Great British plug gets its comeuppance

Posted on by Mike Evans

Regular readers know I'm no fan of the Great (in the sense of big) British plug. Safe enough to power the most power-hungry of domestic appliances it may be. But compact and svelte it is not. It's a monster, and those brass monoliths of prongs are an accident waiting to happen. I've lost count of the times a plug stored in a bag has damaged a precious item of equipment. If you have an aluminium MacBook Pro keep it well away from the British monster plug. N65CT_IN

At last, though, there is a glimmer of salvation from tech accessory retailer Maplins. Manufactured by TeleAdapt in Hertfordshire, the Slimplug is an ingenious variation on the standard plug which allows the prongs to be stored neatly inside the housing.

A couple of buttons and a quick shake and the prongs sally forth ready to do service.  This device comes attached to a 1.8m cable ending in a "figure-of-eight" connector which fits the power adaptors of most laptops (including all the Apple chargers from the old 5w iPod, though the 10w iPad up to the 85w unit for the larger MacBook Pros). 

The cable is probably a tad too long for most people, although it can come in handy when the power socket in Starbucks is just of out reach for the standard Apple set-up of combined charger and plug adaptor plus the Magsafe cable. I've experienced this a few times recently.

The longer cable helps account for the added weight over the standard Apple adaptor for the British system. That weighs 57g while the Slimplug and cable tips the scales at 142g. It's a small weight penalty to pay for the peace of mind that comes from having a flat, easily stored plug.

As you would expect in our 'Elf 'n Safety-obsessed age, the Slimplug comes with dire warnings against rewiring (in case you would care for a lighter 6cm cable instead of the supplied 1.8 m). The plug has two screws and could probably be opened if you go to the trouble of finding a special screwdriver (they certainly don't want you to get inside). Maybe we can hope that the manufacturers will see the wisdom of introducing a shorter cable.

All this wizardry doesn't come cheap: £8.49 from Maplins. But, at least, you will no longer have to worry about damaging your MacBook Pro with the dangerous standard plug. 

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