Like the brilliant Insight we reviewed a month or so ago, Belkin’s Conserve Valet comes form their new line of green-angled tools created with the idea of saving energy. Unlike the Insight, the Valet — a $40, four-port USB hub designed around the idea of smart organization and energy conservation — isn’t as well executed, and not nearly as effective.
The Valet is strongest as a tool to keep things tidy. It’s smattering of smart organizational features — cable slots, a central area underneath the deck to wrap cables around and the two supplied cables (one mini- and one micro-USB) with angled heads do a good enough job of reigning in cable chaos.
But the unit’s supposedly star feature — that it saves power by shutting itself off after it’s finished charging whatever peripherals are attached to it — turned out to be more of a hindrance than a boon: It’s a simple timer rather than smart-charging feature, and I kept having to punch the central button that turns the unit on after removing a device to use (like, say, a Bluetooth headset) and then reconnecting it to charge; only a little irritating, but enough to make me wish the function didn’t actually exist. Does it actually save much energy? Probably not; gadgets that I charge frequently enough to use with the Valet don’t spend much time sitting around anyway. Also, the inclined surface isn’t quite as anti-slip as we’s like.
Verdict: Steep price for what’s essentially a four-port USB hub with some organizational features and a somewhat irritating central feature.