Review: Griffin PowerBlock
Over the last few months, the number of iPod pack-ins has decreased. iPods used to come with all the cables one would need, a case, a remote, and even an AC adapter. These days, Apple has cut corners by providing just the iPod, a flimsy case, and a USB to Dock Connector cable. If you want to charge your iPod away from your computer, you have to spend $30 and get the optional AC adapter from Apple.
Griffin offers an alternative with the similarly-priced PowerBlock. The PowerBlock is roughly the same size as Apple AC adapter, but rather than sticking out of the wall, it hugs it, much like any other AC adapter. The plug itself folds when not in use. Obviously, you can’t use the extension from an iBook or PowerBook AC adapter like you can with Apple’s AC adapter.
PowerBlock & Cable
Included with the PowerBlock is a USB-to-Dock Connector cable. The cable looks and acts like the Apple one, with the only difference being a Griffin logo on the dock connector. iPod shuffle users will find this a useless addition, but anyone else will enjoy the convenience of having a spare.
The AC adapter can be used with any iPod that supports USB charging. This includes all Dock Connector iPods, except the third-generation model. This also includes the shuffle.
The only real advantage of this AC adapter over Apple’s is the included cable. Other than that, both chargers are priced about the same, work all over the world, and can be used to charge other USB devices (such as Palm handhelds and other MP3 players), although the iPod is the main focus.
In summary, the Griffin PowerBlock is a great AC adapter, and offers one distinct advantage over Apple’s. If you look around, you can probably find it discounted, which would make the deal more attractive.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
The PowerBlock is a small, affordable AC adapter that offers similar features to Apple’s at a similar price with a bonus cable.
Pros: Good build quality, USB-to-Dock Connector included
Cons: Same price as Apple AC adapter