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VINE VOICEon November 18, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really like this charger, we brought it down to a small conference and set it up in the conference office. We configured its four ports with two iPhone cables and the included mini-USB and micro-USB cables. I think it is fair to say that the device was a hit - people could put a phone of almost any stripe on the charger. Over the course of the conference, we charged maybe a dozen different types of phones (and even a MiFi) without any issues.

The one problem was the "automatic" timer. As it turns out, it's just a timed 4.5 hour switch - not some kind of smart system that detects current draw. So, if someone puts a phone on it and turns on the charger, it will go off in 4.5 hours - which is fine - unless someone else shows up two hours later and adds their phone (which will only get a 2.5 hour charge). As a result, we had a lot of phones that would not get a full charge because the device had shut off and no one had realized they needed to turn it back on. The indicator light is very, very dim (perhaps part of the energy savings?), so it's not very noticeable from a simple glance if the unit is on - you really have to look at the power light.

It's a good device, but its limitations should be resolved in the next iteration with an option to turn off the power-saving feature or to change the timer length to 8 or 16 hours.
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on September 4, 2010
After reading the reviews on this product the actual shipment was delayed 2 months. I should have known this was a product with issues.

The good news...it arrived and works OK for charging an iPhone 3G and a Motorola Bluetooth headset.

The bad news...It does not work for a Blackberry Bold 9700 and apparently other devices.

The really bad news and the reason for this review...Belkin's customer support is a disaster.

The unit comes with two short micro USB cables (one typical of cameras and headsets and one that matches the Blackberry adapter) but no explanation as to why. The micro usb cable works fine for the Bluetooth headset. The other cable that fits the Blackberry does not charge the Blackberry and if used requires the Blackberry to be reset by removing the battery.

Tucked into the minimal documentation is a slip of paper I originally missed that indicates a Belkin website for a special cable for the Blackberry Bold and other devices. I went to the site, ordered the free cable and in short order got an email reply from Belkin that my order was received.

A week later no cable. Multiple calls to the 24x7 customer support ended up being disconnected or routed in a circle. The chat option failed with three different Browsers. A email request for customer support required multiple tries to get past the required support description before it was accepted. Again an immediate email indicating reply with 1 business day. FIVE DAYS later an email comes indicating that the cable order was unrecognized, the issue was closed, and a recommendation that I call customer support! This smells like Belkin is still unprepared to support this product on any front.

Being a glutton for punishment I tried customer support again. After ignoring the instructions (none recognize their new Conserve line of products) and finally got a person that transferred me to another person that started to help. 30 minutes later after forwarding the email (from Belkin!) that said my cable was ordered I ended up with a promise to fix and a return call. 24 hours later , no replacement order, no call back.

Whatever Belkin was doing from the time the product was announced and the two months later they shipped; it wasn't telling their customer support organization about it nor was it testing it with common products.

BUYER BEWARE

UPDATE 3 WEEKS LATER: More calls to Customer Support and more emails back indicating no such cable order; I gave up and ordered the cable again. At this point the original packaging is long gone and it does work well on two devices. Surprise...A customer support call back after a disconnect resulted in a promise that the cable would be shipped immediately. I asked for a confirmation email. No email as promised but the free cable arrived...Good news... the cable works and the Blackberry Bold now charges.

The next day another box arrives from Belkin... I now have a bag of 10 of these cables. I can't wait to see what's on my doorstep when I return home this evening! Being a good citizen I called the Belkin RMA number to offer to return all of these extra cables...SNAFU...long time on hold..Raj tells me I called the wrong number; Don't think so but OK; Raj offers to transfer me... click click click... back to Raj! Raj suggests I wait an hour and call back after their phones are fixed...SIGH...I think not.

UPDATE 4 MONTHS LATER:
Since we use this product daily and I have had no contact with Belkin's abysmal customer support since the initial review, I've decided to revise the overall product review due to Belkin's startup woes and comment on the device itself.

