There's a trick which most salesmen play. It's the one where they offer you a 'really good deal' on something you don't really need just as you're about to pay. It's only when you get home and think about it a bit harder do you realise that not only have you bought something you never needed, but you also paid over the odds for it.
I rarely fall for it, even when it is a good deal and I do need it, but a few years ago while buying a laptop I was sold the Belkin Surgeprotector and told how important it is. It was 'reduced' to £25 and having 6 plug sockets to its name I threw it in the basket with the laptop. After all, what's an extra £25 when you're buying a laptop?
Was that you Belkin? - Surge Protecting
I had no idea what a surge protector was nor whether I needed it. Apparently it protects the electronic device from sudden spikes in voltage whether from lightning or other sources. This would ruin a laptop and even turning it on and off would create 'electrical imbalances'. Most people who know what they're talking about nod knowingly with this and would say a surgemaster is absolutely essential. My problem is, in 10 years of using laptops and desk computers I have never experienced any damage caused by this and I've lived in houses with pretty dodgy wiring and old appliances. Occasionally I've unplugged something when a thunderstorm approaches but in seems more likely that a spike in mains electric would be broken by a basic household or business fusebox or tripswitch. A lightning strike is pretty rare and fairly predictable by looking out the window. I am more than happy to admit my ignorance here but the whole apparatus seems a little superfluous. And given the short amount of time electrical equipment lasts for and the need to back up data anyway, why bother with something like this?
This seems to be scaring you into buying something unnecessary.
Watt does it look like?
The main body is approx 15cm by 30cm with a 1m cable. There is an on/off switch at the top and most of the body is taken up by 6 three-pin plug sockets. Now this is useful. It's rare to get 6 plug sockets in an adapter and this comes in handy in a corner with few sockets and an abundance of electrical items. There is quite a bit of space for larger block style plugs.
Then at the base there is a grey bar which looks like a spoiler on the rear of a car. The intention of this seems to be to tuck the cables under and keep them tidy. This has been a waste of time for me. If you're really into keeping cables tidy this is will not be good enough, and if you are not then you won't bother. I never have, to be honest I had no idea what it was for.
Then on the base there are three phone / modem sockets; one input and two outputs. These are to protect from 'catastrophic surges'. Talk about overplaying your hand or overegging the pudding. Next to these are an input and an output for a TV cable. I have never had any use for any of these and have never suffered any 'catastrophic' consequences.
On the rear are two crosses which, I presume, are for wall mounting. Look, this is not something you are ever going to wall mount.
The whole box is really quite sturdy, as it should be, but it is also quite bulky for a mere adapter plug. It sits happily under the shelving which our TV and Hi-Fi sit on but I wouldn't want to use it elsewhere. And I've never used more than 3-4 of the 6 plug sockets so could easily have bought something far simpler and cheaper. Sometimes its good to go belt and braces on electrical items, but this was more like handcuffs!
Should have greater resistance - Evaluation
No doubt I will be corrected on how useful this is, but it has never been of any value to me except as a standard adaptor cable. And even for that it doesn't give a very long lead. None of the fears of the selling features have ever come to pass. I can't help but feel quite cross about the whole thing, particularly when I see one on sale on Amazon for about £15. It was one of those offers that never was, sold on fear and pushed on commission. I've never had great experiences in PC World and I've made mistakes there which have cost me more, but this one rankles as one of their most bully boy.
So it's fine if you're looking for an adaptor but sells itself as something much more.
Surge protectors are a very important device when you have connect your electronic equipment up to the mains. Power surges, spikes and lightning strikes can cause significant damage to the products. Surge protectors should prevent this damage from happening. The Belkin Surgemaster Gold 7 Way Surge Suppressor is a top of the range product when it comes to surge protectors. Not only does it provide protection for up to 7 UK 3 pin power outlets, but it also protects coaxial cables, phone cables and Ethernet cables. In addition there is a Belkin Connected Equipment Warranty which covers the device and any equipment connected to the device up to an UNLIMITED value.
