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First look: Redesigned ChargeCard, the ultrathin USB-to-Lightning charging cable

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
The ChargeCard USB-to-Lightning accessory has seen a slight redesign with subtle improvements intended to make it more durable and easier to use. Here's a first look and quick overview of the brand new ChargeCard from Nomad, as well as a glimpse at the company's upcoming ChargeKey.

ChargeCard


AppleInsider reviewed the first $25 Lightning ChargeCard earlier this year and found it to be an easy-to-recommend accessory. The product is a flat, credit-card-sized USB "cable" that can be easily carried in a wallet, ensuring you always have a Lightning connector to charge your iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, or iPhone 5s.

Nomad has now provided AppleInsider with the next-generation ChargeCard, which offers the same functionality, but with a number of tweaks. Most notably, the new card is slightly thinner and smaller with tapered edges that the creator says results in a more durable and easier to manufacture design.

ChargeCard


The basic design remains the same: A USB connector is housed in the middle of the hard plastic case where it is kept protected, and users can pop it out to plug it in. The USB plug is attached to a bendable rubber strip, which allows the accessory to be plugged into a computer's USB port, or any other USB-based charging device.

The USB plug has been improved in the new design, with guiding rails located on each side of the connector. This helps make it clear to users which direction the "cable" should be plugged in. The previous, flat design could be inserted in either direction, though only one would work.

ChargeCard


Out of one corner of the ChargeCard sticks the Lightning connector, which, in our testing, works as expected with an iPhone 5s. One added bonus: With the new model, iOS 7 no longer gives a warning that the accessory is not certified.

The creator of the ChargeCard also said the new design fixes a sometimes "fickle" connection that could sometimes occur with the first-generation model.

ChargeCard


The ChargeCard is still an easy accessory to recommend for new buyers. It works as advertised, the new design features slight improvements, and at $25, it's reasonably priced. The ChargeCard for iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s can be purchased direct from Nomad, and is also available from AppleInsider partner BiteMyApple.co.

ChargeKey


Nomad is also at work on its next accessory, the ChargeKey, which is a USB-to-Lightning charging cable that can be housed on a keychain, and is about the size of a house key.

Backers on Indiegogo can obtain a ChargeKey for a discounted price of $20, while general orders at the full $25 price are available through Nomad. The ChargeKey is scheduled to ship on Nov. 30, with an initial production run of 10,000.

ChargeKey
post #2 of 20

The usefulness of this product seems rather slim, no pun intended. USB charging is too slow.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

The usefulness of this product seems rather slim, no pun intended. USB charging is too slow.

Not sure what other way there is to charge???

This would be great to carry around! Slim and works with nearly any application.
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeloftroy View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

The usefulness of this product seems rather slim, no pun intended. USB charging is too slow.

Not sure what other way there is to charge???

This would be great to carry around! Slim and works with nearly any application.

Clearly I meant using the port on your computer instead of an AC charger. Geez!

 

I hate carrying extra things in my pockets. I already have too many cards and keys. ( and by that I don't mean playing cards or octaves on a piano.)

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

Clearly I meant using the port on your computer instead of an AC charger. Geez!

 

I hate carrying extra things in my pockets. I already have too many cards and keys. ( and by that I don't mean playing cards or octaves on a piano.)

You do realize that on a Mac anyway, if it detects an iPhone or iPad, it can up the amperage and charge faster.  I first saw it a couple of years back when I was charging with my Mac, and then with the PC - on the PC, a message popped up on the iPad saying that the charging current is too low and would take a long time (500 mA - took a whole day and night to charge).

 

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4049

http://www.djtechtools.com/2010/07/14/macbook-usb-port-inequality/

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by 65C816 View Post
 

You do realize that on a Mac anyway, if it detects an iPhone or iPad, it can up the amperage and charge faster. 

Good to know. Just curious, what happens if the MBP goes to sleep?

 

Edit : I read in your first link that the power returns to default levels if the computer sleeps.


Edited by mstone - 10/27/13 at 10:32am

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

Clearly I meant using the port on your computer instead of an AC charger. Geez!

