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220, 221... Whatever It Takes

Electricity in Macau runs at 220-240 volts, twice the voltage as in North America. This is great news if you need to plug in a washing machine, jacuzzi or pool filter pump, but not so great news if you're hauling around computers, phones, tablets, video equipment, cameras and rechargeable batteries that are attuned to 110 volt outlets.

During my last trip in 2007, I came to Macau ill-prepared with a 110-220 wall wart power adapter. It instantly torched my Lithium battery recharger adding US$10 additional expense (and effort) procuring disposable camera batteries. The brand new MacBook I bought just for the trip would get red hot within 10 minutes of being plugged in to charge. I managed to nurse this rickety set up through the rest of the trip by engaging in very short bursts of laptop charging and buying US$10 worth of disposable batteries to power my camera every day.

With new laptops, phones, tablets, watches, cameras and the rest of my modern devices needing constant charge, I'm not taking any chances with voltage.

GEEKPRO 200W Travel Power Converter 110V ~220V With 4 ports Smart USB Charger With Shockproof Bag - $42.99 via Amazon.

There are a variety of travel converters available, but this one offers the most options for the technophile. The power strip features three wide-spaced USA 110v plugs, four Smart USB outlets (more on that in a sec), outlet adapters for travel in EU, UK (including Hong Kong and Macau), China and Australia and use in the USA. The first three of the Smart USB jacks output amperage that will work for all phones and pro level tablets. The fourth USB is just for lower amperage devices... phones/watches and the like. Unlike the wall wart transformers, this device acts like an extension cord, putting usable power outlets where you need them, not under a desk or behind a nightstand. Plus the whole thing comes in a handy dandy travel case.

These devices WILL NOT work with hair dryers, flat irons or curling irons.

As with any and all extended travel, weight is a concern. The GEEKPRO® 200W Travel Power Converter ships at 1.5lbs, same as the original iPad or the new Pro models. The weight could probably be reduced a slight bit by leaving the box, instruction manual, EU and Australian adapters at home.

The BESTEK 200W International Travel Converter 220V to 110V with 6A Max 4 USB Ports is also a neat device. It does not come with a tidy carrying case and the USB adapters are 2.4a (tablet) and 1.0a (phone) pairs as opposed to all being "smart." It costs US$2 less.

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Comments & Discussion:

Very cool. Hopefully subsequent iterations of this thing come down in weight in the coming years.

You need to go light. I mean, who knows how many souvenirs you'll bring home (e.g., chips from all the new joints)?

Haha. Yeah... could be a little lighter, but I suspect that the housing has to be rigid enough to withstand punishment and pass electricity standards testing.

Hahahaha - chips!

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