I’ve written previously about ThinPlug, which is an excellent UK folding plug design which comes as either a kettle lead, or as a folding USB plug. When I wrote the post, I was aware of the MuPlug, but was disappointed at the lack of kettle lead option.
Whilst putting together my go-everywhere pouch, I was hunting for a tiny USB charger, and the Mu-plug came back on my radar. Â£25 is somewhat steep for a single port 1 amp charger but Maplin sell it for Â£9.99, which is a near spot-on price.
The genuine surprise is how tiny this thing is. 5.5cm square, with a 14mm depth. Just pair it up with the USB cable of your choice and you’re good to go.
1 amp is admittedly not a huge amount of output, and you’re not going to recharge your tablet in 30 minutes with this. But the size and portability mean you can carry it everywhere, and keep your devices topped up through the day whenever you stop next to a power socket.
The design is somewhat different to the ThinPlug, which keeps the live and neutral pins static and rotates the ground pin. The Muplug keeps the ground pin static, and uses a plate to rotate the neutral and live. Both are clever designs, and both are currently holding up fine under my personal abuse. The MuPlug is the lower profile of the two designs, by far, while the ThinPlug is arguably the more robust. The only complaint with the design, observed by a friend, is that the ground pin extends slightly from the collapsed body. Which is … odd. So far, it hasn’t snagged on anything, but for a product that emphasizes on compactness and aesthetics, it seems odd to have that pin protruding by three or four millimeters.
I’d love to see more innovation in the space. The UK mains plug is a big, bulky, grotesque brute that has surely annoyed enough people to warrant some more alternative designs. I await the day when mains plugs are as thin as the devices they charge.