We all have a ton of gadgets these days that are charged by USB, from iPhones and iPads to things as diverse as cameras, scanners and GPS units. The challenge can be finding enough USB ports to keep up, which is why I resort to a powered USB hub. It’s plastic and not exactly pretty, hence my interest in a rather beautiful-looking product from Truffol–the company behind the reversible USB cable we looked at last year.
The Truffol Station 5 is not a USB hub: there’s no socket to connect it to a Mac. It’s designed for one purpose only, and that’s to charge up to five USB devices at once. It differs from most other such devices in two ways: form and function …
The form is obvious. This is no cheap piece of plastic you want to hide away out of sight, this is something beautiful enough to look at home sat on your desk next to a Mac. The casing is mostly made from real wood, in a choice of cherry (above) and walnut, machine-milled then hand-polished to give a smooth finish. Beneath the wood is an anodised aluminum chassis, with a thick rubber pad at the bottom to stop it sliding around on your desk.
It measures around 11x6x4cm; I’ve photographed it with my iPhone 6 for scale. The quality of the fit and finish is excellent. Pick it up, and it has a reassuring heft to it. This both looks and feels like a quality piece of kit.
At the front are five USB sockets, which is there the function part comes in: while cheap chargers provide only 1A sockets, the Truffol Station is equipped with three of these plus two beefier 2.4A sockets suitable for charging iPads, power packs, Bluetooth speakers and the like.
Inside, there’s a built-in surge protector to keep your iDevices safe, and the separate power brick accepts anything from 100-220V, making it suitable for use anywhere in the world (with a suitable adapter). At the rear is just a power socket and a power button to toggle power on and off. The button, too, is made from wood.
Both sides are featureless.
Performance-wise, the charger does what it says on the tin, charging my iPad Air 2 as quickly as my Apple iPad charger from one of the 2.4A sockets. The 1A sockets match the performance of a USB plug adapter when charging an iPhone.
At $40, it’s priced somewhat above the typical charger, but if you’re going to have it out on your desk, I think it’s an acceptable premium for the aesthetics and rapid-charge capabilities.
If you need a USB hub rather than just a charger, Truffol does make one–but sadly not from wood. The Truffol Station 7 USB Hub and Charger is, though, made from black aluminum with a unibody construction. As the name implies, it’s a seven-port hub. It provides four 0.5A sockets and three 2.4A ones.
It measures around 25x4x3cm, and I’m showing it here with the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard for scale. All seven ports are USB 3.0, providing full-speed data links to all your connected devices. Price is $38.
If you prefer plain anodised aluminum, check out the Satechi hubs we reviewed last year.
Both products are available direct from Truffol with free global shipping–a very welcome feature for those of us outside the US–or from Truffol’s Amazon store where both products are eligible for Prime. Prices are the same from both sources: $39.99 for the Truffol Station 5 charger, and $37.99 for the Truffol Station 7 hub and charger.