UPDATE: iLuv has since clarified the price of the RockWall to be $29.99, not $129.99. iLuv’s rep misspoke during our interview. For $29.99, including Apple charger compatible international plug adapters, this is a very good deal indeed.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2012 – iLuv’s pretty much known for making button-cute accessories at super affordable prices, so when they broke out a mysterious, secret $129.99 device they were keeping away from prying eyes and not on display to the majority of the CES public, my eyes lit up. This must be something special, as awesome as it was a total bargain, even at that price.
“What does it do?” I asked earnestly. “Some sort of Bluetooth-enabled, app-controlled atom smasher? An iOS-compatible home Lasik kit? Is it GOD? Is God in that box?”
Nope. Meet iLuv’s seemingly inexplicable, $100+ USB wall charger.
I know what you’re thinking: “WTF.” I spontaneously shouted those very same letters out loud after iLuv showed me what the RockWall did, which wasn’t much. It’s a good-looking, decidedly sleek and collapsible USB wall charger featuring fold-out prongs and the ability to charge two USB devices equaling 15W of output simultaneously. So one iPad and one iPhone/iPod simultaneously. It also swivels, so you can fit it into any slot, no matter how inconveniently positioned.
No bones about it: $129.99 is a lot for a USB wall charger. Heck, you can get one down at Radio Shack for less than $10. So why is the RockWall so expensive?
It all has to do with international compatibility, supposedly. The RockWall comes with all standard international plug adapters, so if you go to Britain, Japan, France or India, you can just snap out the US prongs and snap in the appropriate adapter. And since the RockWall contains a built-in voltage adapter, you don’t have to worry about your gadgets getting fried.
So is the RockWall a rip? Well, no bones about it: it’s expensive. But keep in mind that Apple’s own plug adapter kit costs $39, and the RockWall’s adapters will fit any MagSafe block or Apple charger, and the perceived value goes up, especially if you’re a world traveler.
Still, much as we liked the design of the RockWall, and much as we’re sure a lot of expensive components went into making it, $129.99 is a pretty hard pill to swallow for a USB wall charger, especially when iLuv sells some excellent, full-featured speaker docks for almost half as much.
Our guess? The reason iLuv didn’t have it on the showfloor was because they didn’t really want to talk about the price. We appreciated getting a look at it, but we can’t say we blame them.