We are a no land-line house and this cleans up the clutter & cable mess on the counter. With the right cables it has been happily charging ipods, iPhone, Blackberry, Motorola Bluetooth headset, and misc guest cell phones that use the universal USB adapter. The only thing to be aware of is that small devices charging on their own that draw little current and are completely empty (like the Bluetooth headset) will eventually trigger the auto-shutoff feature and not get a full charge. iPhones and Blackberrys don't have this issue.
New bottom line...buy it you'll like it...unless you need any customer support...but that's true of many companies these days!
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Belkin Conserve purports to save both energy and clutter; however, as you will see from this video, it could do better with energy conservation and it helps with clutter only if you never remove your charging cables from the valet. In this video, I show you how it works -- and how it doesn't. Points not mentioned in the video because of file size consideration: the surface of the valet is angled, with a gripping surface and bottom lips to keep your devices from sliding off; the supplied USB cables (USB to micro and mini) are really short, which could help reduce clutter for the devices that they actually connect with; the whole unit is lightweight, although rubberized feet prevent it from being knocked off a desk or nightstand.

-- Debbie Lee Wesselmann
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on September 29, 2011
Pros: can charge serveral device at the same time. The top surface is big enough to hold two phones side-by-side

Cons: Very misleading spec. On Belkin's web page, it listed power output as "+5V/2A". I immediately jumped on it as it can charge phone and ipad(requires 2A) together. Once you have the device and look at the bottom, you will see "2A(0.5Ax4)"!! It does not work for iPad or device requiring 1A to charge.

The "green" feature does not work well with smarphones when you charge your phone when you go to bed. The unit will turn off when the phone is charged but then your phone will be draining power again for the most of the night. The battery will not be fully charged when you wake up in the morning.
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on May 7, 2011
Before making this purchase, I read the description and looked over the manual. As far as I can tell, the Valet does exactly what it says it will do.

I keep in on my headboard. The charging pad comfortably fits an LG phone, an iPod touch, an iPhone 4 and a bluetooth headset. I keep a little additional space next to it for a Kindle 3G. Before heading to bed I plug in the device(s) that need a charge, press the start button and go to sleep. In the morning my devices are at or close-to full charge. I find it very convenient and it considerably neatened up all those plugs and cables I was using before.

In looking over some of the negative reviews, there were a few things I noticed:

1) a complaint that the device is not shipped with a printed manual rather than a PDF to be downloaded. If you are trying to be "green" and yet want a printed manual to be shipped with every product in today's connected world, I think you have some issues with your expectations vs reality. It's called "Conserve Valet" for a reason.

2) complaints/concerns that it doesn't charge every device or that devices aren't fully charged. The product clearly states that each USB port is rated at 500mA and that if your devices, such as many smartphones and other devices with large and/or color screens, require more power than this they will not be fully charged. It also mentions that you should not charge more than 2 devices with large color screens simultaneously. I'm not saying that it wouldn't be nice to be able to change anything and everything and have the device still perform as much conservation as possible - but to order the device and then give it a bad rating for something that is explained is unfair to the product.

3) along the same lines, a complaint that the device turns off after 4-4.5 hours rather than when devices are finished charging. Same as #2...it was pretty clear in the product info that this is how the Valet works and I can't see downgrading the product for doing what it says it will do.

I suppose when the product is created that sells for <$40, charges 2-4 devices simultaneously AND has all the built in logic it needs to constantly check which of the devices need to be repeatedly cycled with power while still managing to conserve power comes to market I will buy that one. In the meantime, this one does what it says.
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on May 23, 2012
I am a technical writer but have never written a review describing an purportedly practical item with such a poor rating. The premise that of saving energy, could never be more flawed. Each evening before retiring, I would plug my Droid Razr into this Belkin Conserve Valet to charge it overnight. This is considered standard practice to allow you to use your cell phone throughout the next day without losing power. Certainly it charges completely, but after 4 hours the charger shuts off (ostensibly to conserve power). The cell phone then begins its day, losing power through the remainder of the night. The power loss is minimal, but it is enough that after using the Droid for a merely a much shorter time during the day, I was forced to recharge it when the battery either dropped to 5% or completely died. Normally, the battery lasts throughout the day with power to spare. Why would someone want to charge his or her device twice, in the end using even more power? Doesn't this defeat the entire purpose of attempting to save energy? I would never have purchased this Belkin Conserve Valet with Energy-Saving USB Charging Station had I thought it would be so useless. I've now returned to using my standard charger. Certainly a Waste of Money!
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on April 22, 2012
Bought two in order to fight off the plug-vampires. Based on two devices, and plugging in multiple different devices - they did not work. Would plug in a device, it would go through the charging cycle - the green light would go off - would grab the device and go..... only to find out on the road that the device was not in fact charged or had received only a very limited charge. Disappointed.
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on June 13, 2011
I am currently charging my iPad2, an iPod Touch, and my DroidX phone. This charger only provides 500mA output, which is the same as most USB/USB 2 output amperage on your computer. So if you try to USE your iPad while it's charging, it's going to say "Not Charging"...because it's not. The charger can not provide the power to run the iPad and charge it at the same time...just like the USB port on the front of your computer can't. However, if you put the iPad to sleep (close the smart cover), then when you plug it in, you hear a small "meep" that says "I'm charging!" Leave it there, and it'll be charged in a few hours, just like if you used the front of your computer. If you want to be able to charge your iPad and use it at the same time, you'll have to plug it into the wall. Only there is enough juice provided to run it and charge it at the same time. My other devices seem to be charging fine.

