How many adapter units and cords can one laptop case hold? We ponder this each time our briefcase falls open to a jumbled snarl of cords. Soon we’ll leave most of the blinking black boxes behind and tote only one of the new combination models that fit a full menu of electronic devices — and plug into planes, trains, automobiles, and the home outlet, too.


TARGUS UNIVERSAL AUTO AIR ADAPTER, $120


Pros:Plugs into car and airline power sources; uses patented PowerTips for compatibility with most laptops, cell phones, and other devices.

 

Cons: If you use both AC and DC sources, you’ll also need the Universal AC adapter for home or hotel.

 

Bottom line: For the truly mobile user, this lightweight device could be all you need.
More info: www.targus.com
iGO JUICE, $120

 

Pros: Powers laptop and cell phone or PDA at the same time, and plugs into both AC and DC power sources.

 

Cons: The laptop adapter comes complete, but each additional device requires an extra cable at about $20 each.

 

Bottom line: One (relatively inexpensive) adapter for everything in your briefcase — and any location? Snap it up.
More info: www.mobilityelectronics.com
IBM THINKPAD AC/DC COMBO ADAPTER, $119

 

Pros: Powers up with either AC or DC sources, and you can holler for help from IBM tech support.

 

Cons: Like many older power adapters, it can only be used with one laptop brand. And it weighs in at one pound plus.

 

Bottom line: A good option for Thinkpad users, but you’re stuck with extra cables for other devices.
More info: www.ibm.com