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 if you travel outside the United States.
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 have never been completely satisfied with any of them. SKROSS sent out its World Adapter for review, to see if could be the one that finally 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.
The review sample was 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 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, since 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, at regular speed. It's not enough to fast-charge the latest generation of phones, though, so if that's something you want, you'll need to plug your usual phone charger into this adapter rather than use its USB ports.
I've now used the MUV USB adapter in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, Southeast Asia, several European countries, and for good measure, the United States, with both two-pin and USB plugs. Even after several months being knocked around inside a backpack, the adapter shows no signs of wear or damage.
In all countries, the necessary pins slid out and locked firmly in place until the release button was pressed. 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 socket types in use, 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, as did the adapter itself. That hasn't been the case with almost any other universal adapter I've tested–many of them fall straight out of the loose power sockets you often find in Europe and Southeast Asia as soon as they have any real weight on them– and is a definite plus for the SKROSS.
The USB sockets performed as expected, charging a phone and Kindle at normal speed even while I was also powering a laptop from the adapter, but slowing down when I swapped the Kindle for a tablet.
When not traveling, I've also 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 with that charger, and has done so without fail for nearly two years. Since travel adapters aren't necessarily made to handle this kind of long-term, everyday workload, that's another tick in the box for the construction and durability of this model.
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 while you charge your phone. Most of my other adapters have ended up with a strip of duct tape over the LED, but that's not the case here.
The only real problem with this model of travel adapter 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 Light USB World, that does handle three-pin plugs. Unlike some other models, the Pro Light USB World can handle charging from both the power and USB sockets simultaneously.
So, has this changed my mind about travel adapters? The answer is: almost. It's easily the best two-pole universal adapter I've used.
It has been sturdy and reliable, working well in both the US and many countries overseas. That pair of USB sockets has meant I can charge everything I travel 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, even if I can't always charge at high speed
In a perfect world, the adapter would be a little slimmer, since it's definitely possible to block adjoining wall sockets when using it. The company actually does make a smaller version, but with that model, the USB sockets become an either/or option.
The price of the adapter, 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.