Edit 3: the question being closed due to being opinion based? The design causes problems that are not in the other design, there are no benefits provided for the restrictions that the design imposes, therefor it is an inferior/wrong design. I was really hoping to see any benefits for the traded off usability but seems there are none.

The chargers with USB port on a right or left hand side on a power board intrude on the space of the next outlet next to them, the charger with USB port on top doesn't have such a problem, my question is what is the point of symmetry breaking chargers? There are at least 3 other options that are not intrusive on the next outlet on a power board. Here is one from a big enough manufacturer that should have known better about the problems of this design by now (2021).

Edit1 : Is there a patent issue that might be forcing a manufacturer to prefer this flawed design over the other? while browsing google images I noticed more side types from the same manufacturer.

Besides patent constraints to opt for a worse design are there other any other possible factors?

Edit 2: Thanks to perfect answer by jsotola , it seems the charger might have been designed for a different setting and was never tested for the other settings, even though it might have been a perfect solution at one point having it moved over to other markets and settings no reviews was made and a perfect solution became a flawed design.

The only other possible explanation besides patent constraints on design could be financial and lack of a QA review process for a design.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – hazzey
    Sep 14, 2021 at 16:47

2 Answers 2


I think that the power adapter was probably first designed for the North American market.

For that market, the design is not flawed.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ That charger doesnt fit this type of socket. $\endgroup$
    – jimjim
    Sep 12, 2021 at 23:37
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @jimjim I did not say that it would fit ... I am saying that the overall design is suitable for one part of the world ... only the prongs change for other locations $\endgroup$
    – jsotola
    Sep 13, 2021 at 0:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @jimjim the only difference to North America plugs is the 45 degree twist in the blades. But back to your assertion, maybe your outlet is flawed. You not understanding the spec isn't the same as the design being flawed. $\endgroup$
    – Tiger Guy
    Sep 13, 2021 at 0:50
  • $\begingroup$ Yes , now I see your point , that makes sense , perfect answer $\endgroup$
    – jimjim
    Sep 13, 2021 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ This is deep, very well thought answer , having worked in factories with engineers I should have been able to see it. Maybe it should be considered under a terminology of design drift, that just changing one part of design might not be enough to keep it a correct design. $\endgroup$
    – jimjim
    Sep 13, 2021 at 2:24

IMHO, this choice is more an aesthetic rather than a functional. Also it offers a choice for a usb charger which is intented to be connected directly to a wall socket e.g. bedside (and not on a power strip).

Both designs have pros and cons.

Side end
photo enter image description here
accidental knocking (+) Better (-) more exposused
interferes with adjacent outlets (-) interferes more (+) less inteference
easier connection (-) (+)
preferred usage standalone wall sockets power strip
  • $\begingroup$ When looking at the chargers, I have noticed more chargers by one manufacturer that are type side than others, looks like that manufacturer is biased for side types. The constraint imposed on the next outlets seems to be of most significance of the all the parameters to the point that the other 3 don't matter, the end type does not have preferred usage constraint. Looks like just bad design and inability of the manufacturer to go for a design change ( unless there is a patent issue ). $\endgroup$
    – jimjim
    Sep 12, 2021 at 11:39
  • $\begingroup$ Even with wall outlets that are next to each other, only one can be used on the left most position. $\endgroup$
    – jimjim
    Sep 12, 2021 at 11:45

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