Posts Tagged ‘USB extension cable’

Read Before You Buy a Retractable USB Extension Cable

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

The Universal Serial Bus cable, or more popularly known as USB cable, is the latest standard for connecting various electronic devices. Particularly designed for connecting a wide range of peripheral devices to personal computers, USB cables are now used on many digital gadgets such as game consoles, smartphones, digital cameras, personal digital assistant (PDA) devices and portable media players. If you own any of these devices, having a retractable USB extension cable is essential.

There are several advantages of USB cables over other connection specifications, like Firewire, SATA or PS/2. Firstly, USB cables are relatively easy to plug-in. The USB cable connector is flat and can only fit in one direction, unlike PS/2 plugs which are round and has to be visually and carefully observed in order to get it in properly and avoid breaking the fragile pins. You can easily connect a USB cable by touch; if it doesn’t go in immediately, just flip it the other way and it is sure to connect without further issues.

While USB cables are comparable performance-wise to mid-range Firewire or SATA connectors, the former type is comparatively cheaper. However, the lower cost does not mean that it is less durable. On the contrary, USB cables are by design less prone to breakage and are more flexible than their expensive counterparts. USB cables are so built for the wear and tear that they can be assembled into a retractable rig.

Advantages of Retractable USB Cables

Standard USB cables sold to consumers or those that come packaged with a particular device usually vary in length from 6 inches to about 3 feet. This may be enough for specific normal usage. However, for people who travel a lot and use their gadgets in transit, these standard cable lengths may prove to be either too short or too long such that the wires would typically end up tangled.

A retractable USB extension cable can go from 5 feet up to about 15 feet in length, which is enough to connect your portable media player to your laptop stationed on the other side of the room. The main benefit is that when you need your device right beside your computer, you can easily hide all that extra cabling inside the retractable casing. Retractable USB cables are very easy to manage, convenient and safe; no one will ever have to trip over all that extra cord. They also pack neatly and easily when not in use.

Checklist for Buying USB cables

Before you purchase your retractable USB cable, there are important things that you must keep in mind.

1. Compatibility. Over the years, the USB specification has evolved into several versions, the most recent is USB version 3.0. The current standard however is still USB version 2.0. Getting a USB 3.0 cable should work for all but the oldest USB devices since it is backward compatible. Note however that USB 2.0 cables will not work for version 3.0 devices. Therefore, check your devices first and note down the USB version they will work with.

2. Connectors. Another key item that must be considered when buying a retractable USB extension cable is the type of connector. Most people are familiar with the type-A USB connector. This is what most computer-based devices, like USB flash drives, are equipped with. Other devices may have other connectors such as type-B, mini, and micro plugs and receptacles. Again, you will have to first determine the type of USB connector you will need based on your set of gadgets. You may even have to use various USB adapters to enable cross-compatibility of multiple devices using these different USB connector types.

The retractable USB extension cable is the ideal connectivity technology for mobile computing. If you are an on-the-go gadgeteer, having a retractable USB cable in your pack let’s you enjoy your electronic devices without having to worry about limits on distance between your gadgets or about the unavoidable tidying up after using your USB-enabled devices.

This Article is written by John C Arkin, contributor of PrintCountry News Articles.

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