Bretford PowerSync Tray for iPad
Secure, syncs and charges multiple iOS devices
Managing technology in kinders, schools and universities can be hard work. The Bretford PowerSync Tray for iPad simplifies the task by providing secure storage and syncing for up to 10 iPads.
The PowerSync Tray is designed to sit on a bench. The front cover, that can be locked with the supplied padlock, opens up to reveal 10 slots. Each is equipped with an iPad connector and coated with a soft, rubbery coating that ensures that the iPads aren’t damaged.
As the connectors are not fixed, like a docking device, there’s no need to pull the iPads out of any protective cases you’re using.
There’s enough slack in the cables to be able to easily connect any iOS device. We tested the PowerSync Tray with an iPhone and iPod touch as well as iPads with no problems.
Installation of the PowerSync Tray is really just a matter of plugging in the power. However, you will need to set aside a decent amount of space. With the lid opened the PowerSync Tray has a footprint of 50cm x 60cm. You’ll also need to allow for 55cm of height when the lid is opened.
There’s a light adjacent to each of the 10 numbered slots, which glows amber or green to indicate charge status. We did notice that when an iPad was close to fully charged the light flickered a little. We were concerned that there was a problem as flickering lights aren’t usually a good thing but we couldn’t detect any ill effects.
Overheating is unlikely to be an issue as the cover is well ventilated. The internal power supply isn’t silent but the fan that keeps it cool isn’t very loud and would barely be noticeable in a classroom.
As well as charging iPads, the PowerSync Tray can also be used to sync the iPads with a computer running iTunes. There’s a USB connector for connecting to a Mac or PC, because the PowerSync Tray acts as a powered USB hub.
For anyone administering a number of iPads as part of a class set, this makes it easy to deploy an app to a number of devices at the same time. However, it’s worth noting that App Store volume purchasing is still only available in the US.
Although the PowerSync Tray delivers charging and syncing, it’s important to note that one of its principal purposes is security. The idea is that students can put their iOS devices in the PowerSync Tray and they can be locked up overnight. One of the challenges with this is that the entire unit needs to fixed so that it can’t just be carried away, fully laden with iPads.
There are four rubber feet underneath the PowerSync Tray that can be unscrewed. These holes can then be used to screw the unit down to an immovable surface.
One concern was that a determined thief with a cordless drill could drill out the rivets on the cover’s rear hinge. However, a set of bolt-cutters on the padlock could have the same result. That means IT managers looking at the PowerSync Tray ought to ensure that they locate it in a secure location.