Editors' Note: Those interested in this product should check out the Belkin Dual Rotating Charger (similar product, but with a rotating power plug) and the Belkin Mini Travel Surge Protector (which is larger, but includes three surge-protected AC outlets and two USB charge ports).
Despite the dream of an "ultimate handheld," it's really hard to get down to fewer than two portable devices. A Treo may do it all, but you still want an iPod; an iPhone is great, but you still need a BlackBerry for work; you like to listen to your iPod while playing your PSP or DS; and so on. Even those who do manage to get down to one super smartphone often have a Bluetooth headset to go along with it. And traveling with two devices means taking two power adapters along. Or at least it did--until the Belkin Dual USB Power Adapter came along.
Like a gaggle of other brands (Apple included), Belkin makes an iPod power adapter--basically just an AC transformer with a USB port on it. The company's Dual USB Power Adapter is essentially the same thing, but with a second USB port. As such, it can charge two USB-powered devices simultaneously. Belkin throws in an iPod-charging cable (with the standard 30-pin connector) as well as a second cable that terminates with a mini-USB jack. The latter one will work with a large range of smartphones--including most BlackBerry models--and other devices. For instance, we had no problems charging an iPod Nano along with a BlackBerry Pearl, Sprint Mogul, and Motorola H500 Bluetooth headset using both of Belkin's cables. Any 5-volt USB-powered device should work just as well, but it's up to you to provide your own cables if it doesn't have a mini-USB input. We were able to charge a Sprint VM-A680, Palm Treo 650, Sony PSP, and Nintendo DS Lite--two at a time--with a variety of third-party cables.
The Dual USB Power Adapter is about 1.5 times the size of the tiny Apple iPod USB adapter (MB051LL/A). It has the same folding power prongs as the familiar Apple model and weighs just 2.5 ounces, so it travels well in a suitcase or backpack. The Belkin is rated for international voltage standards (100-240v, 50-60Hz input), so it should work anywhere in the world--with the proper plug adapter, of course. About the only real problem with it is the blue indicator light--it's bright enough to double as a night-light in a darkened bedroom or hotel room. But that's easily corrected with a small bit of electrical tape.
Otherwise, the worst thing to be said about this power adapter is that it only has two USB ports--three, four, or even more would've been even better. To prove the point, we also used a standard Belkin USB hub as a dedicated charger for up to seven products. But two ports is still twice as many as you'll find on any other dedicated AC adapter, and that makes the Belkin Dual USB Power Adapter a great buy--especially when you consider that it's widely available below its already modest $30 list price.