06
Jun
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Fun fact: I never leave home without a microUSB cable. I have a short cable that stays in my bag at all times – you know, just in case. The need for charging and the like is constant, so it's hard to say when that cable could come in handy. Several months ago, a new Kickstarter campaign hit the scene that could end my need for a USB cable in my bag, and instead put one in my wallet. I'm talking about ChargeCard, a project that ended up getting more than triple its $50,000 target goal.

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Here's the gist: it's a credit-card sized device with a pop-out full-size USB plug on one end, and (in this case) a microUSB plug on the other. There's also a variant designed for the iPhone, but naturally we're focusing on the microUSB edition here. The card itself is made of a hard plastic, while the full-size USB plug is on the end of a flexible piece of rubber. The design is quite interesting if nothing else.

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While the ChargeCard may be (basically) shaped like a credit card, it's not nearly as thin. The overall thickness of the gadget comes to about thrice that of a traditional credit card, which isn't bad considering it's a fully-functional USB cable, but it could take up a significant amount of space inside a wallet.

The idea is that you'll likely be using the card to juice your phone up from your laptop, which makes perfect sense if you're on the move. It can also be used with a traditional wall adapter, but the overall form factor makes that too awkward to be practical in my opinion.

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Speaking of, using the ChargeCard is pretty much always at least kind of awkward. Depending on the placement of your phone's microUSB port, you could be facing the choice of bending the USB attachment in odd position that feels like it will ultimately damage the ChargeCard, leaving your phone in a face-down position (which drives me nuts), or laying it on the table upside-down (as in, the front-facing camera is closes to you, instead of the navigation buttons – see the HTC One X+ image below). Also due to its quirky design, the ChargeCard makes it incredibly difficult to use the device while it's charging, which is quite contrary to that of a typical USB cable. To add to the designed oddities, the Android-compatible version of the ChargeCard's microUSB port is placed on the card at an angle, as opposed to directly on the top like the iPhone's (non-Lightning) version. This makes something as simple as propping the phone up while using the ChargeCard a nearly impossible task to do easily.

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Past that, the ChargeCard does exactly what it was designed to do: charge your phone. Since it's basically just an oddly shaped USB cable, it also works for things like MTP access or ADB, which is quite convenient.

At $25, the ChargeCard is a bit on the pricey side, especially when traditional microUSB cables can be purchased for just a few bucks. Thus, you have to ask yourself the question: is it really worth the extra expense for a little convenience and a lot of novelty? It is of course all dependent on the individual, but while I can see myself using the ChargeCard on occasion, I think I'll still be reaching for a traditional microUSB cable far more often.

Buy: ChargeCard

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Christopher Lee

    Article says three times the thickness of a credit card or so. Go try it yourself. This isn't me trying to be snarky, but realistically, think about your wallet. None of my last three have had pockets that expand to the same size (my current one is a fair bit stretchier than my second one was).

    • mikeym0p

      I can fit three or four in the stash pockets in the flap. People could try there.

  • CuriousCursor

    If you can be satisfied with a "cable" that short, might as well get a short cable.

    • Kevin Bojarski

      It's about convenience. You could keep this in your wallet at all times, and use it in a pinch instead of always putting a cable in your pocket when you walk out of the house.

      • NOOOOO-LOOK WHAT I DID

        How about a short cable that fits my wallet :P?

      • ElfirBFG

        Put a cable on your key ring, like that ridiculous key kickstand.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

    Yeah, it will, albeit snugly (until the wallet pocket stretches out enough to accommodate). That's really the selling point.

  • Mike

    I have a number of 1.5' cables from monoprice for this type of use, using one right now as a matter of fact. They cost all of about $0.60 each.

    Neat idea, overkill IMHO

  • Jim Nosrati

    You can get portable battery chargers that arent just a cable that are the same thickness.

  • Kent Andersen

    If they were able to pack a tiny battery in there....say 500-1000mAH for a quick emergency charge, then I'd say shut up and take my money.Thats the main problem with portable battery chargers....too bulky and unrealistic to carry around all of the time, this would be perfect.

    • Haunter

      This. When I saw the headline and pic before reading, I went in thinking this is exactly what it did and I was 110% for that. But, being just a slightly more convenient cable wouldn't really help me, as I carry a messenger bag 80% of the time anyhow and keep an mUSB handy. I was a tad disappointed.

    • mikeym0p

      A lot of people mistook it for that during the campaign. They started emphasizing that ti's just a usb cable.
      I'm all for a 2nd gen one made of aluminum and packs a small cell, that'd be awesome.

      • Steve Williamson

        have there been any batteries that thing?

    • Ruperto

      Count me as one of those confused. I see no value in this whatsoever.

    • Jim Nosrati

      They exist already. Posted a couple below.

      • Kent Andersen

        Thanks for the post...unfortunately, 0.5 inches of thickness is still too thick to put in my wallet. Maybe in a year or two.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          So you're so rich now that you don't have space for it, but you anticipate becoming poor within the next couple of years. Got it.

  • mikeym0p

    You got yours so much faster. And beat me to the write up! It's a shame you didn't like it How rigid is the hard plastic?

  • sourabh

    from the pictures,the quality looks just ok.IMO

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

    I have one in my wallet now. It works. Not awesome, but awesome in that I can always have a charger.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

    Yes. I have one in my wallet now.

  • Freak4Dell

    Seems like it would be easier and more convenient to just get a retractable cable. Those usually collapse down into something pretty small, and can just be attached to your keychain or something.

  • wirelessmodz

    I'll take 1

  • Michael Ta

    not very good for people with exceptionally thin wallets like me. I have the Slimfold and it's as thin as 3 credit cards only.

  • WhyWai

    looks too thick for my wallet..

  • Burning Dog

    It fucking already exists for month for less than 5$ shipping included... here's an example : http://dx.com/p/portable-usb-male-to-micro-usb-male-charging-sync-cable-card-white-black-207406 just look for variant over the web, seen it for iphone 1 -> 4 , iphone 5, micro usb and in different shape variant and colors....

    That KickStarter campaign is just looking like a nice way to get 300% to 500%+ benefits on an alibaba trade...

  • smeddy

    Chalk me up as another who has a 3inch cable in the coin bit of my wallet. I hate keeping coins in it, so perfect usage.

    Two years ago I cut my wallet open to slide a cable around the insides, then sealed it shut. Almost invisible (with just the ends ready to pull out) and I loved it

  • fsdh

    I cant believe people donated 161K for a shorter USB Cable.

  • Leonardo Baez

    i am not impressed