Energizer may be best known for its batteries and bunny, but in recent years the company has expanded into other ways of delivering power to your gadgets. Some of its products, like the wireless Inductive Charger, are a bit unusual, while others, like the 5W USB Wall Charger and Cable, are more common. Products in that second group won't get a lot of attention, but that's no reason to pass them up.
Indeed, there's no hiding the fact that the 5W charger doesn't do anything that a standard cell phone charger won't do. But if you take a closer look, you'll see that it provides a more convenient way to take power on the go. At $24.99, it costs more than you might expect, but that price is about the same (or even cheaper) than what you'd pay for a replacement cell phone charger from your manufacturer.
You can buy a 5W charger with either a Micro-USB plug or an Apple 20-pin connector for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. What's more, you can choose between a standard wall plug or a car power adapter. And if you don't need a cable at all, you can buy car and wall chargers with just a USB port.
Almost round in shape, the 5W charger is slightly larger than a golf ball. On the front end is a small light and the USB plug for the included cable. Fortunately, the cable isn't fused in its plug so you can replace it if you like. On the rear side, the wall plug folds up for easy storage. Though the 5W's shell is made of plastic, I didn't worry about its durability. More importantly, the small size and light weight made it eminently portable.
The cable is no different from the one that Apple included in the box with your i-device. It stretches to a comparable length and the plug fit my iPhone securely. Unlike your Apple-supplied charger, however, the 5W charger has a groove around its perimeter for wrapping the cable. Rubber flaps hold it securely in place and prevent it from getting tangled. Keep in mind, though, that the plugs on either end will stick out. It shouldn't be a problem, but there may be a slight danger if they jangle against something sharp in your bag.
I tested the 5W charger with an iPhone 4. After connecting my handset, it began receiving a charge immediately. The 5W charger fully powered my iPhone in a couple of hours, which is no longer than when I use an Apple-made charger. Energizer's product stands on its own, however, by including a light just above the plug. It will shine blue as your device charges and then extinguish when charging is complete. That's a nice touch for the energy-conscious.
As I said, the 5W charger doesn't do anything a normal Apple charger already does. Instead, it offers a more convenient and portable design for powering your device when you're traveling around town or around the world. If it were more expensive than buying a replacement charger from Apple ($29), I wouldn't see the point. But as an alternative power device, its improved design and cheaper price are worth considering.