Once you have a Gomadic Retractable Sync Cable, you can charge and sync your various devices with an available USB port on your computer or laptop. But what happens when you’re on the road and you don’t need your laptop? Fortunately Gomadic has some self-contained power solutions that can keep you powered up no matter what situation you may find yourself in.
Rapid Wall AC Travel Charger
This accessory (bottom right in the photo, shown without tip) has a small charger “brick” with sideways prongs, and LED indicator light, and enough cord to reach from the outlet to your desk. A female port is on the end, designed for you to plug in whatever TipExchange tip you need to charge your device. The charger is very light, and I like the relatively slim design, because it’s easier to pack in a gear bag or suitcase. The “brick” is about 2 1/2 inches long, just under an inch wide, and 2.5 inches thick including the prongs of the plug, which don’t fold in for storage/travel. There’s also an LED on the bottom edge close to the cord that glows green when you plug it into an outlet, so that you know power is being supplied.
The beauty of this charger that it can be used with any of Gomadic’s TipExchange accessories, meaning that it can charge just about any device you could possible throw at it, including PDAs, cell phones, and the like. If you’re lucky enough to have all of your devices supported by TipExchange, all you need when you travel is this charger and the necessary tips, which will certainly lighten the load and end the clutter in your gear bag. The Rapid Wall AC Travel Charger is $19.95, which includes one device-specific tip.
Emergency AA Battery Extender
This handy little accessory (bottom left in photo, shown with a tip) is designed for those who don’t know if they’ll have access to a wall outlet, but still need to be able to charge their portable electronics at any time. It measures just a bit over 2 1/2 inches long, 2 3/8 inches wide, and 5/8 of an inch thick, which is just barely bigger than the four AA batteries it holds. A six inch cord terminates in a female TipExchange plug that you can plug any of your Gomadic tips into to connect the device that needs to be charged. The extender worked well in my tests with everything except the Dell Axim X51v–it requires more power than other handhelds, and it wouldn’t charge. A company support representative said that it might work with high capacity rechargeable batteries, but I didn’t have any available to try it with. You can get one for $19.95, which includes one device-specific tip.
1 Amp High Output USB Wall Charger
The wall charger (top left in photo) was a pleasant surprise–unlike any other USB charger I’ve tried to date, this is the only one that actually works with my Dell Axim X51v, making it a definite winner in my book. The best thing about this product is the flexibility–you can use it with the Gomadic retractable USB cable with TipExchange to power a variety of devices, or you can use it with any other device-specific cable, including the Nintendo DS Lite, third-party Nokia and Kyocera charger cables, etc. Even if Gomadic doesn’t make a special tip for your device, if you can find a USB cable for it, this charger will still power it up for you.
If it only had folding prongs it would have earned the coveted PocketGoddess “Perfect 10″ award, but it still has earned a permanent spot in my gear bag. Its use of modular technology makes it even more flexible than the Rapid Wall AC Travel Charger reviewed above, and I like the fact that there’s no cord to deal with (since a retractable sync cable is easier to manage on the road). Sure, there are plenty of other universal USB wall chargers out there, but this one has the extra power necessary for power-hungry devices like my Axim. It’s small and easy to carry (no extra parts or power cords, like with the iGo mobile power products), and best of all, it’s only $14.95 at the Gomadic online store.