Screw the economy; when you go to cart away that new flat panel HDTV from Best Buy, young pimple-faced Mr. or Miss Blue Shirt is going to try to load on a $200 (or higher) Monster-brand surge protector to keep your new investment safe from a whole host of devastating electrical problems.

Also in the high-priced range is the Tributaries T12 power strip, with eight rotating power receptacles and Ethernet, phone and cable protection.

It’s $120, which is too expensive for anything labeled a “power strip” that doesn’t include a uninterruptible power supply/battery backup for your gadgets. I don’t care what brand or label it falls under.

That said, it’s a damn shame the T12 costs over $100, because it’s one of the handiest power strips/surge protectors I’ve ever used.

Eight of the 12 sockets rotate 90 degrees to get whatever AC adapter you’re using out of the way of everything else. The 12 also delivers 4320 joules of surge suppression. It’s rated for 15 amps for up to 1875 watts of load — enough for several computers or your entire home theater and much more. It also offers a $25,000 warranty on plugged-in devices.

We’re basically rounding out the year with this review, because we started 2008 by introducing everyone to the Powramid — an innovative pyramid-shaped power strip.

Like the Powramid, the T12 is superior in almost all ways (except cost of course) to traditional power strips. The sockets are arranged — and move — to accommodate all of your many gadgets.

Plenty of people on the blogs have asked why you need 12 plugs. I’m a big nerd, but I don’t run a multiple display setup or keep my video game consoles on my desk. I managed to basically fill up the T12 with what I would think is a normal amount of computer junk:

  • Computer
  • Monitor
  • Cell phone charger
  • Wireless mouse charger
  • External hard drive
  • Cable modem
  • Router
  • Printer
  • Computer speakers
  • Digital camera charger

So it’s not the plugs that are the problem.

Price is the problem, and there are somewhat comparable products out there for less.

Just be careful. Don’t go to the dollar store and buy “Joe’s brand surge protector” and be aware of the cheap imitations of the cheap imitations with fake UL certifications.

Bottom line: you don’t absolutely need to spend $120 for a decent power strip, but if you’re spending thousands on a home theater with all the trimmings, don’t think you can get away for a $5 one either.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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