Xcentz's Cube Power Strip is a versatile space-saving power solution for a tech-cluttered world
Xcentz is a highly specialized company that, as the pronunciation of the brand — "accents" — implies, excels at discovering and launching affordable technology solutions meant to fit cleanly and easily into the day-to-day lives of the average consumer. At just $25.99 on Amazon, the Xcentz Cube Power Strip is just the latest of the company's products to squeeze itself into that mold.
With this product, what it is and does is all in the name. Succinctly, the Xcentz Cube Power Strip is a small cube that attaches to a thick grounded cable and can provide power for multiple electronic devices at once.
There are, of course, multiple similar products out there and there are at least one or two reasons this may not be the best option for the most hardcore tech users. As has become the case with every Xcentz product I've tried so far, there's also plenty to set this apart and make it a brilliant option for just about anybody.
From the simplicity to its attention to detail and its rock-solid build quality compared to many other gadgets on the market, Xcentz Cube Power Strip stands apart.
That all begins with a very straightforward design on the outside. The Xcentz Cube Power Strip is, as mentioned already, a cube. The body is comprised of a very slightly dimpled plastic material that adds a bit of grip, with bevelling at the top and bottom. The top surface is embedded with no fewer than three standard rectangular USB ports, a reset button in case the safety features are tripped, and the Xcentz branding.
Our cube was the standard white variant but the Amazon listing shows this design with three total configurations. One has a graduated fading square dot pattern called "Lattice" and a third variant called "Grid" has a more plaid aesthetic. In both cases, the accent color is gray over the standard white but it's good to have at least some choice in personalization.
The patterns only show on the brand-facing side of the gadget.
Around each of the edges of the cube, there are U.S.-standard wall plugs — Type B, complete with a spot for cables to be grounded out. A groove surrounds each but they don't rotate. Instead, each is arranged so that the ground prong faces toward the USB ports, which didn't get in the way too much when placing the power strip regardless of whether I was using it under or on top of a given piece of furniture.
The sockets being separated one-per-side and the cube's just over 2.5-inch size has the additional benefit of allowing just about anything can be plugged in too with very little overhang in most cases and no interference from other plugs.
One of the very few exceptions I could find in terms of problems with the configuration of this gadget stems from the fact that its cable comes out what should be the bottom if every plug and port is going to be accessed.
That's a nearly half-inch-thick tube of rubber that ends in an angled three-prong grounded Type B almost flush plug. In effect, its placement means that there are very few ways to place the device so that it can be used to its full potential. I'll explain how I overcame that limitation and why it's effectively a non-issue momentarily but on the negative front, there's also the fact that this surge protector appears to have no lights on it at all.
No LED indicators on the plugs or on the USB ports may seem like a minor inconvenience — and it really kind of is — but this is actually not the first Xcentz cube I've had the pleasure to review and there are lights on the other. I was immediately struck by the oversight since, with those other power cubes, I'm able to plug devices in easily regardless of how dark the room might be because of the LED indicators.
That's not the case here.
Despite being effectively a white cube, the Xcentz Cube Power Strip was actually somewhat difficult to see properly when ambient lighting is low and that can make plugging things in difficult too.
The voltage pumping through each of the grounded ports is set at "120V 15A 60H," the same rate as the AC input from the power cube itself. With consideration for just how much electricity that is, although this is already a very safe device, having some form of lighting as exists on other Xcentz power solutions could only have made things safer.
One of the other key aspects of the Xcentz Cube Power Strip that sets it apart is that it isn't just a power delivery device. Rather than simply rerouting power to various ports and plugs, this gadget is actually both protected against overloads and power surges of up to 360 Joules. Put simply, this device actually is more than just a decent surge protector-style power strip.
In day to day use, Xcentz's device will protect against overpowering devices such as smartphones and computers that come with intelligent chips to regulate the flow of power. Simultaneously, it will stand up well to surges of electricity caused by things such as lightning strikes in the same way a traditional bar-shaped power strip would.
The ports themselves are designed with a maximum output of 5V/2.4A per port too. That is both a good thing and a caveat. For the overwhelming range of devices that are sold, that means it will put out plenty of power to get things moving again.
This will not fast charge flagship devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or Galaxy S10 series. With some OEMs pushing to allow for 30W charging and higher, the USB ports here just aren't going to offer the fastest charging either.
The power pushed to the standard wall sockets mean that users will be able to plug in just about any electronic and have it powered, including fast chargers or wireless chargers. So it isn't necessarily a big deal that the power ports don't support the fastest charging.
Last but not least, the casing itself is designed to be fire-retardant. That means that even if the protective system in place does fail, and that's statistically bound to happen at some point somewhere with any project, this power strip should be able to keep damage to a minimum beyond what many competitors offer.
Because Xcentz's latest power cube is laid out the way it is and is so lightweight, plugging something into all of its ports and just laying it on the ground behind or underneath a desk probably isn't going to damage the attached cords. In fact, this cube is going to be just about perfect for any use case where a power strip might otherwise be employed.
There is at least one other use I discovered while situating the device for my own use that it seems to be particularly well-suited for, however.
As noted above, the cable comes out what would be the bottom — or back, if laid on its side — of the cube itself with the Xcentz Cube Power Strip. That means that on a desk with wide pre-drilled holes for cable management, it's possible to just slip the cable through and have the cube sitting flush or almost flush with the desktop and all ports accessible.
I didn't have such a desk to test the theory on but with the appropriate hole-making bits and an electric drill, I was able to cut one into an end table. The cube's cables, and those for more permanent devices such as wireless charging pads, were run through the hole before putting the cube over the opening.
That left plenty of surface space open that would have ordinarily been occupied by a cluster of cables, essentially clearing off that entire surface except for the wireless charging pads themselves.
Now, that may or may not be the intended purpose with the cable placement on the Xcentz Cube Power Strip but it is one that its design readily serves. That makes this device, at least in my case, well-suited for providing power away from the wall and off the ground without taking up a whole lot of space beyond the 2-inches or so required by each edge of the cube.
The Xcentz Cube Power Strip is a great solution for those that need to charge up or power on their devices without taking up too much space. In fact, it's small size should make it well suited for travel as well as its more standard uses.
That's going to be true whether a solution is needed to power lots of electronic devices in a house or office without many plugs, for the convenience of plugging everything in at one location, or just to save room over a standard power strip. It's also great to have out as a charging solution for guests with or without a DIY project to seamlessly blend it into an environment.
The only areas where Xcentz really could have improved this gadget would have been to include a PD USB or USB-C port for those smartphones or laptops that require a higher wattage output.
But the 5v/2.4A output is actually already higher than what's on offer by the overwhelming majority of the competition — ordinarily at 5V/2.1A or lower. So even slower than a 'fast charge', this accessory is going to outshine the competition where it matters in many cases.
The build quality and protective features are really just 'icing on the cake' at that point, making this a solid option for anybody in need of a multi-charging power station or power strip that checks all the above-mentioned boxes.
For a limited time, you can use the promo code XCENTZS64 at checkout, and save $7 on the Xcentz Cube Power Strip.Xcentz Cube Power Strip - Amazon - $18.99