Even if the only traveling you do is from your home to your office, and even if that “office” is actually just your bedroom, then you will probably find the PlugBug wicked useful. But if you ever leave your home country’s own shores, then you might consider the PlugBug World, a globally-aware charger for your MacBook and iDevices.
What it is
The original PlugBug replaced the slide-in power prongs of your MacBook’s brick with a slightly bigger adapter which also packs a USB charger and port. The World does the same, growing a little bigger again and shipping with a set of five different country-specific prongs. These interchangeable tips are what makes the pack a little larger, and a whole lot more useful.
The PlugBug World also has a third section which will slide into the main body and make it whole, allowing you to use it as a standalone charger.
Fun Plug Facts
- Every British power plug contains its own replaceable fuse, usually in three or 13-Amp sizes. And every wall outlet in the British Isles comes with its own individual on-off switch. Talk about paranoid. And British bathrooms often contain a Euro-compatible socket for electric shavers, only its rated at 110-120v, not 230v like the regular mains.
- The most similar plug designs which aren’t actually the same are the U.S and China. The quickest way to spot the difference? The U.S prongs have holes in them.
Some surprising countries share a plug design:
The U.S, Canada and Japan all use the same cheap-o dual-prong
All of continental Europe uses the same two-pin plug, although there are some plugs (on things like heaters and power-hungry kitchen appliances) which will only fit into special grounded sockets.
The UK shares its overprotective three-pronged design with former colonies Hong Kong and Singapore.
Australia and New Zealand’s shared design looks like it is smiling at you.
How it works
The PlugBug World uses a feature of Apple’s already clever charger design. The iPad and MacBook chargers are the same the world over, and ship with different AC plugs for different parts of the world. These tips are interchangeable between iPad and MacBook chargers, too, making Apple’s own travel charger set very handy indeed.
The PlugBug goes one better. It slips onto the same mushroom-shaped metal prong that Apple’s tips use, only it adds in the extra USB port. This cuts down on how many chargers you need to carry, and you can also ditch those bulky travel adapters you usually carry.
It’s also good for conferences or even airport departure lounges, where charging stations fill up fast. It’s also red, helping to identify it in a mass of cables.
The charger has some sharpish edges, which lend it a slightly cheap feel at odds with Twelve South’s usually top-notch build quality. That said, the unit feels like it’ll last for a good long time, and it fits very snugly onto the host power brick without needing you to force it into place. In short, it is made to some tight tolerances, and perhaps the sharply-cut edges are a part of that.
In its self-contained configuration, the PlugBug World is bigger than an iPad charger, but much smaller than a MacBook’s brick. When married together, the resulting object is similar to what you’d get if you duct-taped your iPad charger to your MacBook charger, with the advantage of only needing one wall socket.
If you travel regularly with a Mac and an iDevice, you should probably buy this instead of Apple’s own travel set.
If you travel regularly with a Mac and an iDevice, you should probably buy this instead of Apple’s own travel set. It cost just $5 extra, and does everything Apple’s kit does and more.
What it works with
The charger will work with any MacBook you can use with your own existing charger, and the USB port puts out 2.1 Amps. This is enough to charge the Retina iPad’s thirsty battery at full speed, and also to juice an iPad mini at double the speed of the iPhone charger it ships with. And it will also charge or power any other USB device, like your Jambox or your portable LTE hotspot.
|Twelve South Plugbug World||$45|
|Weight (U.S standalone)|
|Input||AC 100∼240V 50/60Hz, 1.7A|
|Output (USB)||5V at 2.1 Amps|
|Output (connector)||AC 100∼240V 50/60Hz at1.5 Amps|
- Source Twelve South