more than it deserved. Once it was setup at the end of the desk, it was all too easy to leave it in place to charge various gadgets as and when we needed it. You can realistically fit four devices on the surface of the Messless, and because they mostly stand up, they are easy to grab and go, without disturbing everything else that is charging.
Overall what we love about the Messless is that you can leave it sitting somewhere in your house without it making the place look messy, it can be easily moved around and easily customised to your needs too. It's just a shame about that Micro-USB, which for us, would have made this a winner.