The Omni Ultimate is a charging device from the OmniCharge company. In this review, I will go through the campaign and product, and ultimately, you will learn whether you should spend money on this gadget.
Back to scene
This makes their third crowdfunding campaign, and with this product, they’re attempting to combine what they consider to be the best features of their previous products into one device.
It features an advanced AC outlet, a high-powered USB-C port, interchangeable battery packs, splash and dust-resistant case and more. The DC output is adjustable, giving you control over the voltage and amperage, which is unique.
But, although it sounds like a great charging device, it has a number of drawbacks to consider.
Review and Discussion — Is the Omni Ultimate really worth buying?
It’s important to know that when purchasing extras, such as a case or spare batteries, you’ll have to watch out for the additional shipping fees. They are charging separate shipping for each item. The company sites the shipping weight of the Omni Ultimate as the cause.
However, they aren’t offering bundles for accessories to cut down on shipping costs, either. Just to have the Omni Ultimate charging unit and case combo, plus a battery shipped to the US is costing around $64 in shipping alone. The product is also being shipped from China, which is causing shipping to average between $30-$50. What no one else has pointed out in the comments is that if they’re shipping the charging device out separately from the other accessories, that means they’ll likely arrive at different times, as well.
The company introduced what they called a “secret perk”. Once you backed them and made a pledge for the Early Bird deal, you would get an email that notified you that you got a case for free. However, many backers had already pledged for cases. This meant that they had to change pledges, receive refunds, etc. And, although that was a nice thought on the company’s behalf, going through and changing pledges and getting refunds is always annoying.
International backers are suffering from several drawbacks. First, the 230V version costs more, due to additional VAT charges, which they’ve calculated into the price.
Then, there’s the matter of plugs.
The EU 230V output plug won’t fit most laptops. Most EU laptops use a round style of plug that isn’t supported with the Omni Ultimate. Furthermore, the company says that any travel adapter can be used with the device to change it to a D or M type plug. The international version supports types C and F already. So, any type of plug that you need, other than a D, M, C, or F, won’t be supported.
Although it’s marketed for use outdoors and for convenient travel, there are a few glaring issues that make it less than suitable for any place but the home.
The Solar Panel
The solar panel accessory is a nice touch, but it’s only 70W. You can buy a similar solar panel like this one on Amazon that will work with the device and are 100W. 70W may not power everything you need to charge, which would be a pain if you only discovered this after you got to the campsite. There’s also no way to hang it. It requires table-space, which makes it inconvenient for travel, camping, and other outdoor activities.
The Battery and Charging
The spare battery seems like a good idea, but there’s currently no way to charge it independently from the Omni Ultimate unit. This is quite a drawback, and the developers seem to recognize it as such, saying that they’re working on a solution. However, even if they do work this problem out, there’s another. The spare battery does not have pass-through capabilities. This means that it can’t charge anything on its own without the Omni Ultimate unit.
There’s also no wireless charging capabilities with this device. Backers have been asking, and they even say that they wouldn’t mind if it made the device heavier or bulkier. However, the company isn’t interested in making a bigger version, saying that wireless charging would require two coils and wouldn’t fit in the unit. It’s a polite answer that disregards the fact that backers said they don’t really care how big it is.
Although the addition of a USB-C port is nice, this feature is flawed, as well. To begin with, there isn’t a USB-C hub. The USB-C port on the device does both input and output. So, having extra ports would provide a multitude of charging function options. Also, the maximum USB-C output wattage is only 60W. This helps to cut down on how hot the device gets. That sounds great, but most laptops require higher wattages in order to charge.
And the DC out on the Omni Ultimate is 150W. So, maybe they should find a solution to increase the USB-C wattage while also keeping the temperature down.
One of the most glaring flaws in this device is that there’s no grounding in it. The company seems confused as to why anyone would even ask about this, saying that it doesn’t need grounding because it’s not prone to surges. But, in the event of a power surge, anything plugged into it is left vulnerable. This is a major oversight. So, it may be wise to use a surge protector with the Omni Ultimate, just in case.
So, is the Omni Ultimate worth buying?
It could possibly be a good option for those who have multiple devices that need charging, provided that they buy a surge protector to use with it so that their devices aren’t compromised in the event of a power surge.
You’ll also need to check to see if you can use the plug types that it comes with if you buy the international version. Since it’s $299 for the Early Bird US version, it would be tragic to buy it and discover that it wouldn’t power your devices properly. It’s probably a good idea to wait until they put out the next version. With three different campaigns already, it’s very likely that they’ll have another, and it may be improved.
This project is now running on Indiegogo.