Even though we know that a plugged-in charger can still draw power even when it's not connected to a device, we don't always unplug it after our HTC EVO 4G is fully charged. For convenience, most of us probably leave the charger plugged in all the time.
Since I buy gadgets the way most women buy shoes, I tend to have a lot of chargers plugged in around the house. A few months ago, I bought a charging station for my most-used devices, and while cable management was easier, it became harder to unplug the chargers when they weren't being used (the power strip is hidden in a compartment and all the cords are wrapped up and threaded through precut holes).
That's why I recently picked up the new Belkin Conserve Valet, an energy-saving USB charging station that costs $40 and automatically shuts off after the devices (up to 4 at a time) are fully charged. The valet itself draws no power when not in use, so it can stay plugged in.
It's a little smaller than I expected and can only hold about 2 or 3 of my devices on its pad, depending on the size, but I really like that it turns off by itself (either after the devices are fully charged or when no devices are connected) and can be turned back on with the press of a button.
The charging station comes with a 4.25-foot power cord, a 1-foot mini USB cable, and a 1-foot micro USB cable (great for the EVO).
It looks better and is easier to "set up" than my other charging station, and it makes it easy to save a little power while still maintaining my gadget habit. The energy savings might be negligible, but I think every little bit counts.
The biggest drawback to the Conserve Valet is actually its biggest selling point: it turns off after your devices are charged. This means that if you plug your EVO in overnight, it won't be fully charged when you wake up in the morning (unless you only sleep for a few hours) because the valet turned off and left the phone running on its battery. Keeping the EVO plugged in overnight doesn't ensure a fully charged battery anyway, though, so this may not be a dealbreaker.
Even so, I wouldn't recommend the product for overnight charging unless you have some time in the morning to top everything off. For any other time of day, however, I think it's great and I use it all the time. It freed up a bunch of outlets that were previously being hogged by USB chargers, it saves energy, and it's pretty stylish for a charging station.
The Belkin Conserve Valet is available now from Amazon.