Belkin Conserve range
Good for environment and your wallet; well-made
On the expensive side
Valet $49.95; Insight $49.95; Smart Power $79.95; Socket $19.95
We’re all becoming energy- conscious these days, whether it’s due to a sense of responsibility over global warming or just because the price of electricity has reached ridiculous levels and is set to skyrocket even further in the near future.
With this in mind, Belkin has released the Conserve range of six energy-friendly products. We gave four of them a road-test.
Multi-unit USB charging stations are very handy, but their drawback is that chargers left plugged into an active wall power socket still draw power. What sets this Belkin one apart is that is shuts itself off – and draws zero power – once your devices are fully charged.
It can charge up to four devices at once, and lets you hide your USB power cables for a neat look. Power output is 5V/2 Amp, which means it’s powerful enough for your iPad
This is the scary one – it’s a meter that calculates the energy use of any product you plug into it. It tells you the number of watts it’s pulling, the amount of carbon dioxide it’s emitting and, if you enter the rate you’re paying for electricity, its cost per month or year.
The worst offender in our house is a 1600-watt wall heater that pumps a staggering 300kg of CO2 into the atmosphere each month (we use it for eight hours a day in winter), and costs us $80 a month to run. After using this Belkin product, we’re seriously looking at replacing it.
Conserve Smart Power
‘Smart’ is right. This power board automatically controls power to your TV entertainment system or computer peripherals.
You plug the main device – your television, say – into the Master Socket, and up to four slave devices – such as a DVD player, games console or sound system – into the Master Controlled sockets. When the master device turns off, the board cuts power (including standby power) to all the others.
It works just as well with a computer master device, and slaves such as monitors, speakers and external hard drives.
But what about peripherals you need to stay on, such as a video recorder or a networked printer? Easy … there are also two uncontrolled sockets on the board
The Socket is a simple power timer that shuts off its power after an interval of half an hour, three hours or six hours, thus making sure that the device left plugged in isn’t drawing unnecessary power.
It won’t start allowing power to flow again until its Start button is pressed.
Not only is this good for the environment, it also means you don’t have to worry as much about leaving dangerous devices such as hair straighteners on.