By: Jonathan Kwan
April 24, 2006
When you buy a new digital audio player nowadays, you wouldn't expect it to come with an AC power adapter. Why? Manufacturers want to cut down manufacturing costs, creating a greater profit. How does the manufacturer expect you to recharge the battery? The most common way is recharge using USB. Sure, this can be very convenient, synchronizing with your computer and charging at the same time. Better yet, you'll save an additional wall outlet.
Recharging via your computer's USB port may be somewhat a convenience, but think again: what if you are on trip and a computer is unavailable for use with charging? What if this... what if that? If you weren't reading this article, the only way to solve this problem is to go out and purchase an AC adapter designed specifically for the device you wish to charge -- often costing you an arm and a leg. You might argue that purchasing a generic $10 AC adapter from eBay for your Zen Micro can be the ticket, but for less common consumer electronics such as MobiBLU's DAH-1500i, you are pretty much out of luck but to leave a burnt hole in your pocket from purchasing an AC adapter from the manufacturer. Worst of all, the AC adapter you paid for is usually only compatible with one product.
Fortunately, we got an excellent solution. Ever thought of an USB power adapter? If you haven't, the designers over at ZIP-LINQ did. Not only that, they came up with one for your car, one for wall plugs with the third unit for both.
Our review units came in an UPS envelope. Bobby over at ZIP-LINQ was generous enough to provide us three different adapters!
Today we'll be taking a look at three products from ZIP-LINQ -- an USB to AC adapter as well as an USB to DC 12v (Car) adapter. In addition to what I just listed, they sent us an additional unit which can be used at home and in your car. It's pretty cool that they combined both units together into one.
The unit on the left is model ZIP-PWR-X2 (Power X2 Dual DC & AC to 5V USB Adapter) which can be used for wall outlets as well as DC 12v outlet in cars. It is basically a combination of units on the right, which are ZIP-LINQ's ZIP-PWR-AC (AC Wall Plug to 5V USB Adapter) and ZIP-PWR-DC (12V DC Auto Plug to 5V USB Adapter), respectively.
The ideas behind these products are very simple. Instead of plugging the device you wish to charge into your computer's USB port, simply connect it to the USB 'port' on the ZIP-LINQ adapter. Plug your adapter into a power outlet, your connected electronics will begin to charge. What else can I say? Simple idea, but very practical.
Sorry for the washed out photo, I had to use my camera's flash because it's very dark inside my garage. Anyway, I listen to my digital audio player (DAP) quite a bit in the car. With ZIP-LINQ's USB to DC 12v car adapter, charging my DAP while listening or simply charging it during driving trip is very convenient. This is especially handy when I use Belkin's Tunecast II FM Transmitter since using the FM transmitter also means having my DAP at a high volume; the higher the volume, the faster the juice in my battery goes away.
Basically, these are very innovative and practical products and have a broad range of use. Not only that, you can use them at home as well as your vehicle. What more can I say? These adapters can accommodate anything that requires a standard USB port to top up its battery; the only thing you need is provide an USB cable that works with your electronics -- and the cable usually comes with the device you wish to charge anyway. The only negative points I can see is that the USB 'port' on all three of our review units aren't not too good at holding my USB cables in place (My USB cables doesn't fall out, it just feels a bit loose), in addition to that, it will not charge any faster than your computer's USB port as opposed to faster charging offered by many AC adapters. Despite its relatively minor drawbacks, I would still highly recommend these products. I know I said it before, but I can't resist saying it again: They are extremely practical products and very innovative, for around ten dollars each, buy the ones you need because it's a definite must have for people who owns lots of gadgets that requires USB to charge. I haven't handed out a score of 9.5 along with an APH Recommended for a long time, but these products are the ones that truly deserve our award.
Special thanks to Bobby over at ZIP-LINQ for making this review possible.
Note: The number ratings below has been adjusted accordingly to comply with our new Number Rating System.
Rating: 8/10 | APH Recommended
What do these ratings mean?
Accommodates and charges any electronic device that charges via USB, which means 99% of all gadgets manufactured today. It can do a better job in holding USB cables in place, however.