20
Sep
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A few weeks ago, I went on my semi-annual trip from Texas to Virginia to spend some time with my family that lives there. Throughout the duration of my stay, I had to tether for internet access, as I generally stay with my grandparents (<3), who don't have internet. They're extremely old-school country folks who like to keep things simple. Visiting them is actually incredibly refreshing – the air is pure, and lifestyle is vastly different than what I'm used to.

But I digress, this isn't about lifestyle or family. It's about convenience. While visiting my family and relying on tethering as my only connection to work and the internet, I always have to carry several USB cables with me. Oftentimes I use USB tethering to connect because it keeps my phone juiced while I'm working, but I really dislike long USB cables. I have a few shorties, but on the most recent trip the only one I brought crapped out on me. It got a short in it. So, long cable it was. Not only that, but it was one of the cables that I was using to charge my gear at night, so I had to move it back and forth from the charger to my computer. That may not seem like a big deal, but the charger was tucked in behind the bed, so it was a real pain.

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It was at that moment I decided something had to be done. There had to be a better, more portable, compact solution. In a moment of what can only be described as providence, we got an email about a new product from Scosche called the MicroBox. I'll be damned if it's not exactly what I was looking for.

Here's the basic gist: it's a little box – about two inches long, an inch and three-quarters wide, and half an inch thick – with a flat, retractable microUSB cable stuffed inside. Well, it's not really stuffed, because it's retractable. So it's really nicely wound inside. But you get the idea.

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The cable is about three feet long when fully extended, but it has multiple stopping points along the way. Need a one foot USB cable? No problem. A foot and a half? You got it. Two feet? OK then! You get the idea. Just tug both ends at the same time to extract the cable and stop it where you want. It'll lock in place at the closes available spot. But I'm sure you already know how these things work.

The ends of the box have cutouts specifically for the plugs on the USB cable, so everything stays nicely tucked away when the box isn't in use. It also has a little hole so it can be attached to a lanyard or keychain, so you always have a USB cable with you.

All in all, I like this little box. It's a little box of charging and syncing goodness, and I wish I would've had it a month ago, before my trip. If you travel a lot, this thing is a no-brainer. If you don't travel a lot but constantly need a USB cable by your side, then it's good for that too (I am curious why you need constant access to a USB cable though).

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Anyway, it's only $15, which is pretty reasonable for the convenience it packs. I got the red one (which you can clearly see), but it's also available in all black if that's your thing.

PS – I realize there wasn't actually anything "dirty" about this hands-on (including my hands), but I thought it sounded good in the title, so I left it.

Scosche

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.

  • Madz™

    constant need of USB cable is transfer porn.. yup

    • sivkai

      Thanks for sharing that.

  • atlouiedog

    I think I'll pick one or two of these up, at least after I look around at similar products to make sure it's the one for me. I'm getting really sick of carrying around 3' cables.

    • someone755

      Lol, you should get one of those 10cm Nokia cables, they really survive anything.

  • Detonation

    $15 seems rather expensive....you can get a simple retractable micro usb cable on Amazon for less than $5 shipped

    • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

      And the ribbon cable on the $15 one doesn't look any better. The retractables I've bought all die relatively quickly.

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

        agreed. This one seems a little better than most though. Time will tell if I'm right!

  • http://www.stevenmattera.com Steven Mattera

    I've seen smaller retractable USB Cables. Never got any of them because I feel the mechanism would break quite easily.

    • someone755

      I feel that about those small laptop mice with these kinds of cables.

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

        Those mice are just stupid anyway.

        • someone755

          Sometimes useful when you really need to save space.

  • Mike

    Wow, they only come up with this now? I've got a similar box from 2001/2002 with a flat ethernet cable (3m) in it.

    • Nick

      Foscam ships retractable ethernet cords with all their cameras. I've got a bunch laying around. Nice little touch IMO.

    • Tom Campbell

      And I have one from 1991 with a telco cable in it...

  • David Thoren

    Bah. Can select the red one to add to the cart, but adding a black one fails. Fired off an email to them, hopefully they can correct it so I can order one.

    Have a cheap retractable that is failing as we speak, so this is great timing for me.

  • spydie

    judging by the size of it on the back of your phone, it looks really huge to be carrying around

  • Owen Finn

    I've bought retractable USB cords from DX for like a dollar each. I think I have about 20 lying around.

  • Michael Black

    I got one free from HP 6 years ago. Not new or innovative.

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

    http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0174/0894/t/10/assets/Side_Features.png?5939

    The Charge Card works pretty well for me. There's one in my wallet right now.

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

      Heh, I reviewed that silly thing a while back. It's OK, but just really awkward to me.

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

      Can the charge card extend to 3 feet? Didn't think so. That's not the same by far.

      • not a spark

        Actually it can extend up to 5 ft

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

          Wat? The chargecard does not extend. And the Scosche box is 3 feet. What are you talking about?

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

        But it's still working after 5 uses, and is still in my wallet. My ass isn't big enough for that other thing... I need a scosche more room. And since I'm not carrying a murse, this is a much better solution for me.

  • DoctorRabbitfoot

    Better option if you plan to use them for a pocket able extra battery charger: 6" micro USB cable for $5.

    http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-Inch-Micro-USB-Cable/dp/B003YKX6WM/

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

      That's not even remotely the same. The whole point of retractable cables is that you can make them much longer or adjust as you need. Cameron's cable adjusts to 3 feet.

      • DoctorRabbitfoot

        Right...but if you plan to use them for a pocket charger (like many of the Ankur options often mentioned on this site), someone might be better served with a small 6" cable.

        Not the same, just an alternative for people that might be in the market for a pocket-able cable for a different reason. Take a deep breath ;)

        • atlouiedog

          Maybe it should read "another option" or "better option for those who..." instead of just "better option" if it's not meant to be taken as that.

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

          I think getting this for less than $2 is better and more versatile in this case: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00490Z2J6.

          • DoctorRabbitfoot

            Even better!

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

    What the hell?

    SANOXY retractable USB cable: $0.70+0.99 shipping http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00490Z2J6

    Amzer retractable USB cable: $8.95 shipped http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001P05K9K

    I have both, and both work just fine. $15 for a much bulkier box? That's ridiculous and overpriced.

    • My name is….

      Love it when u get a reply like that from the stuff of this site.

      Its likr watching some small family fight :p

  • John Smith

    Amzer Micro USB Retractable Data Cable - Blackby Amzer
    Price:$8.95

    http://www.amazon.com/Amzer-Micro-Retractable-Data-Cable/dp/B001P05K9K/

  • Sonny

    I'm glad you found your visit incredibly refreshing. Most writers live in an urban-bubble and assume everyone has a 24/7 internet connection like themselves. Actually, this in not the case for most of the world and it will never be. That's why millions of people hate journalist's arrogant hyping of cloud-crap!

  • rcrow490

    I'll bet your cable didn't have a short, but an open instead.

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

      They should call that a long

  • http://5j5.net/ Fun Flash Games

    That's great! I really like this MicroBox, and it's affordable. Thanks for sharing.

  • Guest

    Can it be attached to a keychain?