Travel adapters are a staple in every airport newsagent, and for good reason – most international travelers use them. With a dozen or more different socket types commonly used around the globe, it won't take long before you find yourself needing one.
Even though they're such a simple concept, it's remarkable how often the makers of these accessories get them wrong. They're often bulky and heavy, fall out of sockets, break easily, or cost far more than they're worth.
I've used many different models over the years, and never been completely satisfied with any of them. SKROSS sent me its World Adapter recently, and I tried it out to see if it could be the one that changed my mind.
Features and Specifications
The first thing to note is that SKROSS has many different versions of its World Adapter – earthed and unearthed, integrated or optional USB ports, small and full-size, ones with portable battery attachments, and more.
I tested the MUV USB, a two-pole adapter with a pair of integrated USB sockets, that works in almost every country.
Like most other universal adapters, it's neither small nor light. On the upside, the heft gives the impression that it's well-made and not likely to break straight away. You'll notice the weight, though.
As well as US two-pin plugs, the input sockets also handle European/Asian, Australia/New Zealand, Japanese and UK plugs. That's useful if you buy a gadget while overseas – you'll be able to use it, via this adapter, when you return home.
As mentioned, the output plugs deal with almost everywhere in the world, with a visual list of options on the product page. You select the type you want with one of the black sliders on the side, which push out the necessary pins. To retract, press a release button on the other side and return the slider to its original position.
The adapter can handle voltages ranging from 100 to 250 volts – but that doesn't mean whatever you're plugging into it can. As always, compare the voltage range of your appliance to that used in the country you're going to, and buy a voltage converter if you need to.
The two USB sockets on the top of the adapter can output a combined total of 2.1amps. That's enough to charge a pair of smartphones or other small gadgets, or an iPad by itself. If your phone has fast-charging capabilities, though, you'll want to charge it by itself (or use your wall charger instead of the USB ports).
Real World Testing
I used the MUV USB adapter in both the US and Portugal, with both two-pin and USB plugs.
In both countries, the necessary pins slid out and locked firmly in place until I pressed the release button. Unlike some adapters, the European pins had enough length to fit into the recessed sockets you often find in that part of the world.
Regardless of the sockets I used, the adapter fit snugly into them, without any flex or wobbling around even when halfway up a wall. A heavy laptop charger stayed firmly in place when I connected it, as did the adapter itself. That hasn't been the case with almost any other universal adapter I've tested, and is a definite plus for the SKROSS.
The USB sockets performed as expected, charging a pair of phones at full speed even while I was also powering a laptop from the adapter, but slowing down when I swapped one of the phones for a tablet.
A nice touch from the manufacturers is the use of a dim red LED to show the adapter has power, rather than the eye-searing blue versions on many others. In a dark hotel room, the last thing you need is a bright light keeping you awake as you charge your phone.
The only real problem with this model of travel adapter, then, is the lack of an earthed socket. This means you won't be able to use Macbook and some other laptop chargers, or other high-drain appliances that require that third, round hole.
For some travelers, that won't be an issue at all. If it affects you, however, you'd be better off with the World Adapter Pro+USB, that does handle three-pin plugs.
Note, though, that with this model and some of the others the company makes, you can use either the power or the USB sockets, not both at the same time.
So, did it change my mind about travel adapters? The answer is: almost. It's easily the best two-pole universal adapter I've used.
It was sturdy and reliable, worked well in both the US and overseas, and that pair of USB sockets meant I could charge everything I was travelling with from a single wall socket at the same time. Given the scarcity of sockets in some hotel rooms, never mind at airports, on transport and elsewhere, that's a good thing.
In a perfect world, it'd be a little slimmer – I did manage to block adjoining wall sockets at times. The company actually does make a smaller version, but like the Pro adapter mentioned above, the USB sockets become an either/or option. The price, too, is worth noting – it's a high-quality accessory, and it's priced like one, at around $40.
If SKROSS made a model that combined the best features of this, the Pro and the MUV Micro, it'd likely be the best universal travel adapter on the market. This version does come close, though – and for those who don't carry Macbooks or other devices with three-pin plugs when they travel, it's ideal.
Since first writing this review, I've been using the SKROSS MUV USB travel adapter on a daily basis, to charge my phone via a 3amp high-powered USB charger I picked up elsewhere in the world.
Fast-charging mode works perfectly, and has been doing so without fail for over a year. Since travel adapters aren't necessarily made to handle this kind of workload, that's another tick in the box for this model.
It's also come on several international trips with me, and again, hasn't missed a beat. I'm impressed with the reliability of this adapter, and have increased my overall rating from 4 to 4.5 stars as a result.