Review: kwikSynCh Charger Offers Affordable Relief from Cable Chaos

The kwikSynCh Dual Charger solves power cable clutter for road warriors, laptop jugglers and gadget heads. But it's not perfect, especially for desktop computer users.

Thu, June 21, 2007

CIO — Wouldn't it be grand if the makers of smart phones, PDAs, portable music players and other mobile devices used all the same connectors on their chargers and sync wires? Then you could use your old Treo power cord to, say, juice up that shiny new BlackBerry. Or your Nokia sync wire could help update your iTunes library. And just imagine how much more room you'd have in your travel bag.

Malleable Devices's (MDI) kwikSynCh Dual Charger is the closest thing to a true universal charger that I've encountered. It can replenish your phone or iPod's battery and sync data, and it can charge two devices simultaneously via a USB port, wall or automobile outlet.

The 2.8-oz. kwikSynCh is a hard-plastic nub about the size of a quarter, with three short cables jutting out: two at the top and one from the bottom. The bottom cable ends in a male USB connector, which you can plug into a laptop for charging or data transfer (at up to 480 Mbps), or attach to a wall or car adapter for power. The two cables on the opposite side are female USB ports. You plug in special nibs, or "mTips," to connect to specific devices. One cable is solely for charging, while the other can be used to power up or to transfer data between a device and a computer.

The charger is great for laptop-equipped folks on the go, and it can provide true value-as well as save money and frustration-to such users. However, without a laptop, the thing's more of a headache than it is helpful. It's so short that plugging it into a wall outlet or a desktop PC leaves your devices hanging by their mTips, unless there's a surface closer than a foot from the wall outlet or USB port.

Plugging In
The best thing about the kwikSynCh charger is its lineup of mTips for a wide array of devices, including smart phones like Treos or BlackBerrys, Bluetooth headsets, MP3 players, portable game systems, GPS navigators and digital cameras. Three types of mTips are available: nibs for charging, nibs for data transfer and nibs that do both. Each costs $6.95, while the kwikSynCh itself sells for $14.95.

The device functions with any standard USB 2.0 port; it works with PCs, Macs and Linux computers. The company also supplies U.S. wall or car adapters and wall adapters for the U.K. and Europe.

One of the kwikSynCh charger's coolest features is its price. With mTips for BlackBerry, iPod and a Garmin GPS navigator, the kwikSynCh charger costs about $35. For less than $50 you get a versatile charger that can charge three or more devices. Whenever you get a new device, just pick up a new mTip and you're good to go. In contrast, USB data cables and chargers from firms like Belkin or i-Go will run you about $30-and they're not customizable, so you can charge only a few devices.

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