Mobile professionals use handhelds and smartphones to keep in touch with co-workers, clients and family. These devices are very handy, and some with wireless capabilities allow road warriors to effectively work away from the office, even without a full computer around. But current batteries can't hold enough charge for a longer trip. Some of these devices can actually be charged directly from the USB connected cradle, but sometimes is not convenient to carry the cradle alongside all other stuff we have to have on us. Or sometimes we don't have the laptop handy to charge our PDA.
Enter miniSync, a product from Boxwave (affiliate link). I was contacted a couple of weeks ago and arrangements were made to have a box of adapters, cables, chargers, etc sent to me. Actually a lot of fun to open the box and start using the products .
Let's start with miniSync itself. It's a USB cradle replacement, including synchronisation and charging on the same product. It's a very thin cable, but according to BoxWave it's reinforced. The full extension is 89cm (35"), but it is no more than 11.5cm when fully retracted inside its rubber coated housing. To extend it simply pull both sides. Every 15cm or so you'll feel a "click". If you stop pulling then it'll stay there. To retract it simply pull it entirely and it will retract back due to springs within the housing. This way you can vary the distance and extend it only to the required length. Very clever.
The cable will charge your PDA or phone (depending on model of course) and also act as a synchronisation cradle. It works with select models of Windows Mobile Pocket PC and Smartphone (ActiveSync), Palm devices (Hotsync) and will act as a charger and data cable for some Samsung and Sanyo mobile phones (including the Sanyo 8100).
Of course each device will use different pins, so it's important to select the correct device from BoxWave's website. Even if the adapter fits the device, different pins may cause a discharge instead of a recharge! I'll not list all the devices here, but there are versions for Pocket PC and Smartphone (Asus, Audiovox, Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, i-mate, HTC, Mitac, Motorola, O2 XDA, Toshiba, Viewsonic), Palm (Garmin, Handspring, palmOne, Sony Clie) and the two mobile phones branded list before (Samsung and Sanyo).
The correct way to use the miniSync is to extend the cable as described, plug the USB side into a desktop or laptop computer, replacing the cradle or data cable entirely, as you can see below.
As it just happens, more and more users are not carrying laptops at all. Modern PDAs and Smartphones can be just as good in terms of connectivity and contact/calendar management. Of course, if your laptop is not around you'll need another way to charge your device. As part of the review box, I've got another two devices that complement miniSync, so you can even use it to charge your PDA or smartphone in these situations.
The first one is a cigarette lighter charger. Interestingly it fits all miniSync models by simply inserting the USB plug into the charger. Then simply insert into any car power adapter and you can start charging your device. This is specially useful for smartphones and mobile phones, when you need the device not only for PDA related activities, but also to be contactable at any time!
The next gadget was the battery adapter, which I call Emergency Charger! This is for those times when you're away from your laptop, away from your car, but need to power your device. Easy: insert 4 AA batteries, turn it to ON, and plug the miniSync USB connector into the battery adapter. According to BoxWave you can get up to five charges from this device (depending on PDA model, of course). Now that's handy.
There's also a wall charger, but I didn't receive this one. I've checked their website and the charger comes with US and European plugs, so you might have to arrange some adapter for those strange plugs around the world (like the ones we use in New Zealand and Australia). You should have no problem with voltage because it operates from 100V to 240V.
As for me, I'm already using miniSync in the office and in the car to keep my Smartphone charged. Since I already use the cradle at home I needed something like this. I'm very pleased with the results and the flexibility, I'm sure you will appreciate this too .