Despite the promise of long-lasting batteries and more efficient processors, our tablets, phones, and other devices all seem to die just as fast or faster than they ever did. Have you noticed how adding more lanes to a freeway doesn’t reduce traffic jams? Well, we feel that electronics are similar – most of us have more than one electronic item that must be charged each night. While chargers might not seem the sexiest of accessories, they are definitely essential to the 21st-century plugged-in lifestyle!
The Bracketron Twist & Charge USB Charger is probably the most unique charger we have seen. With no prongs of its own, this turns any 2- or 3- prong plug into a USB charger by using the prongs of another charger. Small and packing flat, you simply rotate out the flat panel, stick the blades of your charger, in our case a MacBook Pro charger from Apple, and plug the combination into the wall. To be honest, we a bit unsure of it at first, but after it was put to the test traveling the country we found it to be very reliable. Plus, the Twist & Charge freed up a socket whenever we used it. Very cool rethink of the USB charger paradigm. Count us charged up!
For more information on the Bracketron Twist & Charge USB Charger visit: www.bracketron.com
Using a Virgin Mobile BlackBerry over the past couple of years was a lesson in paying attention to the amperage USB chargers. Much of the time, plug a charger into a BlackBerry and you get a notice saying the charger isn’t able to charge a system. This can happen with any device such as an iPad that demands higher current to properly charge. The best solution is a high-capacity charger, and among the most capable and stylish is a new line of chargers from Ventev, a division of TESSCO Technologies. We tested their Wallport R2200 Dual-USB charger, which has two 2.1 AMP USB ports, for charging two devices at once without worrying about a full-charge, or taking any extra time.
Ventev also manufactures a lower-amperage unit, the Wallport 2100, which is smaller and can charge one high-capacity unit or two lower-amperage units, but for our money, we can’t charge our devices fast enough, so we prefer the R2200’s extra amperage. Stylistically, the units are covered in a soft rubbery material, the prongs fold flat so as not to snag on your threads, and they have a variety of cables in different colors that will cover any needs, such as chargesync Apple 30-pin cables, chargesync apple lightning cables, and the chargesync micro cables, all of which are flat and tangle free. We also tested their car chargers, and found the sleek, smooth, dashport r1200 charger our favorite, with fast charge rates even with our iPad. It might sound trivial, but we really enjoyed the varied color schemes. Most cables are awash in a sea of black, so a bit of color helps keep our cables sorted out. The build quality is first rate, and mesh well with their entire product line.
For more information on the Ventev Wallport R2200 Dual-USB charger visit: http://mobileaccessories.ventev.com
Some of the most style-driven accessories we have seen in a while are from TYLT, which feature colorful minimalist designs, flat tangle-free cables, screen protectors complete with highly stylized green alignment guides, and a square Y-shaped dual USB car charger. TYLT whose motto is “Built to TYLT” has a product line that ranges from a portable Bluetooth Speaker to headphones. We looked at their Y-Charge Dual USB Car Charger and Band Car Charger. The Y-Charge features a 2.1 Amp rating, and worked well in our car to charge dual devices. Both have a nice rubbery finish, and feel great in your hand. The Band features a single Micro USB connector at the end of a 2-foot long flat cable with an open USB port at the base so you can charge up to two devices. Both the Y-Charge and Band are carefully designed stylish charging solutions.
For more information on TYLT visit: http://tylt.com
Traveling, either to your office, or to the jungles of Peru, usually means one thing: cable management. (Well, maybe a few other things but let’s just look at cable management for now.) Even the best charging solutions don’t seem to provide an easy carrying case, and if they do, they normally only fit one device. Lots of folks make carrying and accessory cases, but few do it as nicely as STM, a company that began just outside Sydney, Australia. Over the years they have produced a wide-range of products ranging from fully featured backpacks to the smallest STM bag we tested, the Cable Wrap is an accessory bag they describe as “like a burrito for your digital gear.” It’s a grey nylon bag that unfurls to reveal a set of business card holders, a zipped see-through accessory pouch, a non-zipped see-through pouch, plus a few balloon pockets for cables, chargers, whatever. It all rolls up and secures with a little nylon connector. Nicely made, and sure to help you remember to pack your camera cable, charger, and bottle opener when hiking the Inca Trail, or heading for Cockatoo Island for one of their fabulous art festivals.
For more information on the STM Cable Wrap visit: www.stmbags.com
Harris Fogel & Nancy Burlan, Posted 10/2/13