This one is for UK-based DaniWeb members, or those of you who are visiting the UK and want to be able to charge your smartphone via a USB mains charger that is neither bulky or heavy. I'm not usually the type of person to get excited by a plug, honestly, but I will make an exception for the Mu.
The designer of the Mu, Min-Kyu Choi, says that he was frustrated by the dimensions of a traditional plug and thought that it was about time to redesign something that dated back to 1947 and hadn't really changed much since. "My idea was very simple – redesign the plug to bring it in line with the clean look and feel of today’s technology; without compromising functionality" Min-Kyu Choi reckons. DaniWeb reckons he was succeeded, with knobs on (although not literally as that would spoil the sleek design of the Mu). And sleek the Mu certainly is; it's a startlingly compact design for both a plug and a USB charger in one. Folding completely flat for storage, to a depth of a smidgeon over half an inch thick.
If you want to be precise, when folded flat the Mu is 14mm x 55mm x 60mm. That's a reduction in size, over a traditional UK-spec plug, of more than 70%. Yet when you come to unfold it and use the thing then the user is not faced with a fiddley, nail-breaking, annoying exercise in temper control. Simply unfold one flap, then unfold the other, before giving the plug pins a quarter turn to snap them into place.
Now then, followers of design may be thinking that they have seen the Mu somewhere before, and they would be right, sort of. The designer first unveiled the concept of his folding plug back in 2009, but this is taking that concept a step further and actually turning it into a USB charger reality. Travel plugs are, after all, one a penny while truly pocketable and light USB mains chargers are not.
At the moment, with an output of DC 5V 1A, the Mu is suitable for charging any smartphone that plugs into a standard USB socket. So it's good for most Androids, BlackBerries and the iPhone. It will even work fine with most Kindles. It will not, however, charge more power hungry devices such as the iPad. Made in Mind are developing a tablet-friendly Mu as well as laptop Mu power cord. Both of which we look forward to getting our hands on here at DaniWeb.
The only other problem with the Mu, and I'm sorry to have to bring things down to cost, is the price. If you thought that Apple was charging an arm and a leg for an iPhone charger plug, then the Mu throws your head into the mix as well. At £25 this is one seriously expensive plug. Indeed, were it half the price then the Mu would be getting a coveted 10/10 rating from DaniWeb. If you travel a lot, value good design as much as practicality, and absolutely must have the 'boring' gadget that will get every geek talking, then the MU is money well spent even at this price.