I wish there was a way to order extra cables from Belkin. They provide a mini-USB and a micro-USB. I would love one (or two) small 30-pin adaptors so I wouldn't have to wind the iPod and iPad cabling around the charger. But it's a small gripe. I have extra cables, so this isn't much of an inconvenience. I don't plan on continually taking the cables on and off of the charger.
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on May 1, 2011
This product is really little more than a USB splitter and a cord manager. It does a good job being both. Be warned not all USB splitters can be used for charging. Most are intended for data transfer and muliplex between the ports, which makes charging impossible. The tapered desgn of the white lower housing means you really don't see it while the device is sitting on your courtertop. All you see is the black upper surface where you can rest your devices while charging. The cord management system offers plently of room to internally wrap excess cords so only the length you want is sticking out. It comes with a couple short cords, but I had no trouble getting it to also hide two six foot cords and the excess power cord that I am not using - all neat and out of sight. The upper surface is just big enough my smartphone, my wife's flip phone and two bluetooth headsets, although it's pretty crowded if everything is on it at once. Nevertheless, it looks considerably better than the previous tangle of cords and wall wart transformers. As far as charging goes, it charges for four hours after you push the button. This has proven to be a sufficient charging time even when a device is almost fully discharged. The timer re-sets if you plug in an additional device while it's charging. As some have noted, devices are not continuously topped off after the timer goes off. Personally, this has not been an issue. We plug in our devices before going to bed. They all show they are fully charged in the morning. The approximately four hours when they are not being charged (and not being used) does not seem to make any difference in practical terms. We are happy with the Valet.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon November 18, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've read quite a few very intelligent reviews that criticize this device.

I suspect some of them may relate to a defective batch, and some folks found this device to be underwhelming. It serves a purpose that many just weren't thinking about.

Either way, I must say I really loved this product for a variety of reasons. I've been unplugging my power bricks for recharging devices for a long time, ever since I got a special meter that detects energy usage and learned these chargers cost money even when not in use. So to start, this product actually addresses a specific need that I suspect a lot of people didn't realize they had.

Does it charge everything? No. I charges my phone, my wife's, and our 2 bluetooth headsets (at the same time). I've tested it on mp3 players, and it charges all of my various ones. It failed to charge PS3 controllers, which I think is a big shame. This seems to be because of amperage limitations.

It consistently left all my devices fully charged, with the unit off by the time I returned to unplug them. Based on the wattage I saved, I will save $81 per year, according to this: P3 International P4460 Kill A Watt EZ Electricity Usage Monitor and my power bill's rate.

Operation is simple. Push the green button and it will charge until everything is charged. It has an indicator lamp.

I love the fit and finish. The construction quality is good. The rubbery top and the slight angle present my phones in an attractive way. The usb cables provided (two, a micro USB and a mini USB) were too short for my use. I think you should simply expect to buy your own as I did (before I even had this thing). Wrapping them around the slot beneath the tray, and plugging into one of the 4 USB ports is a snap and it provides an uncluttered look. Consider how cluttered 4 charging devices can be!

To sum it up: this is a device that solves a very specific problem. If you're only looking for a USB hub, this is going to seem like overkill. If you're trying to charge something large, this won't support it (which is a legitimate complaint a few have, but I don't share). However, it fits my needs perfectly and worked perfectly.
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