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Boost the soft sounds around you; keychain-sized phone charging cable

Keith Shaw | Jan. 29, 2014
The scoop: BEAN Quiet Sound Amplifier, by Etymotic Research, about $480 (for one; $860 for two)

Grade: 4 stars (out of five)

The scoop: ChargeCard and ChargeKey, by Nomad Goods, about $25 (each)

What is it? These two devices include a small charging port (for either the iPhone 5/5S or a Micro USB port) as well as a regular USB port. The ChargeCard is the size of a credit-card, allowing users to carry it with them in a wallet. The ChargeKey is even smaller, meant to fit onto a keychain. The purpose of both devices is to provide a smaller charging option than having to carry around a recharging cable. If your smartphone is running out of juice, just connect the ChargeKey or ChargeCard to the phone on one end and a USB port on the other end and start recharging.

Why it's cool: The small size really does make it more convenient than having to carry along an additional charging cable, so having it always available on a key ring or in your wallet is pretty cool.

Some caveats: The issue for me is that you still need to find a USB charging port somewhere, and that usually means booting up a notebook or searching for a random USB port. Having the charging cable with you that can plug into a power outlet isn't as inconvenient as it seems, and there seems to be more power outlets out and about (at airports, coffee shops, etc.) than USB charging outlets (again, apart from your notebook). If a draining smartphone battery is constantly a problem, I'd rather invest in a backup battery attachment or cover case. I guess it all depends on whether you prefer recharging your phone via power outlet, battery or USB port. If they could create a ChargeCard or ChargeKey that included a small battery, then we'd be talking ultra-cool.

Grade: 3 stars


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