By February 18, 2009

Philips PowerSquid 5 outlet power strip review

A PowerSquid is a geek’s take on a power strip. The problem with power strips is that the outlets often face the same direction. Certain power supplies / AC adapters have bulky power converters, and the length of these converters obstruct some of the outlets. When power strips have outlets facing the same direction, they are often too tightly spaced and you have the same problem.

Enter the PowerSquid, which features bendable “tentacles” with an outlet on each end. This allows one to attach a “wall wart” adapter of any size to the end of each tentacle, with no fear of overlap. You can also position the tentacles in convenient ways, like just underneath the couch, while the rest of the strip is hidden from sight.

As part of my Ars Technica Sekrit Santa gift, I received a black 5 outlet PowerSquid from ThinkGeek. I thought the idea was novel, and considered buying more for my house. And then lo and behold, Woot had a white (apparent knock-off) version from Philips for $3.99 each before shipping. I bought three, for a total of less than $17 shipped. The per-unit price on ThinkGeek for the black one is $15 each, before shipping.

I anxiously awaited for my Woot order to arrive … would the white Philips SPS1596WA PowerSquid knock-off be better than the black one from ThinkGeek?

My first surprise was the size of the white Philips PowerSquid. It’s big, and the squid-like carapace shell made the flexible power strip look even bigger.

I broke out the measuring tape:

Black PowerSquidWhite Philips PowerSquid
Body6″ x 3.5 ” x 2″6.75″ x 3.75″ x 1.5″
Longest Tentacle10″9.5″
Shortest Tentacle6″5.5″
Cord length36″36″

So as you can see, the black squid is thinner yet has longer tentacles than the Philips squid. The Philips squid is a little thinner.
Squid kin engage in mortal combat in a rarely photographed display of carnage.

Here’s the real kicker — upon further research, the black PowerSquid is also made by Philips. The white PowerSquid I bought from Woot is not a knock-off at all, just a different model. Sure, it doesn’t look as nice as the black PowerSquid from ThinkGeek, but at a three to one price advantage, who cares?

Granted, I got my three squid as a nightly deal on Woot. However, you can buy the Philips squids from retail affiliates for as little as $8 each before shipping. Plus there’s the chance that Woot will have them again. I think they’ve had them at least twice before.

As for putting the PowerSquids to use, they are pretty handy. The aren’t the second coming of outlet management as some of my fellow nerds would lead you believe. Rather, it replaces one problem with another. Instead of chaining two regular strips together to accommodate the wall warts, I now have a squid with five big black blocks hanging around haphazardly on the floor. Using the squid allowed me to maximize the number of devices plugged into one outlet, but now I have to figure out the best way to hide all of the power converters.

Regardless, the PowerSquid is a nifty idea, and makes a great gift for the tech-oriented person in your life (or for yourself). I don’t know if I would pay $15 plus shipping for one, but three for $17 shipped is a deal.


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3 Comments on "Philips PowerSquid 5 outlet power strip review"

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  1. Ed says:

    How many STFUs did it get from you? That rating is how I know what I want.

  2. GK says:

    White Squids..

    I just happened to walk down the isle at Wal-mart and looked at the squids, $22.97 for the same white ones you have here.

    I’m going to have to keep my eye on Woot!

  3. drfaulken says:

    Hey Ed, I stopped using the STFU mugs awhile ago. There wasn’t enough consistency for me, especially as time went on.