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ReTrak, popular in the US, are now selling their range of products in the UK at retailers such as PC World, Dixons and Amazon.

You may have come across retractable cables before – often found on portable mice for laptops, they wind excess cable into real which is suspended half way along the cable length. What ReTrak have done is improved upon this, added other new technologies and then created a huge range of products. Basically, what you get are a range of electrical accessories that take up as little space as possible.

Their range includes computer, visual and audio cables along with power supplies, headphones, iPhone and eBook products, mice and even a retractable mouse mat with built-in USB hub!

What I particularly like about ReTrak’s range of cables is that even when they produce a version with multiple connections, they still make individual cheaper versions too.

Take, HDMI cables. ReTrak have 4 in their range – 3 with specific connections and 1 with a “exchangeable tip” connection.

The 3 with specific cables all have a standard HDMI male connector on one side and then either another matching connector on the other (EUCABLEHDAA) or a micro (EUCABLEHDAD) or mini (EUCABLEHDAC) connector. The first is the “standard” connector that you’ll probably find on your PC, monitor or TV. The mini and micro connectors are often found on smaller devices, such as tablets or mobile phones – the micro is a lot smaller and lots very much like a micro USB port.

What all 3 cables have in common is their high quality retractability (however, due to the extra size of the reel needed to accomodate the wider HDMI cable, there’s now a button that automatically reels the cable back in), 1.5m cable length, version 1.4 compatibility, 10.2 GB bandwidth and 3-year warranty. Oh, and they all retail at £29.99.

I tried the standard connector to plug my ThinkPad Edge into my Samsung HD TV. It worked with any hitch and the image and sound was perfect.

Lastly, there’s the “multi pack” version which has interchangeable connectors. By default it has a standard HDMI connector on both ends, but also comes with a micro, mini and VGA connector which slots onto either end to convert the format. Indeed, the standard reel is the same one as in the EUCABLEHDAA pack. Each connector holds in place by two plastic “legs” which slot into ridges that run down the standard connectors edge. The cable is the same standard, bandwidth, etc, as before and still comes with a 3 year warranty. The RRP reflects that this is a 4-in-1 cable and retails at £39.99.

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[review]Without the re-tractability the standard cables can be had for a lot less. However, all 4 cables are excellent quality, as always for ReTrak, and if portability is what you need these are superb. The 4-way multi-pack version is particularly good value.[/review]
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