These days, we have so many gadgets that needs to be charged frequently. If you travel a lot, you will know that bringing along all the wall adapters required, plus an extension cord, can be a real hassle. What you need is a USB charging hub.
In this article, we will be taking a look at MINI BLOCK by thecoopidea, which normally retails for S$59.90, but is currently on sale for S$39.90 at Popular Bookstores.
Unboxing – Great First Impression
For a USB charging hub, the MINI BLOCK’s packaging is one of the more appealing ones that you will find out there. Flipping the flap on the front, which is held by magnet, you can get your first look at the MINI BLOCK, behind a plastic window.
Remove the transparent stickers on top to access the content inside. MINI BRICK sits nicely in protective sponge and below it, you will find a box containing the power cable. Below the box, you will also find a “poster” with details for their Instagram contest.
Despite being one of the more affordable options for a USB charging hub out there, the MINI BLOCK doesn’t disappoint when it comes to presentation. A wonderful first impression.
Design – Cute, Yet Professional
MINI BLOCK’s square form factor with rounded corners and tapered edges gives it a gentle vibe that looks really cute when you go for the blue or pink color options. With only a thecoopidea logo on top, the MINI BLOCK’s design is simple and clean.
There are a total of 5 regular USB ports on the MINI BLOCK, all located on the same side of the hub. At the bottom of the middle one is an LED light, which looks alright but I wish there was a way to turn the light off while I am sleeping at night.
On the back of the hub is where you plug the power cable. I like the fact that the cable is detachable as it enables easier storage when traveling. Below, you will find 4 rubber feet and the certification/specs label. The sides are completely empty.
The MINI BLOCK is relatively compact and light, making it a great companion for people who move around often. It fits nicely in the small accessory pocket of my 小米經典商務雙肩包.
If there was something that I could change about the MINI BLOCK, it would be adding of a power switch for the entire hub. This would be very useful for those whose wall outlet is located behind a shelve or at some hard to reach places.
Performance – Stays Cool While Charging
According to thecoopidea’s website, the MINI BLOCK has a combined max output of 5V 8.2A, but the packaging says 5V 7.2A max. Confusing. Each port is has a max output of 2.4A at 5V, but none of them support any fast charging standards.
I do not have the tool to determine which maximum combined output is true, but I am trying to ask thecoopidea about it. Will update this post once I get a reply from them.
UPDATE: I was told that there is no difference between the 7.2A version sold in Singapore and the 8.2A version on their website. They had to relabel it as 7.2A to bring it into Singapore.
But even if it is just 7.2A, that will be enough for most people. Even with my current setup, which includes a phone charging dock, Xiaoai Mini Speaker and OnePlus power bank, all 5V 2A max, there is still more than enough power to charge my iPhone SE.
On their website, thecoopidea didn’t mention anything about the safety features built into the MINI BLOCK. But it has the SAFETY Mark, so there probably is something inside that prevents it from exploding while you charge your device.
I know this thing is not built for geeks, but even a sentence like “_ layers of circuit protection” would be comforting. Even when all the ports are used, it did not display any sign of overheating, so there is little to worry about safety.
Conclusion – Adorable & Affordable
If you can grab one at the promotional price of S$39.90, I highly recommend you do so. Most USB charging hubs at this price only have 1-2 USB ports and those with more often cost over S$70.
While MINI BLOCK lacks features that you may find on costlier competitors like fast charging or USB Type-C ports, it does what it is meant to do really well: charge/power your devices. With an adorable and clean design, you will love it.