Review: Ten One Design's Stella Helps You Plug in Your MacBook in the Dark

by

Ten One Design is known for some useful Mac and iOS products, like the Blockhead that changes the orientation of your MacBook power adapter and the Mountie+ that transforms the iPad into a second screen for a Mac, but it's newest product, the Stella MacBook Power Cord, is perhaps the company's most interesting accessory to date.

Stella features a built-in LED that activates whenever it senses a faint electrical field next to an electrical receptacle like a power outlet, resulting in a bright light that comes on whenever you go to plug it in.

stellatenonedesign2
The idea behind the Stella is to provide a bit of light when attempting to plug your cord in while it's dark, which, admittedly, is not a situation that most people are likely to encounter on a regular basis.

Stella snaps onto a MacBook's power adapter where the extension cable would normally go, essentially replacing the standard Apple extension cable (or short prong portion). The part of the Stella that connects to the power adapter is white and it looks rather similar to the regular extension cable, so there are no surprises there.

stelladesign
The cord of the Stella is made from a nice, flexible braided material that looks great and is a less unwieldy than the Apple branded extension cable. The cable itself is 1.8m long, like the Apple extension cable.

I don't use an extension cable with my MacBook Pro power adapter because the USB-C cable is generally long enough for most places where I need to plug in, so I do wish that there was an option for a set of light up prongs sans extra cable.

stellatenonecord
Ten One Design accounted for extra cord, though, with a handy bi-directional slide out clip that can hold the additional wound up cable in place. There's so much cable that it doesn't work well on the 29W/30W MacBook adapter, but winds up nicely on the larger 87W MacBook Pro adapter. Because the cord is flexible, it stays wound up neatly.

The Stella website says the cord was designed with the 85/87W chargers in mind, wrapping around them eight times. It also works with the 61W chargers, but you'll need to wrap it around an additional time or two.

stellawinding
The plug part of the Stella is grooved and shaped in a way that's simple to grip, and it comes in either blue or aqua. The plug is smaller than the plug of the Apple extension cable, and it is two pronged instead of three pronged. It also takes up less space than a MacBook power adapter without an extension cable, so it's a good way to save outlet real estate if you have a lot of things plugged in.

The Stella's LED is located right above the two prongs, and in my testing, it reliably lit up every time it was next to a power outlet, providing sufficient light to find the outlet's holes even in the darkest room.

stellaplugled
It starts lighting up when it's about a foot away from the outlet, which seems to be an ideal distance. Ten One Designs says this distance can vary, though, depending on the strength of the outlet and based on factors like the material covering the outlet.

Stella also lights up near other devices that are plugged in, so you'll see it light up if it's located near your MacBook, your toaster, your TV, or anything else. It needs to be in close proximity, though, so I never found the LED to be irritating.

stellaplugled2
I didn't run into any issues with Stella failing to light up, but Ten One Design says that if you hold it sideways against a receptacle it will always light up, which can be useful in situations where an outlet has low signal.

stellapluggedin
Once plugged in, the light on the Stella goes out within a few seconds, so it's not going to keep shining in a dark room.

stellapluglitup
Stella is compatible with all MacBook chargers, 10W and 12W iPad chargers, and PC laptop chargers, though there are different editions for PCs and Macs.

Bottom Line

Ten One Design's Stella is neat, but it's something of a novelty. At $34.95, it's rather expensive when you can just use the flashlight on your phone or a light switch.

Stella is undeniably useful when you might want to plug in your MacBook cable with the lights out, but I can't imagine that such a situation is a regular occurrence for most people.

Apple's USB-C MacBooks don't ship with an extension cable anymore, with Apple instead selling them for $19. Stella is priced at $34.95, which means it's a $15.95 premium over what you can get from Apple.

Whether that's worth it for the braided cable and the built-in light will depend on your needs. If you work in the dark a lot or travel often, the Stella is potentially worth the upgrade, but if you're not moving your power adapter on a regular basis, it's probably not worth the extra cost.

Ten One Design has said that it plans to license Stella technology to other manufacturers, so it's possible we may see more useful applications in the future with the light up functionality perhaps added to power adapters of other types, such as those meant for iPhones or iPads.

How to Buy

The Stella MacBook Power Cord can be purchased from the Ten One Design website for $34.95.

Note: Ten One Design provided MacRumors with a Stella MacBook Power Cord for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Top Rated Comments

OldSchoolMacGuy Avatar
30 months ago
Total number of times I've needed to plug my MacBook Pro in in the dark: 0

Total times I'd need a $35 device to do so: Never
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hortod1 Avatar
30 months ago
The wall socket is over 100 years old. How on earth we've managed this long as a society without this clearly necessary and life-altering gizmo is truly unfathomable.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SBlue1 Avatar
30 months ago
Is this an ad or a review? I am missing some pros and cons so it looks like this is an ad trying to look like a review.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LarryNyquil Avatar
30 months ago
$35 and it doesn't even include a grounding pin?

