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One of the many annoyances that many PDA and smartphone users may face is how to deal with that charging USB cable when not in use. It’s fine and dandy that we need the longest cable we can get but, when we aren’t using it, what to do with the lengthy cable? One of the best inventions for the mobile community has got to be retractable cable.
It’s such a great idea that these retractable cables has an internal spring coil inside that will enable us to pull at the opposite ends of the cable to extend the length and let it click at a predetermined locking length and then give a slight pull again for it to recoil back into the coil. Such a simple but very useful idea. Thankfully, this retractable idea has gone into mobile charging cables as well.
For those who want to skip over all the detailed review and just want a summary, you can jump to the review summary
One of the nice features of having a retractable cable is that they will be just as functional as a regular cable, extending to about as long as a non-retractable one, but be able to easily retract to a compact, easily pocketable size. As well, the cables themselves are normally much thinner and flatter than the regular cables.
To extend the cable, simply tug or pull at both opposites ends of the cable (in most cases, tugging at the USB and the PDA/smartphone connector end) with equal amount of force. This is important as you want to ensure that the same length of cable will be extended so that when you want to retract the cable that the spring will be be able to do so. Otherwise, you will discover that one side will be fully retracted while the other side is still slack and extended. Not good.
If done correctly, when you pull the cable, you will feel a slight tug from the internal spring at the center of the cable which helps to retract it back should you wish to do so. Pulling the cable at both ends, you should find at various lengths, you should hear a click as the cable has reached a self locking point. Should you gently release your pull of the cable, it will retract slightly by itself until the cable stops due to the self locking mechanism in the retractable spring. This is how you can set various lengths of the cable, eliminating the typical cable tangle problem that can occur when cables are too long. To retract the cable, again, tug with each strength at the opposite ends of the cable until you hear the click again and then slowly allow the internal spring to wrap the slack cable back inside the center. It’s very simple. Just make sure you pull on both sides of the cable with equal force to extend and retract. Pull to extend. Pull slightly to hear the click and to retract.
Pics of USB Fever’s Retractable USB Charging Cable
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Video of USB Fever’s Retractable USB Charging Cable
Here are my observations: This is a retractable charging PDA/smartphone cable that charges via the USB port of your computer or USB hub or similar devices. As such, keep in mind that you are trickle charging, meaning a small trickle of electricity goes into your PDA/smartphone at a time. So, don’t expect that you can fully charge your Treo in the same short amount of time it takes if you were plugging it into the wall.
I really like this cable because it seems to be the longest retractable charging PDA cable that I own. I have a few others but this seems to be the longest one. They are all around about the same length but this one from USB Fever gives a slight few more inches over them. The spring seems to work well, although the spring back or the internal spring isn’t as tight or the internal coil doesn’t pull the cable with as much force as others I’ve owned. So it’s important that you keep watch that the cable is retracting back. Also, I have noticed that the cable may wrap and twist as it gets retracted back in. This may, over time, cause problems as the cable may not retract back as easily as it would because as the cable twists and wraps the internal spring can’t keep its pull on the cable as well as it may otherwise. So again, keep watch of the cable to ensure that it doesn’t wrap around when it gets retracted back.
The other thing that I dislike is that that unlike many other similar retractable cables is that you can’t see the cable once it’s retracted back. With many retractable cables, you can see whether the cable has twisted itself inside. With this particular set up, you can’t. This makes it harder to know if the cable has been incorrectly wrapped and twisted, but most times, you should have an idea if the cable isn’t easily retracting back. In this case, you may have to fully extend the cable to the end and then try to make sure that you ensure that the cable doesn’t get twisted when it’s retracted and coiled back. You may discover that it has simply by viewing the cable as it’s being retracted.
Another observation to note is that this retractable charging cable does not have a hotsync button so if you tend to hotsync your PDA or smartphone, you may find it a bit of an annoyance to have to initiate the hotsync by going into the hotsync program instead of pressing a button on the cable. This slight problem can be solved if you have a program like Standalone’s TypeRight or other programs that can initiate a hotsync either when you plug it into the charging cable or cradle or other criteria.
USB Fever’s Retractable PDA 2-in-1 Sync & Charging Cable is a very good retractable charging cable for PDAs. I have observed that the length of the cable is slightly longer than other cables I have so this is a plus if you need that extra bit of length. It works to charge the PDA and allow the transfer of data. However, it does NOT have a hotsync button that some other retractable charging PDA cables may offer, so in order to initiate a hotsync, you will need to go into the hotsync program and manually initiate the hotsync process or use other third party software solutions. As well, I have also noticed that the cable can easily twist and wrap when it’s retracted back inside the spring coil. If you leave it twisted, it may affect how effective the cable can be retracted back inside over time. As well, since the center coil is covered, you can’t see whether the cable is twisted inside, which also doesn’t help when determining whether the cable is correctly retracted without twisting. So, you should take care when retracting the cable to ensure that it’s retracting back without twisting.
Overall, the cable works as stated but my main concern is that the cable can easily twist when retracted back and it’s harder to tell when the center coil is covered all around. This problem can happen with other retractable cables, but I think it seems easier to allow it to wrap and twist with this particular retractable cable. So keep that in mind.
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