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!
Up until now my ReTrak reviews have mainly been of basic retractable cables. However, this is different – a Kindle charger that works via USB, mains or car power outlet. It’s a meaty box with lots of options for the Kindle owner.
In the box you get a retractable a Micro USB cable that you can use to connect your Kindle to a USB device to charge. The cable is up to the usual high standard of ReTrak devices – it works smoothly and is well manufactured.
However, you also get a power connector. This is made of black, glossy plastic and has a number of functions. On one end are 2 USB sockets – you can not only connect your Kindle to this but something else as well. The output of these is 1.2A, which I assume is each, not across the two. This would make this over twice the power of a “standard” USB charger, so you will find your device charges quicker than usual. Pull the pointed cap off the end and there’s a plug for a car power outlet so you can charge your Kindle (and other devices) whilst “out and about”. Lastly, fold down the red pin on another side and you have a mains plug. As with other ReTrak products this uses the ThinPlug technology to reduce the plug’s footprint to a minimum.
All of this will work with Kindle 2, Kindle 3, Kindle 3G, Kindle DX and Kindle Fire.
Once again I passed this onto my daughter to try out and she immediately came across the one and only issue – because of the horizontal design of the adapter when plugged into the left hand side of a double mains socket it will obscure the right socket. Plug into the right socket and, although it doesn’t obscure the left socket, it’s very difficult to access the USB connector on the left of the adapter if something is plugged in next to it.
My only point of note is that with this device I can’t see the advantage of the ThinPlug design – normally it allows the earth pin to be folded down allowing the resulting device to be shortner, much better for mobility. However, for this adapter the physical charger unit limits the height and the folding pin doesn’t make the unit much smaller. Indeed, because of the other pins sticking out at right angles to the main unit the device isn’t as practical as other ReTrak products for packing away in a bag.
For a limited time PC World are selling the Kindle 4-in-1 Charger for £9.99, instead of the usual £24.99, representing a 60% saving.
[review]A brilliant all-in-one charging solution for the Kindle. As it works with other Micro USB devices as well (and, in fact, you can plug any USB charger into the actual charging device) you can also use this for all sorts of other devices too. Well made, only the the fact it tends to block other mains sockets being a weak point.[/review]