I realize it's not STRICTLY necessary but come on...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Digital Dude Avatar
30 months ago
I purchased it as soon as I saw it here on MacRumors. As a power-traveler, I often struggle to use the brick alone in some hotels or older homes I visit.

1) The wall receptacle internal prongs are so worn out; the weight of the Apple brick won't stay connected and drops to the floor.
2) In other cases, the wall outlet is behind some non-movable object whereby I can't reach the wall receptacle with the power brick.

The fabric covered AC cable is longer than the Apple version and is more pliable, so it's easier to stuff in my small cable accessory bag. As for the light, I didn't think it would be bright enough to be of any value, but I was wrong. The price compared to the Apple cable, required that I forego a second Starbuck's drink for 2-days.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Koodauw Avatar
30 months ago
This really seems like a proof concept product, not one that has actual use.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Flat MacBook Air Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on 'Thinner and Lighter' High-End MacBook Air With MagSafe, Could Launch in Second Half of 2021

Friday January 22, 2021 3:34 am PST by
Apple is working on a "thinner and lighter" version of the MacBook Air that the company plans to release during the second half of this year at the earliest or in 2022, according to a new report by well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. It will include Apple's MagSafe charging technology and a next-generation version of the company's in-house Mac processors. Apple has discussed...
Top Stories 44 Feature

Top Stories: 'Thinner and Lighter' MacBook Air, Smaller iPhone 13 Notch, iOS 14.4 Incoming

Saturday January 23, 2021 6:00 am PST by
We continued to hear a lot more about Apple's plans for its Mac lineup this week, including word of a high-end redesigned MacBook Air and the return of an SD card slot as part of the upcoming MacBook Pro redesign. It also sounds like Apple has been working on Face ID for Mac, but it won't be appearing in a redesigned iMac this year as originally planned. This week also saw rumors about the...
Apple VR Feature

Bloomberg: Apple's First AR/VR Headset 'Pricey, Niche Precursor' to More Ambitious AR Glasses and Could Launch Next Year

Thursday January 21, 2021 3:27 am PST by
Apple's first virtual reality headset will be a "pricey, niche precursor" to a more ambitious augmented reality product, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3-D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating. AR functionality, the ability to overlay images and information over a view...
iOS 15 icon mock banner

iOS 15 Rumored to Drop Support for iPhone 6s and 2016 iPhone SE

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:58 am PST by
Apple's upcoming iOS 15 operating system, which we expect to see unveiled in June, is rumored to be dropping support for a few of Apple's older iPhones. According to French site iPhoneSoft, iOS 15 will not be able to be installed on the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 6s Plus, or the 2016 iPhone SE, all of which have an A9 chip. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were introduced in 2015 and are now more...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Bloomberg: Next MacBook Pro to Feature SD Card Reader

Friday January 22, 2021 7:50 am PST by
Last week, reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlined his expectations for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models later this year, including the return of the MagSafe charging connector, the removal of the Touch Bar, a new flat-edged design, and the return of more ports built into the notebooks for expanded connectivity. A concept of a modern MacBook Pro with an SD card reader Kuo did not...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature

iPhone 13 Rumored to Feature Smaller Notch, Pro Model Cameras to Use Larger Image Sensor

Thursday January 21, 2021 1:38 am PST by
Apple's iPhone 13 series will feature a redesigned Face ID system that will allow for a smaller notch at the top of the screen, according to a new report today. The rumor comes via hit-and-miss Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, whose supply chain sources also claim that the ultra wide-angle lens in Apple's next-generation iPhones is due for an upgrade. The next-generation iPhones'...
airpods galaxy buds comparison

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Apple AirPods Pro

Friday January 22, 2021 2:34 pm PST by
Samsung in January unveiled new flagship Galaxy S21 smartphones and alongside the new phones, introduced the $200 Galaxy Buds Pro, which are priced at $199 and offer Active Noise Cancellation. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. These new Galaxy Buds Pro are clearly designed to compete with Apple's AirPods Pro, so we thought we'd compare the two sets of earbuds in our...
maxresdefault

Video Demos macOS Catalina Running on iPad Pro via x86 Emulation

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:36 am PST by
A video demonstrating macOS Catalina running on a current 2020 iPad Pro has been shared on YouTube, giving us a look at an interesting hack that has a Mac OS up and working on one of Apple's iPads. There's limited information about how the process of getting macOS Catalina on an iPad Pro works, but it uses x86 emulation and was done through the UTM software that allows virtual machines to...
2019 mac pro side and front

Tim Cook Gifted Donald Trump 'First' 2019 Mac Pro

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:45 pm PST by
Apple CEO Tim Cook gifted former United States President Donald Trump with the first 2019 Mac Pro that came off of the assembly line in Austin, Texas, according to a financial disclosure report that was released today (via The Verge). "Mac Pro Computer, the first created at the Flex Factory in Austin, Texas," reads the entry, which values the machine at $5,999, the base price for a Mac Pro....
iOS 14

Apple Seeds iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 Release Candidate to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Thursday January 21, 2021 10:14 am PST by
Apple today seeded the RC version of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a week after Apple released the second betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...