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Intelli PowerHub Does it All, Still Terrifying 2021

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Key Takeaways

Charges literally everything.Wireless pad is a little fiddly.Those outlets on the back freaked me out. Intelli

The Intelli PowerHub won't fit in a pocket or win any style awards, but it claims it can charge every device I own. And it's right; I can't think of a single electronic gadget I own that couldn't draw power from this thing. But a few weird design choices have me giving the PowerHub the side-eye.

Companies send me a lot of emails, and they're mostly about products that will charge my devices. In fact, power-charging devices are as common as cats; every PR person assures me of their product's universality.

Some chargers have style, some have power, and on rare occasions, some have both. I decided to take the PowerHub for a test drive to see where it falls on that continuum. Here's what I found out.

"The abundance of plugs and ports means that you can just toss it on your desk and not worry about hunting for cables or USB blocks because everything is just right there."

More Ports Than a Lisbon Wine Cellar

Here's the loadout the PowerHub is working with: It has two USB-A ports, one USB-C, a couple full-on power outlets, and a stand at the front with 10W wireless charging built in.

This thing will charge everything in your house, although some options are better than others. It will, technically, charge a MacBook Pro through the USB-C port, but it will take twice as long as if you plug it into one of the outlets. And I didn't find the wireless option very fast, either. 

For a long-term, "keep it there while you work" solution, it will do just fine, of course. But if you're low on power, you're probably better off plugging it in, which just uses a different part of the PowerHub.

Another issue I saw had to do with placement on the magnetic charging stand. I tried with three phones, and I definitely had to place them in exactly the right spot to make sure they made the connection.

Evan Killham / Ach5

That spot is in the middle, of course, but a centimeter off in any direction could stop the charge from starting. 

I had the same issue trying to charge my phones horizontally. I could do it, but it was even harder to gauge "middle" in that orientation. 

If you're going to have your phone sideways, anyway, you should probably just use a cable with one of the convenient USB ports to make sure the power flows, or in case you're like me and always find ways to drop your phone, even when you're not holding it.

Watch Your Fingers and Drips

One of the main use cases you see in promotional materials for things that hold a phone upright is someone referring to their phone for a call, recipe, or video while cooking. 

I do this, sometimes, until my hands get too dirty to touch my screen with, so I get it. But I wouldn't use the PowerHub in my kitchen without some modification because of two main factors: The outlets on the back.

The PowerHub's two outlets point straight up, which may make them more convenient to use, but if I were cooking with this thing nearby, I would always worry about dropping something in there. Water, oil, pancake batter…no outlet-friendly liquid exists, and these things are wide open.

Evan Killham / Ach5

If you have this same concern, you could probably breathe easier if you stuck in some safety outlet caps. The outlets are convenient to use where they are, but they don't feel very safe. 

I would happily sacrifice some of that handiness if they were on the side, instead. Barring that, Intelli also could toss a couple caps into the box and encourage people to use them. 

Generally, Pretty Cool

Other than the magnetic charging fiddliness and the fear of electric death, the PowerHub is a great device. The abundance of plugs and ports means that you can just toss it on your desk and not worry about hunting for cables or USB blocks because everything is just right there.

It also looks pretty slick and holds your phone at an optimal, 60-degree angle, so the stand is useful even if you can't find the charging pad every time. It's a great fit for a desk or a nightstand, even if you're iffy on taking it to the kitchen, where your water lives.