I travel a lot. I’m also a bit of a geek. This means that when I travel, my bag is usually full of an array of chargers for my various devices that I couldn’t possibly live without. I find UK mains plugs terribly cumbersome and a really awkward shape for travelling. Their pins stick out and get in the way, threatening to pierce my iPad’s screen, or something equally heinous.
Back in 2009, I came across a design concept that seemed like a stroke of genius – a folding three-pin plug that folds flat, leaving no pins sticking out. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one that thought this was genius and some time later, they found funding to produce it and launched it as a real product called the Mu plug.
The website (www.themu.co.uk) has a nice animated graphic showing how it works, but when folded away, it looks like this:
It has a single USB port, which is perfect for charging most of my devices. One point to note though is that it only provides a one amp feed, so although it will charge an iPad, it won’t do it very quickly (the Apple charger for the iPad provides 2.1 amps).
When folded away, the pins are covered and it’s basically a small, white plastic square. This makes a perfect travel companion, as there are no pins sticking out to poke holes in anything, it’s very light weight and I can simply change the USB cable between Apple 30-pin, lightning, mini-USB, or whatever else I need to charge my iPad, iPhone, camera etc.
Here are a few pics of the Mu when unfolded:
I love my Mu and use it frequently, though it’s not perfect. It’s a UK plug, so only useful when travelling in the UK. This is fine, as when I’m abroad most countries use a two-pin type plug, which is much more travel friendly to begin with than a 3-pin UK plug. Also, the Mu is expensive, at £25 and there’s the issue with the low current meaning if you want to charge larger devices, like an iPad, you may want to take another higher-powered charger. Personally, I just use the Mu and leave it on charge over night.
One of those designs that you can’t believe no-one thought of decades ago and an invaluable travel companion, though not without fault. Low current means charging power-hungry devices can be time consuming and they’re not cheap, at £25.