We’ve come across a few docking solutions over the years and one of the things we now realise we don’t like about a lot of them is that their designs are too rigid in functionality. The Xtorm Pixl Power Hub (XPD05) came into our studio three months ago and we can safely say that it’s the best designed docking solution for charging many devices at once that we’ve come across.
Design & Features
What makes the Xtorm Pixl refreshingly unique is that it allows every brand and model of smartphone and tablet to be docked, making it space saving and very convenient to use. No fixed proprietary charging connections are in sight, instead four USB cables (2x micro-USB cables included in the box) can be connected into the four available ports underneath the Pixl. The base has four rubber feet, one on each corner, to keep itself sturdy. A velcro lining is found underneath also, to which supplied velcro straps can be attached in order to keep the needed lengths of cable wrapped tidily out of sight. This choice of design means you can have all your devices docked simultaneously and it’s possible to adjust the length of the cable for each device. This is something we did, so that we could use our iPhone in bed whilst plugged in and charging, a provision other docking solutions we’ve used don’t accommodate.
Customisation & Usability
The ability to customise the Pixl for a personal taste has been expressed with the visual design of the Pixl too. A contemporary look has been etched from high quality plastic to form this white dock, but what’s really interesting is that you can actually change the colours of the 'pixel' styled squares and two rectangles that are scattered across the top to hold three smartphones (or similar dimensional devices) and one or two tablets.
The squares, rectangles and even the base mat can change colour thanks to black or orange (supplied in the box) silicone covers. We greatly liked this aspect - we’ve refreshed our design in our three months of using the Pixl. These squares and rectangles also make it a joy to use. (To take this concept one step further we thought it would have been cool if Xtorm allowed the user to relocate these silicone pieces, so different shaped devices could join; in a similar style to a kit circuit board.
One of the most significant benefits of using docks like this, is that you free up wall plugs by just using one AC outlet. Total charging yield via the Xtorm Pixl is 4.5A, with two of the USB ports sharing 2.1A and the other two sharing 2.4A. We used this with iPhones which require at least 1A and iPad’s which require 2.1A. But the more devices charging, the more of the total capacity they consume and so the slower the charge, and if the dock is overloaded, some devices won’t receive any charge. In our testing the Xtorm Pixl was happy to charge two iPhones, one iPad and an Xtorm battery pack all at once, or just two iPad’s. So in our usage it can only charge three, not four iOS devices simultaneously; it’s a shame, but something that could be solved by slightly raising the amp ceiling. Of course, a balance of lower amped devices like we've demonstrated would make it possible to utilise all four of the USB 2.0 ports.
Overall you can’t go far wrong with the Xtorm Pixl Power Hub. It might have just been out of reach from charging our four iOS devices simultaneously, but we praise it highly for being an exceptionally organised and uncluttered way to keep all your devices together and charging.