__What's inside the box?__
Inside you get the warranty sheet, a card with Belkin's technical support numbers around the world and of course the surge protector. The surge protector is made of moulded plastic, a 3m long cable and a moulded plug. There are 7 power sockets on the device, 2 of which are rotatable up to 180 degrees so you can fit plugs in neatly. In addition, one of thse rotatable plugs is labeled as 'unswitched'. The device has a switch on it, which can power 6 of the power sockets on and off. One socket remains independent of the switch, meaning it is constantly on. This is a useful environmental design - when you only need to power one device you can save energy by turning off all the other plugs with once switch. Or if you need a device that is permanently on (eg a phone or fax machine) you can do so, while keeping the TV and DVD plaver off when you are not using it.
There are two LED lights on the device. One saying 'protected' and the other saying 'earthed'. Both should remain on when in operation. If one or both of these lights are off when the device is running, there is a problem and you should contact Belkin immediately. You should be able to get a replacement device under the warranty.
Aerial protection, modem/phone line protection and Ethernet protection is provided. The device also splits a phone line input into two outputs - useful if you want to connect your phone and router, for example. The cable protection is useful because it means that all connections to the outside environment are through the surge protector, so a lightning strike to your aerial shouldn't damage your TV.
Finally there is a 'cable management' device which I personally think it kind of pointless. I have over 10 cables coming out of one of these devices and there is a clip like device which is meant to bundle all the cables together so make things look neater. But to be honest it still looks a mess and it is near impossible to fit 10 cables in this clip. Nice idea, but totally impractical with a device this size.
This model (F9G726uk3M-GRY) is one of three products offered in the UK that has the top level of protection that Belkin offer (unlimited warranty) . It seems that the other two products have now have been discontinued, meaning that this product is the only remaining product on sale which offers an unlimited warranty on connected equipment (the Connected Equipment Warranty) for the life of the product and should the surge protector no longer work, Belkin will replace it free of charge (Manufacturer's Lifetime Warranty). Finally there is a 'Data Recovery Warranty' which Belkin provide should the hard drive malfunction - Belkin will pay for professional data recovery services.
As I said, the Connected Equipment Warranty is up to a value of 'Unlimited', meaning you can attach a 100 foot flat screen OLED TV, along with an amplifier with 1000 surround sound speakers (encrusted with diamonds set in pure platinum) to it and still be insured should the device fail to protect the system from a power surge. The next lowest level of protection that Belkin offer is at £175,000 for newer models. I admit that this is still quite a lot of money, but perhaps if you look a consider inflation then if you happen to still be using the protector (or a replacement) in 40 years time then £175,000 will be worth much less then it does now. Perhaps you could protect your electric Ferrari from power surges in the year 2030. Jokes aside, it's an outstanding insurance offered by Belkin who are so confident that the product will protect against power surges. Although you could say the unlimited level is a bit excessive.
I have actually had to replace one of the two protectors a year or two ago. You must remember to keep the receipt (which has faded significantly over 5 years) and contact Belkin customer support within 15 days of the occurrence. What had happened with mine was that the 'protected' light was no longer lit, kind of worrying seeing as that's half of what the device was meant to do. No worries. simply call Belkin, tell them of the problem and if the device is defective/equipment is damaged they will look at replacing the device and any damaged equipment. They send you an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorisation) and you post the surge protector back to them. They then sent a brand new surge protector in it's place (identical model in my case). The only gripe is the telephone call. It takes ages. You automatically disconnect after 10 minutes or so. Once you get through though, everything should be fine.
So what you have here is a device that gives you peace of mind. Not only can you get it indefinitely replaced should it malfunction, you get unlimited protection for your electronic equipment. The unswitched socket is a nice addition, and I highly recommend the device for protecting your Audio/Visual systems or your desktop computer environment. I'm even using a smaller 4 way surge protector (F9H410uk2M) to protect a fish tank! Getting through to support is a bit troublesome, but they were helpful the first time I had to contact them. Seeing as you will only have to contact them on a regular basis, I don't think it warrants a removal of a star, but I've given 4/5 for 'ease of use' and my actual overall rating would be 4.8/5.