Since this things works with both, I don't get what you're trying to say.

post #8 of 20

Well, that depends 100% on the USB source, not on USB as a technology.  From an old DVR you might be getting 100 mah output, but out of a more modern USB plug, it's getting more normal to see 1amp out, same as the Apple white AC cube.  If you have a good eye/know what to buy, USB is now outputting 2.1 amps.

post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

Since this things works with both, I don't get what you're trying to say.

He's not referring to the ability to charge, but rather the speed at which a charge takes place. I think his comment was worded poorly but I agree with his sentiment. I would rather just carry a cable in my bag so I can have some room to move my iPhone around on the odd chance I am having to charge it with my notebook, but I'd rather also carry the small AC power supply to charge it quickly via a wall jack. Either way I find this to be of limited use except for the geek that's wants to be prepared for the damsel in distress with a dead iPhone.
post #10 of 20
I feel like the designers failed a bit with the layout of the ChargecCard. In its current design (as pictured hooked up to a MacBook) the phone then sits upside down on the desk. Seems like the location of the lightning cable should be on the other side (the top) so that you can still use it while charging.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sully54 View Post

I feel like the designers failed a bit with the layout of the ChargecCard. In its current design (as pictured hooked up to a MacBook) the phone then sits upside down on the desk. Seems like the location of the lightning cable should be on the other side (the top) so that you can still use it while charging.

There is no upside down with the Lightning port. It's fully reversible so you can choose whether to put the phone face down or face up.

post #12 of 20
Quote:

Originally Posted by chabig View Post
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sully54 View Post

I feel like the designers failed a bit with the layout of the ChargecCard. In its current design (as pictured hooked up to a MacBook) the phone then sits upside down on the desk. Seems like the location of the lightning cable should be on the other side (the top) so that you can still use it while charging.

 

There is no upside down with the Lightning port. It's fully reversible so you can choose whether to put the phone face down or face up.

I realize that the lightning connector is reversible but that's now what I was referring to. I mean that the positioning of the lightning connector is in such a way that the iPhone charges upside down (as in, the home button is pointing up). Maybe an illustration will better explaining what i'm saying. 

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
 

There is no upside down with the Lightning port. It's fully reversible so you can choose whether to put the phone face down or face up.

 

As opposed to the USB end of the thing, which as the article mentioned, only operates with the correct side up. Evidently they redesigned the card to make this more obvious.

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sully54 View Post
 

I realize that the lightning connector is reversible but that's now what I was referring to. I mean that the positioning of the lightning connector is in such a way that the iPhone charges upside down (as in, the home button is pointing up). Maybe an illustration will better explaining what i'm saying. 

If you are worried about having the phone upside down while it is charging then why don't you plug it in to the USB on right side of the computer.  Solved.

post #15 of 20
Use it on the other side of your Mac. The MacBook Pro has USB ports on both sides. On the right side of the Mac right side up makes the most sense.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sully54 View Post
 

I realize that the lightning connector is reversible but that's now what I was referring to. I mean that the positioning of the lightning connector is in such a way that the iPhone charges upside down (as in, the home button is pointing up). Maybe an illustration will better explaining what i'm saying. 

It looks like the center piece is flexible, so you can  bend it the other way and the phone will be right side up.

post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

The usefulness of this product seems rather slim, no pun intended. USB charging is too slow.


But works fine while sitting at my desk or driving in the car.  Others mileage may vary.

post #18 of 20
The link listed for bitemyapple(https://bitemyapple.refersion.com/l/703.258) is for the incorrect "charge card". It goes to the charge card for a micro USB rather than lightning connection.
post #19 of 20
ChargeKey looks very promising. Only issue would be what to plug it in to. If you don't have your lightning cable with you... just you're keychain...you're still at a loss for finding an AC adapter or free USB port on a computer.

But I guess it makes a lot of sense, since it is conceivable that if you're in someone else's car, or house, or public charging station...it shouldn't be too hard to find a powered USB port.
post #20 of 20
The charge key seems like a good idea that has a logical location for storing the connector, but the charge card looks awkward with that bendy USB connector and generally large size.
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AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › First look: Redesigned ChargeCard, the ultrathin USB-to-Lightning charging cable