At a Glance
AC adapter with USB port; can be used to charge 4G and newer iPods.
i-rocks’ $9 AC/USB Power Adapter is nearly identical in appearance to Sonnet’s $20 iPod USB Power Adapter: A tiny (roughly 2″ by 1.5″ by 1.25″), white plastic package with a USB port at one end and a flip-out, U.S.-style AC plug at the other. Simply plug the Adapter into a wall outlet and then connect your 4G or later iPod to the Adapter’s USB port to charge it. (The iPod shuffle connects directly; other iPods use Apple’s USB dock cable.) Both Adapters support fast and “trickle” charging, and both can be used with outlets rated from 100V to 240V. (Note that use outside the U.S. may require a plug adapter, which isn’t included.)
As we noted in our review of the Sonnet Adapter, there are three differences between the two companies’ offerings. Electronically, a light on the face of Sonnet’s Adapter glows red during charging, changing to green when your iPod is fully charged; in my testing of the i-rocks Adapter, this light simply glows green whenever the adapter is plugged into a live AC outlet. Accessory-wise, Sonnet includes a USB dock connector cable — similar to the cable Apple sells for $20 by itself — with its Adapter. Finally, the Sonnet version is available in black or white.
If you’re looking for the best functionality, Sonnet’s $20 Adapter is a better overall buy. However, if you don’t need an extra dock cable, and don’t care about Sonnet’s charging indicator light, i-rocks AC/USB Power Adapter is less than half the price and worked well in my testing.–Dan Frakes