The Zip Mini Touch-n-go is a four-station charging hub. It’s about the size of a one centimetre tall drink coaster, but unlike many multi-charging stations, you don’t plug your USB cable into the Zip Mini – instead, you use Zip Tails.
What’s a Zip Tail? On one end, it has an Apple 30-pin or a micro-USB connector, and on the other, it has a one centimetre disk with magnetic connectors. Lightning connector Zip Tails aren’t yet available. Zip tails neatly attach to the four circular magnetic sockets on the Zip Mini. While it sounds onerous, it’s pretty straightforward.
The Zip Tails are small enough that they don’t get in the way of your day to day use of your gadget, and when you get back to the docking station, the Zip Tail and station connect without effort, because of the magnetic connection. You just sort of drop it into place.
The power adapter comes with four interchangeable worldwide plugs. I found in using the Zip Tails that the 30-pin adapter doesn’t ‘click’ into place in an iPad or iPod. No amount of shaking would dislodge it, but somehow it doesn’t feel like a secure fit.
The charging station works beautifully, though, and it’s the kind of thing that’s ideal for travellers with multiple gadgets or for a central charging location at home. The only real downside is the price – at $90 for the charging station, and $20 for each of the tails (you don’t get any in the package), the cost works out to $170 for a fully docked Zip Mini. If that sounds like a reasonable price for convenience, it’s a great little gadget.
This review was first published in the March issue of New Zealand PC World.